Lightsaber Gyroscopic Effect

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

mugatu

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hello everyone. I'm relatively new to theRPF. I've lurked for quite some time but am new to posting and yesterday became a Premium member.

The reason for this post is that I am about to construct a lightsaber (Luke ESB) from a Graflex. It is my hope
to also make it a reveal saber, AND with a blade, but the blade portion is a separate issue. My main concern is that I would like to mimic the generally accepted attribute of the blade's gyroscopic effect (to some degree).

I have tried brainstorming different possible
solutions and have arrived at two. Both options require electricity and probably a circuit board of some sort, but that's fine since I will need power and a circuit board for the blade lighting and for sound.

The first option is to install micro/mini piezo vibration units like in a cellphone. Several ought to deliver enough vibration I think to give the saber holder a mild sensation that would be similar to a gyroscopic effect, but in reality it won't be. But a good fake could be had using this method.

The second method would be to put a small high-RPM electric motor in there and attempt
to create a real gyroscopic effect. This is where my
real questions come in.

For any of you with experience in sabers, or in physics like this, is this method even possible?
If so, is it practical?
Could a gyroscopic effect be gained with a motor small enough to fit inside a Graflex tube?
Does the RPM affect the strength of the gyroscopic effect?
Would a "wheel" of some sort on the motor axle be required?
Would the density of the material that the "wheel" is made from affect the strength of the gyroscopic effect?
What about the circumference of the "wheel"?

I guess I had a lit of questions really. I just need to know if going this second route would work or if I am completely
barking up the wrong tree.

Thanks for all input.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hey, I noticed a lot of views but no responses. Can you be more specific about what you mean by "gyroscopic" effect? I know the canon literature says this, but I always took it as either sci-fi or some weird balance thing, and seeing the suggestion of motors or vibration units I have the wrong idea.
 

mugatu

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The gyroscopic effect, in layman' terms, means that the lightsaber has a mind of its own. More accurately, you would feel the effect of having an ignited saber in your hand, while holding the blade completely still, and not moving your arm or wrist or hand, the saber will want to move in certain directions on it own.

I still don't think I've explained it very well...

Okay, a gyroscope or "autogiro" (as certain types are called) allow (now, this is totally my theory) to break away from or deny certain physical laws from being enacted in them. The best example is a motorcycle and to a certain degree, a bicycle. A bicycle requires balance, however, the faster the wheels rotate, the less effort required by the rider to keep the bicycle up and on its wheels. Keep in mind that there are also two separate gyros going on and they are linked through the bicycle frame, so that even less effort is required by the rider in order to keep the bicycle upright on both wheels (while moving at some speed) without having the bicycle fall over.

A motorcycle does weigh more but the speeds attained by each wheel (and I think the density of the materials making up those wheels) are far greater than that of a bicycle, and that takes care of itself.

NOW, if you have a single separate wheel, with a short axle (let's use a free-standing bicycle wheel with an axle that protrudes 2 inches from both sides of the wheel), an impressive experiment can be done. It will require a rope to tie to something above you, like a rafter. Tie a loop in the other end. Now put one side's axle protrusion through the loop. What you have now is a role hanging from the ceiling, a loop on the low end of the rope, an axle going through that loop, and a bicycle wheel on the axle. You are holding the free end of the axle in your hand.
Your hand and the loop are holding the wheel up against the gravity that wants to pull the wheel down to the ground. Now spin the wheel with your free hand. Spin it fast and as hard as you can without breaking something. Now the wheelie spin it very fast. And now you remove your axle hand from the axle and what happens?

Well, I can't describe the forces taking place on the wheel accurately or sufficiently, BUT I can tell you what doesn't happen: the wheel does not fall. It keeps spinning with only one end of the axle being supported by anything (the rope). The wheel will spin it will also begin to rotate as if the bicycle wheel's tread was contacting the floor, making a very tight circle in a radius around the hanging rope. It will eventually begin leaning over as if to fall once it begins slowing down but even then, it does not fall to the floor. Somehow, the rope and the gyroscopic effect act in marriage as a fulcrum to hold the wheel up and steady.

When I was a boy, I bought a toy lightcycle after Tron came out. It had a plastic ripcord that you inserted by the rear wheel where it then meshed with a gear attached to the wheel. If you really let her rip when you pulled the ripcord, the lightcycle (being held in the air with your other hand would begin wanting to move sideways as if some strange force was working on it.

According to certain Star Wars articles, the lightsaber is supposed to have a gyroscopic effect making it difficult for just anyone to handle it once ignited.

The vibrators I mentioned were to give a false yet slightly similar effect of making the saber hum/vibrate. I think a motor might be able to produce an actual gyroscopic effect though. It's just a matter of RPM, motor size, axle orientation regarding the rest of the saber, and of course power requirements.



OR, I could be completely wrong about that.

- - - Updated - - -

Jeez, nice book. Sorry about the length of my posts.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Mara Jade's Father

Master Member
I've had a similar question. However I wanted to know if anyone has ever tried to capture the on screen blade effect in an FX blade. Most FX blades are just solid light but they do not spark/dance/crackle'surge/etc... like on screen.

<--- Something like I have tried to do on the blade of the lightsaber on my avatar.

I know little about electronics, wiring, or LEDs. However I was wondering if random flashed of white LEDs would help the effect. Maybe like a group of 12" of LEDs that looked as if they quickly rolled up and down the blade.
 

mugatu

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I've had a similar question. However I wanted to know if anyone has ever tried to capture the on screen blade effect in an FX blade. Most FX blades are just solid light but they do not spark/dance/crackle'surge/etc... like on screen.

<--- Something like I have tried to do on the blade of the lightsaber on my avatar.

I know little about electronics, wiring, or LEDs. However I was wondering if random flashed of white LEDs would help the effect. Maybe like a group of 12" of LEDs that looked as if they quickly rolled up and down the blade.
I have a very similar idea for the blade. It would probably require the full LED blade type, as opposed to the LED in the hilt. I've been researching the "chain of LED" concept. I think it will come down to the driver and PCB that you use. I would think that with a powerful enough chip/software/PCB, one should be able to change luminosity levels per LED, and also with sequencing (somewhat similar to the blade ignition and contraction sequences). For mine, again as a newb shooting for the sky, I am going to attempt two chains of SMD LEDs, back to back, with the sequencing (once the blade is fully ignited) looking like a slightly slowed down (in comparison) chain on a chainsaw. Again though, I am not the best person to recognize the sequencing/power/chip limitations of the components involved.
 

Mara Jade's Father

Master Member
You need a chain for any type real looking blade. It's the only way I know to have the blade scoll up and down when you turn it off and on like with the MR/Hasbro FX blades. I do admit I don't know a lot.
 

mugatu

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
You need a chain for any type real looking blade. It's the only way I know to have the blade scoll up and down when you turn it off and on like with the MR/Hasbro FX blades. I do admit I don't know a lot.
I agree that the full LED blades look the best as far as replicating the ignition and retraction. I red another guy's buildup of a lightsaber with a reveal and lighted LED chain blade. Extremely impressive on all accounts. I will see if I can find that link.
 

ARKM

Sr Member
Blade flicker and a flash occurring upon a clash are common features in today's current non-licensed saber sound boards (and this is with the LED in the hilt, not a string of them in the blade). The latter effect requires a multi-die LED such as a Tri-Rebel, Quad Rebel, Tri-Cree, LEDEngin 10 watt, etc. Just do a youtube search on sabers with an Igniter, Crystal Focus, Spark or Petite Crouton soundboard and you should find some demonstrating those effects.

As for vibration motors in sabers, that's been done several times by various smiths. However I don't think it will quite create the gyroscopic effect you're looking for. However it may make the saber feel more "real". *shrugs*
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

modelcitizen

Sr Member
i was thinking some years ago of putting in a spinning wheel on a motor for this exact gyroscope effect. never got to it.
i say do it.
not the little vibration motors.
as big a gyroscope as you can fit in there. i heard the little vibration motors are just annoying....
 

Mara Jade's Father

Master Member
Okay ... so I tried a big rubber vibrator inside my hollow saber ... and guess what ... it vibrates!!! :$

Chaim
How comes, that you have a vibrator "on hand" Chaim ;) ? And please don´t blame the missus not hiding their toys well enough :lol

Markus
Look folks, it's okay to love your props.., just don't "LOVE" your props.
 

mugatu

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Okay, I have done some more research and some makers have tried the motor, although, in both builds that I read, both makers did something to the wheel part attached to the motor to offset the center of gravity of the wheel. What I mean is they either put a wheel off-center of the motor axle, or they centered it and then added weight to one side of the wheel with glue or some other agent. I presume this will add severe wobble/vibration (depending on the RPM), but I doubt it would benefit the gyroscopic effect.

As always, I could be very wrong in my assumption.
 
Last edited:

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

mugatu

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Awesome! I was just able to acquire a Service and a Bolsey 2! I don't think I will be able to find a motor for THAT build, but that's a different monster (little, green, wise) altogether!
 

xl97

Sr Member
Most people use pager vibrating motors in their builds.

As stated most current sound boards in the saber scene have accelerometers on them to control/adjust the Fx behavior.. (as well as aux/accent pads to connect accent leds or....... vibration motors)

Most of the current boards ALSO have an LED driver on them that helps mirror the blade behavior such as pulsing, ramp up/down speeds, flash on clash...etc..etc..etc..

One of.. if not 'THE' best boards to get (in regards to quality both hardware, software/code and customer service) is probably from Plecter Labs IMO.. (active in the scene, has been around for many years with many iterations of the board, each getting better, and take feedback/requests from the saber scene and implements things that make sense or are highly coveted.)

You can also get a version that drives an LED string as well.. (if that is your preference)
 

Mara Jade's Father

Master Member
I'm not sure I buy off on the gyroscopic wobble effect or even a vibration. It's not something that I would associate with an elegant weapon. Especially one that has gone through thousands of years of refinements. I would have to believe that in the Star Wars universe, a Jedi weapon would be well balanced and feel like a natural extension of themselves. Much like a samurai's sword... a real one, not the type you get at BudK. :p
 

Darth Lars

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
You need a chain for any type real looking blade. It's the only way I know to have the blade scoll up and down when you turn it off and on like with the MR/Hasbro FX blades. I do admit I don't know a lot.
Or.. you have the lit blade hidden in your sleeve. The hilt would be a hollow tube that is open in both ends. Have a motorized mechanism move the blade through the hilt and have a latching mechanism lock it in place once it has reached its full length.

To make the flicker, instead of making one LED ladder, maybe you could use three flat LED strips in a prism configuration and have them pulsating with a 60° phase shift.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Top