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Today I constructed my first lightsaber.

I am currently helping instruct at the local Jedi Academy ( At first I was brought in to assist with choreography, and using Tai Chi to make their movements more natural and graceful.

Anyway, no one seems to have a decent practice saber and there are too few of them to go around without using expensive props or heavier (harder) weapons. We talked about shinai (practice kendo swords) which appoximate the idea well but are a bit too hard to hit with in practice. I gave it some though, then did what any warm-blooded male would do.

I went to Home Depot.

I had sen the usually SCAdian-style dowels wrapped in foam pipe insulation, and was unimpressed by lack of durability, even with the ever-so-charming liberal grey smathering of duct tape. And they seemed fat to the eye apart from this previous easthetic consideration. AND you didn’t know where the handle was.

So I was aiming for durable yet light and thin. Thin copper piping with 1/2 inch insulation attached to a heavier pipe? A bit on the heavy and nasty side, but close.

Then I saw it.

A thin PVC drain pipe with built-on metal nipple. So I found a coupler and a pipe. Six inches was too small, and ten was a bit too big. Eight inches seemed just right. But I didn’t have my money on me, and the people holding it at the checkout lost sight of it and it was restocked by the time I returned a couple hours later.

This time some brass fittings caught my eye and I looked at some other options. I felt the handle was too thin anyway, being 3/4 inch pipe. What I found was perfect. I bought the parts, totalling $5.97 before tax. Not bad, and only a few cents more than the thinner pipe.

And unlike a balanced sword, a plasma beam shouldn’t weight anything really, so having all the weight in your hand is a lot more realistic.

Part list, instructions, and photos below.