May 3, 2022
Build Your Own Lightsaber
May the Fourth be with you!
Have you ever wanted to have your very own lightsaber? While we can’t make a lightsaber like in the movies (yet!), we can use science to make our very own replica! Our replica won’t be as high tech, but what would a real lightsaber be made of?
From its name, you might think it is simply made of a laser. But there’s a small problem—lasers don’t have a fixed length. So, they would just go on forever, and you might accidentally burn the wall!
One possibility for making a lightsaber would be to use a controlled beam of plasma. Plasma is the fourth state of matter; it is a supercharged gas that can conduct electricity. It can look a little like this:
By creating a stream of superhot plasma, this would create a laser saber that would be able to cut through almost anything! This would be super dangerous, so we will be taking a safer approach to build our own sabers in this hands-on activity.
Learning Time: 15 minutes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Age: 8+ years old
- Several sheets of white printer paper
- A small flashlight
- A permanent marker in the color you want your laser saber
- Clear tape, such as packing tape
- Duct tape
1. Put a piece of packing tape over the light end of the flashlight. Use the permanent marker to color over the clear tape. This will be the color of your laser saber.
2. Wrap a piece of printer paper around the flashlight and tape it together to form a hollow tube. We’re using printer paper because it will help diffuse, or soften, the direct light from the flashlight.
3. Using a few more pieces of paper, repeat this process to get a longer saber.
4. Cover the hole at the end of the printer paper tube with duct tape and turn on your laser saber!
Share your creation by tagging @discoveryplace on social media, and May the Fourth be with you!