LED sword

I’ve been commisioned to make six LED swords for aspiring jedi accolytes. I have been given three days to accomplish this task. The timeframe means no specific orders from China, and overpaying for everything.

What I ended up with was a reasonably wobbly object consisting of:

  • for the blade, a square aluminum pipe mounted inside a round plexiglass tube, and RGB LED strips in between (60 LEDs per meter);
  • for the handle, an aluminum pipe and a 3D-printed insert cap; the handle stores batteries, the cap holds color switches;
  • a separately-controllable set of white LED “markers” on both ends of the blade;
  • in between, lots of glue;
  • all over, lots of wires.

Here’s a few photos from the build log.

First, the shop didn’t have enough RGB LEDs on hand, so I had a lot of time to do everything else. I made a lot of wires like these:

One-to-many split wires

They connect the LED strips like so:

LED strip connections

The handle, as I mentioned, had a simple 3D-printed cap for the buttons, and a very nice one-piece battery holder for 8 AAs. That, and some wires.

Handle assembly

I first thought of printing the whole handle, but that would have taken too long.

A close-up on the “button panel”:


When the RGB LED strips finally arrived, I could solder pre-made wire assemblies right in:

Wires soldered to RGB LED strips

The handle is square, the blade is round. How does one connect square and round? It didn’t have to be airtight in this case, and no astronaut would die heroically if it wasn’t. So I just wrapped a lot of paper around the blade, secured it with duct tape, …

Square vs. round

… pushed it into the handle, and poured in copious amounts of hot glue.

Handles filled with glue

A few more rolls of electric tape later, this is what I got:

LED sword (off)

Pure colors are pretty nice:

LED sword (red) LED sword (green) LED sword (blue)

The white markers look like this:

LED sword (markers)

Mixed colors are funky - not all segmets of LED strips are made equal:

LED sword (yellow) LED sword (magenta) LED sword (cyan)

And white (compare to the same with markers at the very top):

LED sword (white)

This is what the blade tip looks like:

Blade tip

The other end:

How do you call this part where the handle meets the blade? Tell me please.

Magic control buttons:

User interface buttons on the bottom of the handle

Published May 23 2015 by rxdtxd