I have heard the joke several times that a light saber would make a great bug zapper. However, when [Ricky Sumbody] requested it on Facebook, I thought “why not?”. [Ricky] made a common mistake, he thought the bulb was the part that actually zaps the bugs. A quick google search revealed that many people had the same thought. I decide that, even though building a functional bug zapping light saber might not look as cool, I was going to do it anyway.
If you’re going to follow these instructions, be aware that this is a device that is literally designed to shock things to death. It is dangerous.
I happened to have a retractible light saber lying around, so all I needed was a portable bug zapper. They’re easy to find and pretty cheap too. These portable bug zappers are shaped like a tennis racquet and function by having the bug short between two screens. To build my light saber, all I needed to do was to adapt the screens to my toy.
I tore apart the zapper, cut the fine or “inside” mesh in half and wrapped it. I overlapped the two parts so there was no need to solder them. I then cut some pieces of electrical cord to use as a spacer and mounted the larger “external” screen. After inspecting to make sure that there were no bits touching, I finally wired it to the controller and duct taped it all together.
It works surprisingly well for such a fast hack. The whole thing took maybe 20 minutes to create.
If I were to do this again with a goal of making it nicer, I would do the following.
- -use a higher quality light saber that actually lights up. sound effects wouldn’t hurt either.
- -stuff the circuit into the light saber handle. It would look so much nicer.
- -find some new screen material instead of re-using the material from the racquet.