I have built 2 sabers to completion so far. My first was the ultrasabers prophecy. It came to me in an all bare metal finish and after some cosmetic work I was able to get it to look like a saber from The Old Republic. The electronics in it are from SaberForge and it is their SaberCore system which is basic light and sound. The second saber is my Sabeforge Redeemer modeled after Obi-Wan Kenobi. this Hilt came powder coated and I installed the Spark Color 2.0 soundboard from Naigons. Both hilts hold a special place in my heart and I still duel with them to this day. If I had to pick a favorite it would be the Redeemer.
Some people think that making prop from scratch is difficult or very time consuming. My opinion is that it give you room to be as creative as you want. Take the wands from the Harry Potter franchise, they come in many different shapes and sizes and no two wands are alike. Above on the left I have a pre-made wand Purchased from Wal-Mart and on the right is a custom wand I hand carved. This post will hopefully give you a taste of what I go through when prop making. this isn’t a tutorial just an explanation of how I made my wand.
Working with wood all my life I know my way around many different tools but it you don’t that’s alright. all you really need is a dowel rod, a carving knife, a belt sander and a little creativity. Starting with the rod and knife cut the rod down to roughly twelve inches and then use your knife to carve the wand. If you don’t want to use a knife you can use a belt sander by simply applying pressure and rotating your dowel rod to thin out the top of your wand. When it comes to the handle you can use to sander to take out small or large sections or even burn a unique design into the handle. The handle is really where your creativity shines. Then when it come to the wand’s color I used an ebony stain and the sanded it almost all off to give the wand a weathered appearance and then I stained the wand rod with red oak and the handle with dark oak, as Harry’s was three different colors, however I settled with two. Below is a before and after of the wand I created. As you can see making a prop doesn’t have to be a crazy custom ordered item from the internet, it can be something you make and feel great about. I encourage every who read this post to go ahead and make you own custom Harry Potter wands and show every on this post what you’ve created and how you created it. I hope this post has inspired all reader to be creative.
This saber from SaberForge is a close replica of Qui-Gon Jinn’s lightsaber from Episode I. Since this saber is from SaberForge parts of it are Chrome plated. This hilt has a switch on the front and back so I will have to use them both for main and auxiliary switches. I will also add a red knurled knob to make it almost identical to the one from the film. I will be using the new CFX board and Neopixel blade with this build. This won’t happen until later down the road as I am waiting for my hilt to ship.
Recently I bought a few items from various retailers to build a Neopixel and Proffieboard saber. I decided to select the saberforge Pathfinder which is a close replica of a saber used in the Clone Wars and Prequel Trilogy. I wanted a nice saber with a simple look to it and that saber stuck out to me. Recently SaberForge started chrome plating most of their saber designs and I must say after getting my hands on it the chrome is definitely a welcome change to their traditional style of brushed silver. The only drawback is that this chrome pick up finger prints easily but that’s nothing a microfiber cloth won’t fix. I am very excited for this build and can’t wait to show you the completed product.
When it comes to this question I find it is difficult to truly decide what LED s to use in your saber because you are torn between cost effective price and truly phenomenal color and brightness. The two major options are in hilt LED s and a Neopixel LED strip blade. The in hilt LED uses a LED either composed of single, dual, tri or quad cree dyes to color the LED. While this is easy to wire the science behind it is interesting. You place the LED in a heat resistant housing and place heat resistant tape underneath the LED. In front of the LED a lens is added to focus the LED and make it brighter. to fully complete the LED your saber blade must have a reflective tape and transparent film to evenly light the blade for no dim spots. Now Neopixel blade are incredibly bright but they are a full string of LED s inside the blade that you choose. The wiring is a bit more complicated but if you have the cash and want to make the brightest saber this is the way to go. There are connectors inside the hilt that allow for a connection to be made and light the blade. Pairing up a Neopixel with a Proffieboard is the way to go if you want a saber to be reckoned with. I will be doing more Neopixel builds in the future just to have amazing sabers in my personal collection.
When it comes to the many different soundboards of the saber community it’s very difficult to decide which board is right for you. I am going to break down the three major companies that develop soundboards for sabers and hopefully give you insight as to which board is right for you.
First there are three major soundboard companies PlecterLabs, Niagon’s Electronic creations and Stochk Creations. PlecterLabs and Naigon’s are the major players in this industry. I like to thing of them as Apple vs Windows, Plecter being Apple and Naigon’s being windows. The reason being Plecter produces phenomenal products that an advanced user would be accustomed to using recently they made a board called the CFX which allows color changing and new smooth swing blade technology. Naigon’s however is like windows because they are a bit behind in the smooth swing department but their board are simple and easy to wire up to a novice user and unlike Plecter the programming of sound fonts and blade colors is easy. Lastly we have Stochk and I think of them as the Linux part of the soundboard world because this is an open source board company. However this board is for veteran saber programmers as there is actual code used to program these boards. The board they produce is called the Proffie and it was the first board to introduce smooth swing technology. I have wored with all three brands and I am drawn towards PlecterLabs since they are the in between of simple and difficult but it truly depends on the kind of build you are looking for in a saber. My rule is do research and find what calls to you the most.