View Full Version : LightSaber - Build or Buy? ($$$)

10-07-2011, 10:14 PM
I'm looking at doing a Jedi cosplay (likely for small party/halloween AND for a con) and I'm having some issues trying to decide how to do the lightsaber...

I dont care if it "works" (that is lights up and makes sound when you move it) but I want it to look real and have some quality to it (i.e. nothing sold at wallyworld...) Likewise I'm not trying to copy any existing sabers.

I've seen lots of sites on how to buy what you need from a home improvement store and build your own, however when I went shopping today the total came to ~$80, which is more than most sites I've found charge for professionally-built often "working" sabers... I'm not big on customization, nearly every site I've been on has atleast 1 of the 3 styles I'm aiming for (simple "Jedi initiate" (read: very simple and plain), older ANH (1st of the original trology, 4th overall) "obi-wan" style with the emitter that pokes out kinda like a mushroom, and a more plain "Darth Vader" style with the long strips of rubber for the grip)

So, first question: Build or Buy?

For those who say build, can anyone recommend a tutorial to build a quality saber for <$50?

For those who say buy, what are some good sites that offer quality sabers (again dont care about the electronics, just the hilts) at good prices and are reliable?

I'm currently looking at buying from Ultra Sabers (http://www.ultrasabers.com) --- "The Initiate V2" "Archon v2" "Bane"
Saberforge (http://www.saberforge.com) "The Fury" "The Exalted" "Stoic" "Ambassador"
Though I've not heard ANYTHING about either of them; good or bad...
(Yes I know some of those sabers are way >$50, I'm looking mostly at the style as an example of what I'm looking for)

Blue Leader
10-09-2011, 03:00 PM
Honestly, whether you build or buy a saber is completely up to you. Take into consideration how often you plan to use it, and decide whether or not you really want it to light up or not. If you don't want a "working" saber you could probably make one fairly cheap, I've seen some of those guides that you've mentioned about building your own from various hardware pieces. Never tried it myself.
But if you want a working one you can find some online, like at the sites you've found, but they'll often send you a bit more than just making one, depending on the style. If you add sound to the saber it'll cost even more.

Ultra Sabers and Saber Forge are really the only two sites I know of that sell working sabers, but there may be more out there. I believe they also accept custom orders, but I'm not positive.
There is one other site, The Custom Saber Shop (http://www.thecustomsabershop.com/), where you can buy parts for your saber and put it together yourself. As far as I understand you would buy the various pieces (i.e. body, choke, pummel, et cetera) and they all screw together. I don't know for certain, I've never purchased from them, but that's what I gather from reading about it. You can use the site's saber builder (http://forums.thecustomsabershop.com/mhsbuilder/mhsbuilder.php) to create a mock-up of your saber from the parts they have, if you want.
Of course, if you go the Custom Saber Shop route you'd have to install any electronics into the hilt yourself, if you want electronics. Or you could just have a non-functioning decorative hilt.

But I am by no means an expert when it comes to lightsabers, or Jedi costumes in general. While I'm working on a couple costumes myself, I haven't gotten far enough along to do that much research. I'm busy with another couple Star Wars costumes.
Your best bet would probably be asking on the Jedi costume section of the Rebel Legion (http://www.rebellegion.com/forum/index.php) forum. You'd be able to get a lot more information there from people who actually cosplay Jedi on a regular basis, who have purchased sabers from these shops or made their own. Plus, if you make an outfit that meets the RL standards, you could always join the Legion, too. :p
I'm a member of the Rebel Legion myself, though I'm a Rebel pilot, not a Jedi... Yet.

By the way, if you don't care what exactly the hilt of your saber looks like, you could always buy a grab bag saber (http://www.ultrasabers.com/Box-O-Sabers-p/qs-grab%20bag.htm) from Ultra Sabers. They're $40 for a hilt with electronics installed (extra for a blade, $15), but you wont know which one you'll be getting. Still, it's not bad for a functioning saber.

10-09-2011, 05:57 PM
thanks for replying!

I registered on the Rebel Legion forums and am waiting approval, looks like a great site for all things SW related! At the moment I'm not looking at joining the local arm of the Legion (mainly because they are going for the "traditional" Jedi costume while my Jedi favors something less obvious (honestly I modified Han Solo's costume)) but if I decide to go with a more traditional look it's good to know that's an option :)

I looked at the grabbag sabers, but with the Halloween sale, I can get the initiate for $50 *with* blade (or for $55 I can get the iniciate v3 which is compatible with the sound module) Not to mention I want a metal saber, which would put me at $50 which is the cost of the Initiate. (My only issue with them is they don't offer USPS shipping to PO Boxes and I live in a rural area where mail still dissapears and occasionally cherrybombs are thrown in mailboxes...)

The good news is from what I've seen several people have ordered from both sites and been happy with the products so I know whatever I choose I likely wont get ripped off ^_^

I look at Yellow Box, and using the parts list for the sabers I came to ~$80 so unless I decide to do a simpler saber (like the double-bladed one that consists of little more than 2 $5-$15 pipes) I'm better off ordering, cost-wise. If I really dig into SW and decide to so some heavily-customized sabers, that's another thing alltogether, but with what I'm doing now, I think I'm going with the pre-built ones.

Blue Leader
10-09-2011, 09:03 PM
I didn't even notice the Halloween sale. Hmm, I may have to pick up a saber myself. :p
I want the snazzy blue hilt that's pictured in the grab bag. Heh heh.

Honestly, $50 sounds like a pretty good deal to me. And if you like the style, why not?

Good luck with it. :)

And if you ever do decide to join the Rebel Legion sometime and have questions, feel free to ask me if you'd like. I've been in the RL for over a year now so I might be able to help out. Getting in contact with your local Rebel Legion base is also another good way to gather help and information as they're all within the same state or country (depending on where you live).
I'm Blue Banshee Leader on the RL forum.

10-09-2011, 10:05 PM
You can probably get a $25 blue MagLight and make one almost identical (and it's childs play to wire in an LED and resister where the bulb goes - only tricky part would be securing the blade, but then 85% of cosplay is Macgyvering so...). I have a flashlight I got somewhere for a few bucks that's silver but otherwise looks extremely similar to those. (One reason I'm not going for the grabbag - I want one that looks less like a random pipe or flashlight :P lol)

I'm looking at the possibility, since, while not a Jedi by their description, my costume is extremely similar to Han's I might be allowed in as a smuggler or spacer or something (not looked very deep at the names/requirements yet) I am still trying to find out where they list upcoming events... I found the base for my state (Bespin Base in GA) but I dont see a sticky or anything listing upcoming events...

The irony here is prior to a string of coincidences I wasnt that big of a SW fan - sure I liked the original Trilogy but I never even saw the prequils, but after I ended up in a weekly SW D20 game (basically Dungeons and Dragons game using SW universe) I'm being drawn in more and more...

Blue Leader
10-11-2011, 07:57 PM
Never thought about trying to build a saber like that. An interesting idea, no doubt. Though in my case I'd probably still just buy a saber. Seeing as I do a number of troops, if I was in my Jedi outfit I would probably be handing the saber off to kids for pictures and such (which isn't unusual for Jedi costumers at events). Would hate for it to fall apart or something.
Besides, I'd probably be too lazy to bother trying to scratch build a lightsaber. After making my helmet and chestbox from scratch (for my pilot outfit), making rubber molds of them, and then casting them in resin... not to mention all of the additional parts that go onto them, which were also cast in resin... I need a break from overly-complicated projects for a while. XD

But as for not starting out as a fan, well, welcome to the world of Star Wars. Heh heh. I'm way too much of a Star Wars nerd... But there's nothing wrong with dabbling in it, even if just occasionally and just for fun.

As for events... That really wouldn't be listed on the Rebel Legion website itself, except for maybe events where many bases would attend (namely, Star Wars Celebration). Most likely events would be listed on the website for your local base, as most events are local, and would only be attended by the local Rebel Legion and/or 501st bases for the most part.

And as for RL requirements, you may be able to join as an "informal" smuggler (as in not a canon character). We've got one here in the Kashyyyk Base (Oregon) who dresses up as a Twi'lek smuggler, but she isn't representing any face character. As far as I remember she's an "informal" member.
But that's not important now, anyway. Just have fun with the outfit, that's what it's all about, anyway. :P

10-12-2011, 12:38 AM
if I was in my Jedi outfit I would probably be handing the saber off to kids for pictures and such (which isn't unusual for Jedi costumers at events). Would hate for it to fall apart or something.

My character carries 2 sabers (his own silver/white one and a red one that once belonged to his deceased brother) so I suspect I'll be quite popular for photos since It'll have 2 sabers available...

Right now I'm looking seriously at the Masterworks sabers since my Jedi's saber is based off Vader/Anakin's (love the grip style) and these came with full electronics for ~$100 (less if I'm lucky with eBay - currently watching a lot that has both the Vader and ObiWan sabers for $100!) since I dont mind replacing the LEDs myself. I decided against getting the $50 UltraSaber since it's a "trainer" saber and honestly I doubt I'll use it except as a prop short-term (would be better to put that $50 towards a long-term "permanent" saber)

Wow, kudos to you for taking the time to properly cast your pieces! Most people I know dont have the skill/patience for it (though to be fair If I go beyond a basic costume any long-term props I *hope* to make from latex or tin-sure silicone, pending $$$ for it)

Well... amazing story (amazing in that coincidences piled up), I had looked up on WotC if there were any game shops near me that played DND, and found one, went in there one day, talked to them, but their DND campaign was a lot of min-maxers (players concerned more with STATs than plot) and had been running for like 2 years, so I didnt really go back for a while, then 6 months later went back in looking for a unrelated game (Munchkin - if you've not played it, it's D*** fun!) and the shop owner told me they were going to be starting a new DND campaign soon, when I picked up my munchkin cards he told me the new DND started that next Tues, so I said I'd be back then. Went in Tues, the DND DM didnt show up, I decided to wait for him... he never showed up but the guy running the weekly StarWars game did, so I said "what the heck, I'll sit in, should be interesting to so a "sci-Fi DND" type game" but was just going to sit-in on it, and when the players got there, the Ref had lost the character sheets so everyone decided to just start over, so I decided to join. Been going on for several months now and I've been sucked into the SW universe just by playing the game ^_^ (and to be honest this is why I'm buying a saber and a few other props; eventually full costume --- yes we're THAT nerdy... >.<) Also have read comic adaption of the first 2 prequels and picked up a 360 copy of "The Force Unleashed" (_THIS_ is what I always wanted to see in a SW game!!! Not like the old SNES "hack-n-slash" with little boosts from the force, but ripping a freaking snub fighter out of flight!)

I'll see if I can find the website for my local base. I didn't see a big "CLICK HERE FOR WEBSITE" but I'm sure Google can help me out there ;)

I'll keep that in mind. Like you said, it's not vital now, but as of this moment I do hope to eventually join officially since it seems like a lot of fun :D (The RL doesn't frown on non-official-member costumers at it's events, does it?)

Blue Leader
10-13-2011, 04:39 PM
Two sabers are always better than one. :p

Strangely, it looks like the Bespin Base doesn't have a website. Huh, weird. Unless I'm just not seeing it... But you can always use the Bespin Base section of the Rebel Legion forum, it looks like they're pretty active there. http://www.rebellegion.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=50

And no, the Rebel Legion doesn't frown upon people coming to events who aren't members. That wouldn't be too fair. The more the merrier, I say. But if you want to hang around with some people from the local base but aren't a member, you could always ask if you could be a spotter for them at an event. More often than not bases are begging for spotters at events.