It started innocently enough.
I had just picked up Master Replicas’ newest lightsaber, Yoda’s personal model, and it put me in mind of the fact that I’d been meaning to take a closer look at the copper highlight kit for my Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker model. But I’d lost the link, and so had to do some digging.
Eventually, I found what I was looking for.
In getting there, though, I blundered across a couple of sites that I hadn’t known about, and discovered that there’s an active community of do-it-yourself sabersmiths who aren’t waiting around like good little consumers to be delivered, over the counter, the next generation of technology.
They’re combining so-called power LEDs, like Philips’ Luxeon series, with ingenious optics to produce bright, luminous “blades” that are virtually impervious to impact damage.
They’re building systems of modular hilts to let you assemble your own personal model, and thinking up inventive ways to adorn them, including bargraph-based charge indicators.
Maybe most impressive of all, they’re building their own microcontroller-based sound and light modules, with capabilities that put the Master Replicas stuff to shame — blade flicker, solid-state motion-detection, high-resolution and -quality sounds, and even a certain degree of programmability and customizability.
Well. It seems I’ve found my expensive obsession for the summer.