The Lightsaber Brought to Life by Hacksmith

Bringing exceptional movie myths to life is something every movie nerd dreams of. Movies showcase some incredible technology in them, most of which we cannot achieve in actual life. But there are people who strive every day to achieve them as close ones from the movie. 

Back in 1977, the first Star Wars movie released and took the world by storm. It showed intergalactic wars, the story of the Jedi warriors, and computer graphics ahead of its time. One thing that really impressed the viewers was the weapon of a Jedi Knight, the Lightsaber. It was so impressive that everyone was imitating the Jedis holding self-made lightsabers. Unfortunately, it is a technology we cannot achieve.

But genuine fans never give up. And one group of engineers just cracked the code to making (almost) an actual lightsaber in actual life. And it is just enlightening!

The Lightsaber

Lightsabers Image by st_visualization from Pixabay

The Lightsaber is an energy sword used by the elite Jedi Warriors in the Star Wars movie franchise. In the movie, we see it as a metal hilt which can produce a controlled retractable plasma beam. There are different colors to the saber, distinguishing it from others. 

The technology of the sword is totally science fiction. The concentrated and controlled plasma beam will require the power of a nuclear reactor the size of a TV Remote. This is impossible even for a hundred years unless it’s a bomb.

In the movie, the producers used different visual effects to create the sword. It can easily cut through steel and almost anything. Lightsaber duels are a signature part of every Star Wars movie. In fact, it is the most popular weapon in movie history. 

Hacksmith Industries

James Hobson, aka., the Hacksmith holding his Protosaber
Credit: Twitter
James Hobson, aka., the Hacksmith holding his Protosaber Credit: Twitter

Hacksmith Industries is a group of engineers who build stuff from the movies. It is the brainchild of James Hobson, aka., the Hacksmith. He is the culmination of MaCGyver and the Mythbusters. James builds almost anything that comes out of movies. He quit his full-time job as a mechanical engineer in pursuit of his passion to be an inventor. He documents everything he creates and posts them on YouTube as an inspiration to others. 

Hacksmith Industries literally brings movie myths to life. They built things starting from the most simple movie items to the most extravagant ones. He made a working Captain America Shield, Thor’s Hammer, the Kingsman Umbrella, and even Batman’s grappling hook. But one specific build really stands out from them all. The ever astonishing Lightsaber!

Hacksmith creates first Plasma Lightsaber

Creating a real-life Lightsaber is not new. In fact, many genuine fans of the Star Wars franchise tried to make real ones. But none of them was close to the real one. They were mostly mockups built with non-retractable metal tubes. Even Hacksmith made a similar one in their Protosaber build in which they connected a Titanium and Tungsten rod to a powerful battery pack. 

On October 16, 2020, the Hacksmith released his video of a fully functioning plasma-based retractable Lightsaber. He used high-tech equipment and even new ones for this specific build alone. 

“Even with all of our new equipment and capabilities, we’re still bound by the laws of thermodynamics.” – James Hobson, aka., the Hacksmith

The Galaxy's First Lightsaber
“The Galaxy’s First Lightsaber!” Credit: The Hacksmith

Theoretically, we can hold plasma as a beam in a magnetic field, which is possible. But holding a plasma beam inside a metal container is potentially useless, and that’s not the idea. To hold a controlled open plasma beam, they used a principle called ‘Laminar Flow‘.

Laminar Flow is the principle used in certain fountains to produce very smooth water flow. The team combined everyday LPG, or propane, with oxygen to produce clean plasma. They then sent them through ‘laminar nozzles‘ which creates a steady and controlled beam of plasma. 

To color the beam, they used different salts that give different colors when burnt. The flame is yellow when they add Sodium Chloride (salt), which is like Ray’s sword in ‘The Rise of Skywalker‘. Similarly, different salts give different colors. The result is a near replica of a retractable plasma lightsaber burning at 4000°F, enough to slice through steel doors!

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