How to Make an Easy Lightsaber Emitter Shroud | DIY Lightsaber Tutorial
I’m Alan Cheong of ACLightsabers and in this tutorial I’m going to show you how to make a shroud for your lightsaber hilt. The shrouds look metal, but they are actually made of vinyl-wrapped PVC. I find that it’s much easier to work with PVC than metal. Adding a shroud is a simple way to customize the appearance of your lightsaber, giving the hilt its own personality.
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The first thing you need to do is find a PVC pipe that closely fits over the emitter section of your lightsaber hilt. The best way to ensure that you select the correct tube size is to bring your lightsaber hilt with you to the hardware store and test the fit on the spot. Tolerances for PVC pipes can be large so different tubes can vary in size even if the stated size is the same.
Now, let’s make a lightsaber shroud!
This tutorial involves using a drill and sharp blades. If you’re under the age of 18 please seek assistance from an adult to make this shroud.
What You Need
• lightsaber hilt of your choice
• PVC pipe (sized to your hilt)
• thumbscrew (same threading as the hilt’s blade retention screw, slightly longer)
• vinyl metallic wrap (to cover the shroud)
• cutting mat
• gloves and safety glasses
• a ruler
• a pen or pencil
• hacksaw (with a saw blade rated for PVC)
• hammer and center punch tool
• permanent marker (or paint for the top edge of the shroud)
• a clean rag and acetone (to clean the shroud)
• precision knife (i.e. X-Acto knife)
STEP 1: Choose the Length of Your Shroud
Using a ruler, measure your desired shroud length against the hilt. Use the ruler to help visualize where the shroud will cover the hilt. I’m making a shroud that is 2 3/4 inches long, but you could make one longer or shorter, if you’d like. Next, use the ruler to measure the desired length across the PVC and the spot you would like to cut with your pen.
STEP 2: Cut the Desired PVC Pipe Length
Now that you’ve marked your desired shroud length, secure the PVC pipe with a vise, clamp, miter box, or duct tape in order to keep the pipe from moving out of place while you cut the pipe. Holding the pipe by hand while you make the cut is not recommended. The method is less accurate and less safe than securing the tubing.
Once the PVC pipe is secure, keep your fingers clear of the blade and use slow and even strokes to cut the tubing, making sure your cut is straight. Slow down near the end to get a clean cut.
STEP 3: Cut the Shroud Shape
In this tutorial, I’m making a slanted emitter shroud. Since my lightsaber has windows in the emitter, I also want to expose part of the windows.
Mark where you would like to make your second, slanted cut. Secure the pipe again with a vise, clamp, miter box, or duct tape. Keep your fingers clear of the blade, and cut the PVC pipe a second time. I’m cutting my slanted emitter shape freehand because I’m used to cutting slanted emitter shrouds freehand. You could also use a miter box, which would allow you to cut a precise angle.
STEP 4: Drill a Retention Screw Hole in the Shroud
Find the blade retention screw on the lightsaber hilt. The blade retention screw is a set screw that secures a lightsaber blade in the hilt. Slide the shroud over the hilt until you are satisfied with its location. Mark the spot on the PVC pipe where you will drill a hole for your thumbscrew. Tap a hole in the marked spot on the PVC with a hammer and center punch. Next, use a drill to finish the hole. The hole must be the same size as the set screw. The hole will be used to both keep the shroud in place and to hold the blade in place.
STEP 5: Sand and File the Edges of the Shroud
Sand the rough edges of the shroud until they are smooth. Sand both the top side (the slanted side) and the bottom side (the flat side). You may also use a file to level out the angle of the slant on both sides of the shroud. Test the fit of the shroud. Slide the shroud over the hilt, line up the hole in the shroud with the blade retention screw hole in the hilt, and attach the thumbscrew. Once you’re happy with the look, proceed to the next step.
STEP 6: Color or Paint the Top and Bottom Edges of the Shroud
Using a permanent marker, color the top and bottom shroud edges black or a color that somewhat matches the color of your vinyl wrap. The coloring helps mask the edges of the shroud.
STEP 7: Clean and Prepare the Shroud Surface
Using a clean rag, wipe the shroud with acetone to remove the dirt, residue, and impurities from the shroud.
STEP 8: Add the Metallic Vinyl Wrap
Next we will attach a vinyl wrap sticker to the shroud to add a metallic look. The vinyl wrap is designed for cars and is very hearty. Measure the diameter of the hilt and the length of the shroud at its highest point. Cut a metallic vinyl sticker down to your measurements, leaving a few millimeters of extra space to ensure the sticker will fully cover the shroud (you’ll cut the excess away later).
Attach one edge of the vinyl wrap to the shroud. Slowly and firmly press the sticker down around the shroud. Use your thumb to press any air bubbles toward the top or bottom of the shroud, ensuring the wrap has fully attached to the shroud.
STEP 9: Trim Off the Excess Parts of the Sticker
Starting at the tallest point of the shroud, use scissors to cut away most of the excess sticker from the shroud in one long strip (Important: Save the strip for later!). Next, use a a sharp precision knife like an X-Acto knife to slowly and carefully trim away the remaining excess part of the sticker off the top edge of the shroud and the bottom edge of the shroud. Using a sharp knife enables you to make clean and precise cuts to remove excess sticker as close to the shroud as possible.
STEP 10: Carve out the Hole in the Shroud
Using the precision knife, carefully carve out the screw screw hole in the vinyl.
STEP 11: Attach the excess strip of the sticker inside the shroud
Starting at the highest point of the shroud, attach the excess sticker strip inside the shroud. Smooth out the air bubbles. The sticker will not cover the entire inside shroud, but most of the inside of the shroud will not be visible when the shroud is attached to the hilt.
Once the vinyl sticker is attached inside the shroud, trim away the excess sticker carefully using scissors and then a precision knife. Still using the precision knife, carefully carve out the screw screw hole in the vinyl. You may optionally touch up the edges of the shroud again with permanent marker.
STEP 12: Attach the finished shroud to the hilt
Slide your new shroud over your lightsaber hilt. Attach the thumbscrew to secure the shroud to the hilt. There you have it, your lightsaber shroud project is now complete!
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Creating a PVC shroud is a quick and easy way to change the look of your lightsaber hilt. You can make shrouds in a variety of shapes and lengths. You may even use a dremel to create a more complex design with cutout sections, windows or holes. Use your imagination! There’s no limit to the types of shroud designs you can make. It’s just a matter of creativity and practice.
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Note from SaberSourcing: This tutorial is adapted into article form, with permission, from the Alan Cheong YouTube video How to make a shroud for lightsaber by ACLightsabers.
Alan Cheong is the founder of ACLightsabers, a Malaysia based custom saber company. ACLightsabers specializes in budget friendly PVC lightsabers and metal lightsabers along with affordably priced neopixel sabers.
COVER IMAGE CREDIT ACLightsabers
Image depicts several custom PVC shrouds for lightsaber hilts