A colorful and vibrant light-up blade is one of the most distinctive and thrilling parts of custom lightsabers and Star Wars Force FX lightsabers alike. Let’s take a closer look at the 5 most common types of lightsaber blades.
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1. Standard Blade (removable polycarbonate tube)
One of the most common types of lightsaber blades is the standard blade, which is a polycarbonate tube that can be attached and removed from a lightsaber hilt using an in-hilt LED. Many standard blades, which commonly use a transparent tube or a frosted tube, contain blade diffusion film and a mirrored blade tip in order more evenly distribute the light from the in-hilt LED throughout the length of the blade.
Day blades, a subcategory of the standard blade designed to be used in bright environments, are comprised of a colored polycarbonate tube instead of a transparent or frosted tube.
2. Neopixel Blade (removable polycarbonate tube)
A neopixel blade is a removable polycarbonate tube blade that contains a neopixel LED strip within the blade itself. A neopixel blade can only be used with a neopixel lightsaber and is not compatible with an in-hilt LED lightsaber.
Neopixel blades, known for their brightness, are capable of diverse color changes and customizations and visual effects like the scrolling effect and blaster bolt deflection. More resilient than a string blade, a neopixel blade is sometimes duel worthy, but, like any blade can still break and is more expensive to replace than a standard blade.
3. String Blade (permanently attached blade)
A string blade is a plastic lightsaber blade containing a string of LEDs within the blade. A string blade is permanently attached to the lightsaber hilt. Many Star Wars Force FX Lightsabers use a string blade. Some low-end custom lightsabers (e.g. some YDD Saber models) and low end lightsaber-like toys (e.g. Walmart Space Sword) use a string blade.
A string blade uses a scrolling effect when the lightsaber is turned on or turned off. Lightsabers using string blades are not duel worthy since the blade or the LEDs contained within the blade may become damaged during heavy dueling.
4. Flat Acrylic Blade (removable)
A flat acrylic blade is a decorative lightsaber blade that often takes design inspiration from real life sword blades, knife blades, axe heads, or the Dark Saber from Star Wars canon. A flat acrylic blade features a cylindrical blade tang (i.e. blade stem) in order to attach to an in-hilt LED lightsaber
Flat acrylic blades are show blades only and are not duel worthy due to the brittleness of acrylic plastic. Many flat acrylic blades are transparent. Some flat acrylic blades contain colors or ornate lightning patterns within the blade. Ripper Blades [Etsy affiliate link] developed the flat acrylic blade and remains on of the most popular custom flat acrylic blade sellers.
5. Retractable Blade
A retractable blade is a lightsaber blade that retracts into a lightsaber hilt. A retractable blade mimics the scrolling effect (i.e. the extension and retraction) of the lightsabers depicted onscreen in the Star Wars movies and media. Retractable blades are currently only used with low-end lightsaber toys. None of the officially licensed Force FX lightsabers or custom lightsabers from major companies like Ultrasabers, Saberforge, Vader’s Vault, Sabertrio, etc. use retractable blades.
In the future, higher-end lightsabers may use retractable blades. In 2018, Disney filed for a patent on “Sword device with retractable, internally illuminated blade”. Also in 2018, lightsaber enthusiast Saber Scroll released footage on YouTube of a work-in-progress custom retractable lightsaber project called the “Tri-Guard Retractable LightSaber”. Saber Scroll stated he intends to develop both a show blade and a dueling blade.
SEE ALSO List of Lightsaber Blade Sellers