“All the standard lightsabers from the movies have been done over and over again, so I wanted to try and do something a little different — which is why I designed my own custom one from scratch,” he told Digital Trends.
The impetus behind the saber was a collaboration with additive manufacturing company Formlabs, whose Form 2 printer he used for the project. It’s a stunning reminder (as if more evidence was needed) about the creative possibilities of 3D printing — it boasts impressively intricate engravings, a working button that lights up the (plastic) crystal inside, and even removable panels so you can check out the mega-detailed realistic interior.
“All the original lightsaber props were found parts,” Charlesworth continued. “The crew would go to a junk store, grab a load of cool-looking stuff and cobble it together. In that spirit, I based a lot of the parts that I made here on real objects. I used to fix movie cameras for a number of years, and I always thought some of those old parts were beautiful in terms of their machining. I’d kept hold of a load of old broken parts for years, so I pulled the box out and started sticking things together until it looked like what I had in my head. Then I used that as inspiration for the 3D model I made.”
Since the 3D-printing files literally just hit the internet, he hasn’t yet heard from anyone who has used them to print their own version, but Charlesworth regularly hears from grateful 3D printer-owning fans who followed his instructions. “I recently finished a Ghostbusters’ Ghost Trap I released the files for, and I’ve done other movie and TV props — like my Doctor Who TARDIS kit, which is pretty popular,” he said. “I see those made all the time, and it’s always fun to see what other people will do with things when you release them out into the wild. I often see really cool modifications and think, ‘Wow, I shoulda done that!’”
You can get your hands on Sean Charlesworth’s custom lightsaber files here.