The reason that all of the sites that you've been to require the use of
a flashgun tube is because this is what was used in the construction of
several of the original movie props. Not all of the originals were made
this way, though, and you may have better luck replicating some of the
others (i.e. Obi Wan's lightsaber). For information on how to replicate
each of the specific lightsabers from the movies, take a look at this site
You don't have to build one exactly like the movie props, though.
If you use your creativity, you can come up with something along the
same lines as those (good enough to fool all but the most enthusiastic
Star Wars fans). Remember, all the original movie artists did was take
random pieces of metal and plastic and glue them together so they
looked cool. You can do the same thing with anything you find laying
around - for example, a metal pipe or even a cardboard tube wrapped in
tinfoil would make a decent starting point. You can 'decorate' it with
metal washers, bolts, bits of rubber, etc. Take a look at the site to
get some ideas to get you started.
Note: It's worth pointing out that these things won't actually
work. The 'replicas' that you can build at home are just the lightsaber
handles - there is no light and no blade. If you want to build
something that looks more like a blade, you could probably rig a
flashlight into the center of your handle and attach a translucent
color tube to the end (i.e. a long plastic tube wrapped with colored
plastic wrap). When the flashlight is on, it will light up the tube to
look like a lightsaber blade.
Some flashlights were sold like this (you probably can get them
around halloween in supermarkets, along with cheap Darth Vader
costumes) but they are made out of molded plastic and won't look
anywhere near as cool as one you can make with suitable shiny metal and
black rubber parts. The glowing plasma effect seen in the Star Wars
films was added in post-production. The actual movie props had
dull-looking painted aluminum tubes for blades.
-Tamara (and Tom)
(republished on 07/17/06)