Star Wars fan, raise your hand if you’ve ever pretended to use a lightsaber.
(If you’re not raising your hand, we don’t believe you.)
Star Wars’ recently released the trailer for their much-anticipated movie about Han Solo’s backstory. While Solo is a fan-favorite, he only briefly (and clumsily) donned a lightsaber during his adventures with Luke. That has us wondering: will we see another epic lightsaber duel like we did in Star Wars VIII?
Until then, Star Wars fans will have to practice their Jedi skills on their own. But for the Hacksmith, playing pretend with a lightsaber wasn’t good enough. So he made his own.
The Hacksmith is a YouTube channel that takes fictional gaming, movie and comic ideas and makes them a reality. Previously a full-time engineer, James “the Hacksmith” quit his day job and now makes his living recreating the coolest inventions of the human imagination.
In another episode, James build his prototype lightsaber using a stainless-steel rod, ceramic insulation an antique flash handle, a cable wire, a battery and Kanthal.
Rather than the Jedi’s Kyber crystals, James uses Kanthal (the main heating used in vaporizers or east cigarettes) as his secret-weapon-ingredient. In essence, the weapon is a giant vape coil. That makes it the world’s largest, least efficient vaporizer. But how efficient is the Hacksmith’s proto-saber at doing what it does best: cutting through things?
James wanted to recreate the epic scene from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in which Qui Gon slices through a door with his lightsaber. His man-made lightsaber is 2500°F (1,400 C). That’s hot enough that the blade ignites something just by touching it (which James demonstrates by lighting his glove on fire). Steel melts at temperatures above 1,300 C, which is just under the Hacksmith’s weapon. So, can it cut through a door?
Unfortunately, no. The lightsaber can’t burn through the steel table or metal door because metal is great conductor of heat, However, it can slice through a piece of metal with a smaller mass.
Additionally, the power for the man-made Jedi weapon is not strong enough. James’ sword has a total heat input power of 6 kilowatts – equal to about 4 space heaters. Spread across the entire volume of the lightsaber, 6 kilowatts isn’t going to cut it. The Hacksmith would need Tony Stark’s reactor to fuel the sword with enough power.
Luckily, James did demonstrate the lightsaber’s power by cutting through and melting other objects, including a Stormtrooper helmet. He also takes so much-deserved jabs at Star Wars’ “Darth Disney” ― Kylo Ren. The Hacksmith plans to release another episode in which he builds an even better proto-saber.
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