Side-by-side comparison between the original toy upcycled lightsaber and the resulting lightsaber for this project.

The pandemic showed us the large gaps of technology and internet access across social-economic groups, from people working out of a car due to unreliable home internet, to students managing limited use of the only computer in the household, sharing with parents, siblings, etc.

With the pandemic-related closures, makerspaces, and relevant tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters and power tools, all were inaccessible.

The result is an award-winning prop and guide for anyone to make a lightsaber with low-cost use.

Methods

Goal

  • To inspire those with limited access to expensive tools, to craft and build
  • To champion and support sustainability methods in making

Problem

  • To make a lightsaber using upcycling/reuse methods, and low-cost accessible, inexpensive tools
  • To document the design process to increase accessibility to make/craft a lightsaber

Participants

The immediate audiences include the Make: Media and Nvidia judges evaluating all submissions to the May the 4th Maker challenge. More broadly, my audience are novice crafters, makers, and electronics-interested Star Wars fans who want to make their own lightsaber while in the pandemic.


Design

This project is a series of trial and error, with the challenge of using inexpensive and accessible tools and methods. I also saved a lightsaber toy from the trash, and decided to carve out space for enhancing the lightsaber with improved sounds, lights and interaction.

Role

Sole Researcher, Designer, Builder and Writer

Duration

1 month

Tools

  • Dremel/rotary tool
  • Microcontroller
  • Speaker
  • Soldering iron
  • Vices, grips
  • Wire stripper

Skills

  • Design processs (research, prototyping, iteration)
  • Electronics (soldering/wiring/etc)
  • Arduino programming
  • Power tools (rotary tool)


Results

This build and resulting tutorial won Make Media & Nvidia’s May the 4th Maker Challenge. Here’s the award-winning submission and tutorial.