Making a Gas Pump Nozzle Lightsaber: An Interview with ‘Octane’ Creator Wiley Abt

Star Wars fan Wiley Abt recently decided to convert a broken gas pump nozzle into a realistic lightsaber. Wiley set out to create a functional, trigger-style custom saber that lights up and makes sounds. SaberSourcing interviewed Wiley Abt about the quirky lightsaber project.

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How did you come up with the idea to make a broken gas pump nozzle into a custom lightsaber?
There’s a few answers to that, so I’ll just put them out in order: It started with taking the pump home just to take it apart and find out how it worked. I’m naturally curious about machines and such. Of course, in the back of my head through the disassembly process was a little voice saying “Make a lightsaber, just do it. It’ll be fun!” and once I had the thing apart I saw there was plenty of space for the electronics if I got creative.

I did have to drill a few extra holes, which you can see in some of the pictures, and find a way to get the speaker into the regulator cap, among a few other things. By the point I was thinking about all of that, I was invested and I just couldn’t let it go. I had to turn it into something usable one way or another.

Also in the back of my head was the idea of a “trigger saber,” something I had read about on Wookiepedia years ago, and then could never find again. As far as I know it’s not canon, but the idea was a lightsaber with a more unstable blade that could be turned on and off almost instantly, often for sneaky tricks in the midst of combat. While most of the sabers we see in the movies, Dooku’s in particular, have a dead man’s switch that turns off the saber when dropped, the trigger saber takes it a bit farther. That idea stuck in my head, and I tried to make it into a reality here. It didn’t quite work that way, but more on that later.

So I guess the short answer is that the opportunity presented itself, I had a random thought that stuck, and then I took the hurdles along the way as a personal challenge.

The Octane bears a passing resemblance to the Ezra Bridger lightsaber-blaster hybrid. Is the slightly similar appearance intentional or a coincidence?
Purely a coincidence. The inspiration for this saber was wholly disconnected from Rebels, and I only realized the similarity much later when a friend pointed it out to me. I love Ezra’s first saber for a lot of reasons. I like the kit-bashed aesthetic of it, and I love the idea of a saber/blaster hybrid. That being said, I actually intended to not have the hand-guard at all in the first iterations of the design. Then I realized I needed the hand-guard for proper stability for the trigger, and to protect the trigger/plunger mechanism that pushes the internal switches. So, it wasn’t intentional, but I’m certainly not complaining, and I love the comments I’ve been seeing comparing the two.

'The Octane' gas pump nozzle lightsaber (left) and Ezra Bridger lightsaber-blaster hybrid (right)
‘The Octane’ gas pump nozzle lightsaber (left) and Ezra Bridger lightsaber-blaster hybrid (right) | IMAGE CREDIT Wiley Abt (left) and Lucasfilm/Disney (right)

How does the weight, maneuverability, and functionality of The Octane lightsaber compare with other lightsabers?
Honestly, it’s hard to say. It’s very heavy compared to the other sabers I own. Unfortunately, you can’t choke up on the grip, or use two hands to mitigate the weight. Almost all of the weight is in the front of the saber, above the handhold. The curve, sharp as it is, and not in a convenient place to fit in the palm can get very awkward. However, if you like heavy hilts with a balance point ahead of your hand, it works. Likewise, while the curve is awkward, it leads to some very interesting angles and changes in direction mid-swing for the blade.

It’s definitely finicky, but I intend to practice, and duel, with it until I’m as comfortable using it as any of my others. As for durability, well, I’m not worried about it breaking during any of those duels. The body is pretty much solid cast aluminum, and with the rubber protective cover, I’m not concerned about any battle damage it may receive.

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