How Bendu Armory Developed the Carbon Fiber Lightsaber: An Interview with Founder Andrew Woods
Although most custom lightsaber manufacturers produce metal lightsabers, newcomer Bendu Armory decided to develop a carbon fiber lightsaber instead. The company released its first carbon fiber lightsaber, The Obsidian, in July 2018 and plans to release two additional carbon fiber lightsaber designs in the near future.
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SaberSourcing interviewed Bendu Armory founder and CEO Andrew Woods about his new and fast-growing custom lightsaber company.
How did you become interested in collecting and designing lightsabers?
When I was 9 years old, the 1997 remastered Star Wars films were released, I fell in love with Star Wars and everything SCI FI. I always wanted a real lightsaber, but at the time only the cheap plastics one were available. Fast forward to the last few years, I started college as a Mechanical Engineer and discovered new ways lightsabers could be created.
Why did you select carbon fiber as your lightsaber hilt material?
We selected carbon fiber because of its mechanical properties and the ability to create saber designs that are not possible with aluminum. Carbon fiber is stronger and more durable than aluminum and we wanted our products to last.
Can you describe the process of designing and launching your first lightsaber for Bendu Armory, from concept to completion?
This journey started 2 years ago when a friend from college approached me and said we he wanted to make lightsabers and needed some product photography and videography. (I own ITW Studios, LLC where we do commercial photos and videos.) However, he graduated in Mechanical Engineering and went to work for a lightsaber company and had to abandon the project. He didn’t want his hard work to be in vain so he passed it off to me. From there, with the help of our professor, who’s a chemical and manufacturing engineer, we developed the carbon fiber lightsaber and QuickSwap Chassis system.
What are the similarities and differences between Bendu Armory carbon fiber hilts and the more common aluminum hilts sold by many custom saber companies?
The only similarities our sabers have with other competitors is the electronics. We use the well known Nano Biscotte V4 (NBv4) sound module along with TRI-CREE LEDs and a 3400mAh battery. Other than that, our lightsabers are completely unique.
Can you describe the most challenging and rewarding parts about designing your lightsaber?
The most challenging part was trying to make everything work with the carbon fiber design. Carbon fiber is very difficult and very expensive to produce. Not only that, having a single piece system is what led use to having to develop the QuickSwap Chassis system. The reward is having a product that looks sexy and works perfectly.
So far, all of your lightsaber hilts are carbon fiber. Are you planning on developing any lightsaber hilts made out of other materials (e.g. aluminum or something else)?
We do plan on producing an aluminum line to appeal to those who only want aluminum. These sabers will be compatible with the QuickSwap Chassis so if they decided they want to try carbon fiber later on, they can and vice versa.
Will any Bendu Armory products or components, like the QuickSwap Chassis, be compatible with other custom saber companies?
As of now our NeoPixel blades are compatible with other 1 inch NeoPixel/Plector Pixel set ups.
What’s your favorite lightsaber (from Star Wars Canon or Legends) and why?
My two favorite sabers are: Mace Windu’s (Because its freakin’ purple!) and the Storm Trooper Saber (It’s black and white and the thought of seeing a legion of troopers with lightsabers excites me.)
What’s next for you?
Since we decided to forgo Kickstarter at the request of the saber community, we are trying to speed things up, like getting our website finished. Other than that we are planning on designing over 100 sabers within 12 months so we can have a whole slew of options for our fans.
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Bendu Armory on Facebook
Bendu Armory official website
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IMAGE CREDIT: Bendu Armory
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