A Violin Bow Lightsaber

[Bithead942]’s ten-year-old niece is a huge Star Wars fan, and also a violinist. Which of course has led her to learn to play some of the music from the film franchise, and then to ask her uncle to make her violin bow light up like a lightsaber.

His solution might seem fairly straightforward at first sight, simply attach a strip of DotStar addressable LEDs to a bow and drive them from an Arduino Pro Mini to gain the required animation of a saber power-up. But of course, there’s another dimension to this project. Not only does the bow have to do its lightsaber trick, it also has to be a playable bow. The electronics must not impede the musician by being too heavy or intrusive, but the result must have enough power in reserve to keep the lights burning for the duration of a performance.

After experimentation with AAA cells and CR2032s the power requirement was satisfied by a tiny Li-po cell attached to the top of the end of the bow with industrial Velcro, and the LED strip was glued and further secured using tiny rubber bands of the type used by orthodontists.

A short demonstration of the bow’s lightsaber action is shown below the break, we’re sure it’ll impress the young violinist’s audience.

We’ve covered a huge number of lightsaber projects over the years, of which the most impressive is probably this flame-based one. The musical angle on this one begs an interesting question for a very unmusical Hackaday scribe: could an orchestra produce a passable imitation of the sound of a lightsaber?

4 thoughts on “A Violin Bow Lightsaber

    1. As a musician, I have to say that I prefer the wrist mount in the first video. All the the electronics attached to the frog (yes, that’s what it’s called) just looks like it would get in the way.

    2. I agree this is not a new concept, but there does seem to be a general lack of information available on how to build one for yourself. The intention of my blog post was to give some guidance for others to build one to address the knowledge gap.

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