TotW: Trainer Saber

It’s Friday and that means Thing of the Week.  Yes, it is hard for me to say that with a straight face.  I am so far behind on these I don’t know if I can come close to catching up by year’s end.

However, I am partially fulfilling a promise I made to you here when I discussed the greatness of the lightsaber and its impact on the SW franchise and me.  As discussed there, I could never find a decent lightsaber toy or prop so I decided to build my own out of plumbing parts, lighting parts, wood and resin.  I have two sabers to show you and this is the first of them.

Trainer Saber. Design and image copyright Jason Patz

As many of you no doubt know, one of the last things a padawan does to prove that he or she is ready for jediship is to build his or her own lightsaber.  This is how the movies explain all of the variation in the hilts and blade colors.  But as I approached the task from a design perspective I quickly realized that there must be some sort of trainer saber.  Probably some standard mass-produced design.  This was long before the prequel movies so I only had my imagination and reason to guide me.

As deadly as these weapons are, there must be an intermediate step.  Something that might hurt or even maim, but would not kill or destroy – like the shinai that is used in place of a katana when one practices kendo.

There would probably need to be a lot of them (At the time there was nothing that indicated how many Jedi or initiates there used to be – only more).  They would almost certainly be standardized for easy production, repair and maintenance.  I envisioned a quartermaster with racks of these things charging for the next practice round.

They would be free of much ornamentation not only for easy production but for more universal use.  You never know what kind of hand, pincher or tentacle is going to need to grip these hilts.  For the same reason the controls would be simple and obvious – an oversized red button within easy reach on the top for on and off and two set screws recessed into the bottom of the hilt for blade length and intensity on the bottom.

They also needed a battery life indicator that would be prominently displayed.  It would double as a simple diagnostic indicator when in that mode.  A diagnostic probe and charging tool could be hooked up at the small port on the top of the saber.

The emitter shroud would be large and simple to provide maximum protection and minimal opportunities for over eager sleeves to catch on.

Top Front and Side View. Design and Image copyright Jason Patz.

Next up will be my own personal saber.  I hope to have that for you next week.  There you will see that I addressed the two most common comments about the trainer saber:  1.  It looks a lot like a flashlight.  2.  Does it do anything?