Star Wars Geeks, How About a Real Retractable Lightsaber Powered by XIAO?

HeroTech’s new Lightsaber build uses the LED strips, an open source Proffie Board for custom lightsabers and a Seeed Studio XIAO-powered motor control system to augment a realistic and functional replica.

In the Star Wars universe, lightsabers are not just weapons; they are symbols of the wielder’s connection to the Force, their skill, and their alignment with the Jedi or Sith philosophies.

It is a truth universally acknowledged… that every Star Wars Geek wants their own lightsaber built from scratch to discover their true calling as a Jedi Master. Building a Star Wars lightsaber is pretty much every maker’s dream, and YouTube science fiction gadgets-building sensation HeroTech is living that dream. On their YouTube channel, the team is showcasing their maker chops with truly impressive recreations of cool gadgets from sci-fi movies such as Spiderman web shooters and Iron Man Jarvis Holographic Display, and our personal favorite, a real Lightsaber that can extend and retract, powered by XIAO.

A Real Retractable Lightsaber

HeroTech’s new Lightsaber build uses the LED strips, an open source Proffieboard for custom lightsabers and a Seeed Studio XIAO-powered motor control system to augment a realistic and functional replica.

How Is This Lightsaber Built?

The Blade Design

The blade of the lightsaber is crafted using high-powered Chip on Board (COB) LED strips. These strips are densely packed with LEDs, giving the blade a continuous, bright appearance akin to those seen in the movies. To handle the extension and retraction of the LED strips, a clever mechanism involving a steel reflective magician’s cane is employed. This cane, made of a springy material, can retract into a small size (fitting within the hilt) and extend over three feet long to form the blade. By looping the LED strip around the tip of the cane, the blade achieves a solid look from all angles.

The Hilt Design

The hilt is designed to be compact and true-to-scale, mirroring the dimensions of lightsaber hilts from the Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge theme park. This presents a challenge, as it must conceal the long LED strips. A circular spool design is implemented to store the strips efficiently, with rotating bearings at every contact point to ensure smooth spooling.

Electronics and Hilt Casing

Powering the lightsaber involves a 4-cell 14.8V LiPo battery, which supplies the necessary voltage to the 12V LED strips for a brilliant blade effect. A metal geared motor with a 1:90 gear ratio controls the extension and retraction of the blade. The Seeed Studio XIAO RP2040 thumb-sized MCU with a Raspberry Pi RP2040 chipset onboard, along with an Adafruit Motor Driver and additional switches, manages the motor control. The Proffie Board V3.9, a specialized board for custom lightsabers, handles blade ignition, retraction, and the iconic lightsaber sounds, allowing for customizable audio effects.

Finally, the entire assembly is housed within a 3D-printed ABS casing, resulting in a fully functional and visually striking lightsaber. This meticulous integration of design, mechanics, and electronics culminates in a lightsaber that not only looks authentic but operates seamlessly.

Build Your Own Lightsaber

If you’d like to build your own lightsaber (and why wouldn’t you?), the HeroTech team is making all the design files, material links, and tutorials available on their website, which is accessible for HeroTech Members only. If you really love this project, consider joining their Membership to help them fund future projects. And while you’re there, leave a comment to show them some love for this incredible lightsaber build, and also subscribe to their channel to see what they come up with next.

May the Force be with you, fellow Star Wars geeks!

Notes at the end.

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4 thoughts on “Star Wars Geeks, How About a Real Retractable Lightsaber Powered by XIAO?

  1. “Wow, this lightsaber build is seriously cool! It’s like a dream come true for Star Wars fans and makers alike. HeroTech’s attention to detail with the retractable feature and XIAO-powered control system is impressive. Can’t wait to see what they create next!”

  2. is says free for 48 hours but 50 minutes after posting I click the link and it says members only

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June 2024