A 20-year-old specializing in DIY lasers has apparently made his own version of a functional Star Wars lightsaber. In a video demonstration, he uses the device to light things on fire — paper, a match, even a ping-pong ball.
DIY laser enthusiast Drake Anthony describes himself as a teenager in Eureka, Illinois, who has been building lasers and electronics since he was 12. Online he goes by the name Styropyro and recently showed off his homemade lightsaber. Anthony described the parts as a 9 mm 450 nm laser diode from a DLP projector — the digital light processing kind you see in classrooms — and two 18650 lithium ion batteries usually found in laptops.
In his YouTube video, Anthony measures the output as an “insane 3W” and said it’s the strongest handheld laser he’s ever used. Then, only showing his hands, he proceeds to show what the lightsaber can do by carefully passing objects through the device. A piece of cardboard burns, electrical tape goes up in flames, a match ignites and a tiny solar car toy gets spurred along the tiled floor.
Anthony’s lightsaber isn’t quite the real Jedi Knight deal yet. For one, it doesn’t seem as deadly as the fictitious ones, TheNextWeb.com pointed out. Plus, the lightsaber doesn’t look like it would be safe to carry around in your pocket. I also imagine that using it would be kind of like waving around an acetylene torch. But kudos to this kid for making a such a realistic version.
Anthony does say in the video that he doesn’t even like handheld lasers this strong but knew his video subscribers would enjoy seeing it. He strikes me as a careful DIYer who’s not going to start waving one of these around in public.