Dec 21, 2015 | By Kira

This weekend, Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened in theaters to a record-breaking $524.9 million in box office sales worldwide. At the same time, engineering whiz and Star Wars aficionado Allen Pan uploaded a Star Wars-related YouTube video that is well on its way to breaking a few records of its own. Uploaded on December 17th, just one day before the film’s theatrical release, the video shows Pan wielding a ‘real-life’, partially 3D printed lightsaber that actually shoots out a burning flame and can be used to disintegrate Strom Trooper balloons, or just to light a cigarette.

The 'real burning lightsaber' was created using a nichrome ignition, a syringe valve housed inside a 3D printed enclosure, a methanol-acetone fuel mixture, and butane propellant, all of which make this possibly the most realistic, but definitely he most dangerous 3D printed lightsaber we’ve seen to date.

As Pan shows off in the video, his ‘real burning’ lightsaber uses a nichrome ignition to propel the flammable ‘light’, which is essentially a long and controlled flame of butane that is fueled by a methanol/acetone mixture—however he does mention that boric acid can also be used to create a green rather than blue ‘blade.’ To add an extra level of realism to the project, he even included a button that triggers the same “whooshing” sound effects used in the movie.

Though it won’t slice through flesh and sever your enemies’ arms or anything (just take our word for it and don’t even try), Pan demonstrates how the flame can be used to disintegrate an army of Storm Troopers—i.e. white balloons with the signature helmets drawn on. He also uses it to slice through a photo of Jar Jar Binks and effectively set it on fire, and of course, to light his cigarette.

We have seen quite a few 3D printed lightsaber projects, especially in the insane lead-up to Episode VII. Those include this 3D printed Obi-Wan Lightsaber, and the 3D printed Crossguard Lightsaber, however those examples use either glow-in-the-dark 3D printing filaments or 3D printed shells that house telescopic lasers to create the effect of a glowing blade. This updated 3D printed Crossguard with an actual laser ‘blade’ comes close, but definitely lacks a certain flame-throwing je ne sais quoi when compared to Pan’s.

And yet with over 2.2 million views since Thursday, the Real Burning Lightsaber video is still not Pan’s most popular. Last October, the electrical engineer revealed an ingenious and tricked out Mjolnr (Hammer of Thor) that, thanks to electromagnets and a fingerprint scanner, appeared to be too heavy to be lifted by anyone other than himself. That video has been viewed over 13 million times, and for good reason, yet given the Star Wars Mania that we are currently living, Pan might still manage to break his own record.

Pan credits Geek Mom Projects for 3D printing help, and Tesla Down Under for the project inspiration. And while this is definitely an awesome and skillful project, what’s most important is that Pan just seems to be having a lot of fun slicing through balloons and pretending to be a Jedi—as far as we can tell, he’s not no intentions of using this 3D printed project to cross over to the Dark Side.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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