This project was created by Engineering Superheroes of Hackmith Industries.
DO NOT ATTEMPT to Re-Create
It’s a good time to be a Star Wars fan. “Jedi: Fallen Order” was released last month, we’re in the middle of season one of “The Mandalorian”, and The “Rise of Skywalker” comes to theaters this weekend.
To celebrate, Hacksmith Industries is improving on one of their favorite and most dangerous projects: the lightsaber. The lightsaber is the most iconic weapon in the Star Wars universe, and perhaps all of science fiction. Many makers have made successful lightsaber replicas over the years, usually with LEDs, but Hacksmith Industries’ lightsaber is one that can cause a lot of real damage. See how it works in the video below!
How Does it Work?
Although this is perhaps the most functional lightsaber recreation yet, we’re still a ways off from having the technology to make a true lightsaber. It’s estimated that 1.69 gigajoules of thermal energy is required to make a sword from pure energy, which is about the amount of energy in a lightning bolt, but sustained constantly. So, a pure energy lightsaber is out of the question, but you can heat a metal rod (originally Tungsten in the first version, now stainless steel wrapped in Kanthal wire since version two, and finally a Titanium-Tungsten combination in the current version) enough to slice through something like a Trade Federation blast door.
Another hindrance to achieving a true lightsaber is current battery technology. Fitting enough power to superheat a metal rod in the handle still isn’t feasible. Fortunately, there is a version of the lightsaber from the Star Wars extended Universe called a “protosaber,” which is powered by a pack that is connected to the hilt with insulated wire. Hacksmith Industries has been modifying the battery pack from the protosaber to be smaller and smaller. Finally, this version is small enough to be not-so-comfortably carried by the user, at a mere 41 pounds.
One of the most difficult parts of the power system is making a switch to turn on the lightsaber. The batteries put out over 20 kilowatts of power — about half the power supply of an average home in North America. The first switch (and first two prototypes) used a MOSFET, but it was too much power for it to handle. Instead, the latest version of the protosaber goes old school with a contactor.
The result? A portable protosaber power pack capable of outputting 20kW of power (20V at ~1000A) to heat the redesigned lightsaber blade, which features a titanium pipe over the top of a 3/8th diameter tungsten core, with a glass fiber insulator separating the two. Turn it on, and within about 10-15s, the titanium hits nearly 2500F and glows white-yellow hot!
More Lightsaber Prototypes and Swords from Hacksmith Industries