The Return Of The Jedi Luke Skywalker Lightsaber - Part Two - The LED string blade
At this point, I begin the LED string. The LEDs I am using are extremely bright, can put out from 7200 mcd to 21000 mcd at 525 nm. That's MUCH brighter than anything I have used to date. To begin the process, I use my flat needlenose pliers to fold out the leads so that they are straight out, and as flat to the bottom of the LED case as I can get them.
Now, I use my regular needlenose pliers as both a spacer, and to hold it while I bend each lead back down. I try to make as close to a 90 degree sharp angle as I can, while holding the lead in the same spot each time, as the pliers are tapered.
Here, I have my LEDs bent and prepped for the next step. Consistency here is key, as it will make a big difference in the straightness of the LED string.
Next step, folding over. I use a scrap piece of shelving track for this, so my bends are the right angle and length every time. Again, consistency is key here. It won't be perfect, but the closer to uniform you get, the better.
Always make doubly sure that the bends here go the right way. I always point the "arrow" part of the LED up when I bend, so that the positive and negative leads always go the right direction. Saves me from having one reversed.
Now that they all are bent, it is time to assemble them together. This is one of the more tedious steps, but it will be worth it when they come on for the first time.
Assembly, here I make sure my leads are all correct, positive down one side, and negatives down the other. I will assemble six sets of 12 to 14 LEDs like this, depending on length of blade. Pass one LED's leads through the shoulders, and bend up and crimp with needlenose pliers.
This is a section of 12 LEDs. This will go on the rest of the strip I already have made after soldering and trimming.
To solder, I have a little anvil with a magnet on top, this keeps my LED string section in place while I solder, and the magnet is also handy for when I trim the extra leads off the sides. The magnet collects the leads, instead of them getting in my carpet, and in my foot.
A completed section, soldered, trimmed, ready to join the others.
Here I have several sections placed into the diffuser foam tube, and test lit. It is unbelievably bright, pictures don't do it justice. It hurts to look at it without the diffuser foam, and I think once I get them all assembled, it will be one of the brightest sabers I have ever seen.
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