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World’s first working proto-lightsaber cooks faces at 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit

By Adam Pockross
Daisy Ridley in Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

    Of all the cool gadgets to be found in all the coolest sci-fi movies, can you think of anything you’d rather own than a real life version of the mighty lightsaber? We can’t, and we’re guessing whoever shelled out 176 million credits this weekend to catch Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker can’t either. But sorry, that’s not going to happen anytime soon, as lightsabers and real life science just don’t mix.

The major hiccup is that you need a power source small enough to fit through a belt loop, while also being strong enough to generate an estimated 1.69 gigajoules of thermal energy (even more than the 1.21 gigawatts that Doc Brown was shooting for to recreate a bolt of lighting). But that didn’t stop YouTuber The Hacksmith from doing his best to create a functional lightsaber — or at least one functional enough to melt his own face.

Alas, the whole belt loop thing apparently proved to be an impossible workaround, so Hacksmith looked for inspiration from the protosaber, a Star Wars extended universe predecessor to the lightsaber in its current form. But instead of packing the power into the saber’s handle, the protosaber included an insulated wire linked to a power supply worn by the not-as-elegant weapon’s wielder.

So, “for the past year, Hacksmith Industries has been working tirelessly on making a portable battery pack capable of powering a lightsaber.”

Granted, the portable pack they ultimately powered up weighs a robust 41 pounds. But it does generate a “crapton” of current, over 20 kilowatts, or roughly half the power utilized by your average North American home.   

All this energy is then used to heat up a metal rod. The hacksters first utilized Tungsten, then stainless steel wrapped in Kanthal wire, and finally a Titanium-Tungsten combination.

So what’s the final result?

“A portable protosaber power pack capable of outputting 20kW of power (20V at ~1000A) to heat the redesigned lightsaber blade, which features a titanium pipe over the top of a 3/8th diameter tungsten core, with a glass fiber insulator separating the two. Turn it on, and within about 10-15s, the titanium hits nearly 2500F and glows white-yellow hot!” according to The Hacksmith’s schematics page.

Aka, face melting awesomeness! Literally, as the first thing Hacksmith does after powering up the frightening device (around the 14:45 mark) is to cut a fake head cleanly in half. See kids, science is fun!