You’re probably familiar with YouTuber James Hobson, a.k.a. The Hacksmith, by now. He’s the guy whose team have made highly realistic, fully functioning replicas of iconic movie weaponry, including Captain America’s shield and Thor’s mighty hammer from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Wolverine’s claws from the X-Men franchise, and even the thermal imaging helmet from the Predator movies.
He is probably still best-known, howver, for crafting Jedi weapons from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away: namely, lightsabers from Star Wars. First came the protosaber, an early incarnation of the famous laser sword, then the lightsaber proper, and most recently, a recreation of Kylo Ren’s three-pronged saber from the sequel trilogy. The problem with all of these iterations, however, was that they weren’t technically lightsabers, they were simply constructed from metal tubing. A real lightsaber (or as real as you can get when you’re talking about space opera gear) is emitted from the hilt, and retracts when not in use.
In the latest episode of their ‘Make It Real’ series, Hacksmith Industries attempted to solve this problem once and for all, creating the world’s first retractable, plasma-based lightsaber.
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“Even with all of our new equipment and capabilities, we’re still bound by the laws of thermodynamics,” says Hobson. Which means that this new model will technically be a protosaber, powered by a portable pack separate from the hilt. Using the principle of laminar flow, Hobson is able to turn a highly concentrated stream of propane gas into a plasma “beam” which burns at 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit—heat capable of cutting through steel.
And because no self-respecting Jedi would be caught wielding a lightsaber that’s the same color as somebody else’s, Hobson even figures out how to turn the plasma blade different hues, using salts, calcium chloride, and boric acid.
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