retractable light saber
Cody Medina
Cody Medina
October 20, 2020 ·  4 min read

Engineers Build Retractable Lightsaber That Cuts Through Steel Like Butter

Since the pandemic started, people have been getting creative in some very interesting ways. Most are trying to perfect their cooking skills, figuring out ways to exercise, and trying not to cut off all their hair by accident. Meanwhile, others are making a real lightsaber! Well, as real as it can get anyways.

That’s right, the creators over at The Hacksmith have been on a four year long journey in perfecting the recipe for this retractable lightsaber. The saber is not only retractable and changes color, but it has the power to cut through metal just like the real/imaginary thing!

How Did They Make A Lightsaber?

The engineers at The Hacksmith proclaim this saber to be a “proto-saber” meaning that this is still a work in progress. The team of creators says they have been working on this project for the last four years. They have created renditions of this lightsaber by heating long tungsten rods to lethal temperatures, but alas, could not make an exact replicate of a lightsaber. “The internet is never pleased,” The Hacksmith states. In the search for satisfaction, they have finally created a replica that’s really close to the movie Star Wars lightsabers. (1)

The proto-saber that they created obviously isn’t powered by the same crystal in the movies. Instead, this lightsaber is plasma-powered and can reach a temperature of 2,200°C (4,000°F). The way that the plasma pours out of a special nozzle attached to the lightsaber makes it seem very realistic. (1)

The nozzle that is capable of handling this amount of power is known as a laminar nozzle. The reason why is because the plasma is shaped by the nozzle causing what is known as a laminar flow. This means that gas and liquid flow with little to no mixing. The source is compressed liquid propane gas that projects from the lightsaber. (1)

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They Use Propane?

Once the propane becomes heated enough, the real magic begins. As it reaches high enough temperatures, the propane turns into a circular beam of power that best resembles a lightsaber. Typically, you can find the laminar nozzle being used by a lot of glassblowers. However, The Hacksmith engineers have come up with a much better use for this technology. (1)

Not only is propane an awesome source of power to cut through metal, it’s also how you get the lightsaber to change colors. There are certain elements of salt that are known to change color once exposed to high temperatures of heat. If you want your saber to look green, then you would pour in boric acid. Let say you wanted your sword to look more sith-like, you would pour in calcium chloride to achieve a reddish-orangish glow. (1)

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The Style Of The Lightsaber

The Hacksmith decided on going with a steam-punk style for their very first lightsaber. They chose this style mostly because they knew they would be using a lot of gauges, valves, and copper pipes in order to make this masterpiece. The Hacksmith also mentions that this design wouldn’t be possible without the Tormach 1100 MX. (1)

After what seemed like a lifetime to create, the end result is absolutely breathtaking. You can see all of the detail in the lightsaber as well as their fine craftsmanship of all the parts created. Everyone at The Hacksmith truly experienced a moment of magic upon creating one of the first-ever real lightsabers to exist.

It’s incredible to think that a group of people can recreate such an iconic and fictitious thing such as a lightsaber. Obviously, you’re going to need all of the right equipment to do so. The Hacksmith claims that you can count on one hand the number of people that are working on lightsaber technology. You can find other amazing projects on The Hacksmiths channel, like their recreation of the Power Loader from the movie Alien. (2)

Is It Expensive To Make A Lightsaber?

After reading this article you’re probably asking yourself if you should make one now. To save you some time, we are just going to say that it costs a lot of money to make a functional lightsaber. Especially to the degree in which The Hacksmith has produced. One of the most crucial machines to this process is a Tormach 1100 MX. The base price that these powerful machines are being sold at a base price of $19,250. (3)

The Hacksmith even said that they had to upgrade a lot of their current equipment. Which included buying a brand new Tormach 1100 MX just for this project alone. Not to mention all of the other upgrades that they installed. (1)

If you really have the capital to spend on one of these machines (and know what the heck you’re doing), then more power to you. However, for people that are budgeting and need a project to do, we do not recommend this one. You will find that creating your own lightsaber is a very pricey endeavor and could make you bankrupt.

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