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World’s First IRL STAR WARS Protosaber Is Insanely Dangerous

Here’s the thing about lightsabers that isn’t acknowledged enough: They’re just as dangerous for their users as they are for enemies facing off against them. Which isn’t a big deal considering the elegant weapons for a more civilized age are fictional, but in real life, this fact becomes frightening relevant. Check out the Hacksmith’s “world’s first protosaber” build for proof of that assessment, as well as an understanding of why a true energy sword is not only nearly impossible to build, but also unwise to wield.

For those unfamiliar, the protosaber (or “proto-saber”) is an archaic form of lightsaber, with the main difference between the two being the former’s use of an external power pack. As the Wookipedia notes, “the hilt [of a protosaber] was connected via cable to an external power pack due to limitations in power pack technology,” which not only resulted in a relatively short operational timeframe, but also, of course, limited mobility for its user. In the Star Wars universe, the protosaber was first discovered during a mission to Mustafar, when the Rebel Alliance found it in a container. It first appeared in Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi — The Golden Age of the Sith, a comic book sub-series that ran between 1996 and ’97.

The world's first IRL Star Wars protosaber build is insanely cool/dangerous.

Jump to 14:25 in the video to see the IRL protosaber in action. 

In the video, the Hacksmith refers to lightsabers/protosabers as the “holy grail of sci-fi tech,” although he also notes that they are “scientifically impossible to create in real life.” But because he seems to have a dash of Mad Hatter DNA—which is also definitely present in Colin Furze’s blood, for the record—the Hacksmith (and friends) took on the challenge anyway, ultimately coming up with an IRL protosaber that produces enough energy to power half of an average North American home; all from a block of batteries that’s slung over a user’s back.

Most of the video revolves around building a portable battery pack capable of powering the IRL protosaber, which seems dangerous enough even without taking the finished product into account. Apparently the battery pack “burst into flames” on several occasions, and while there’s no footage of that happening in this video, the protosaber itself does light on fire when the Hacksmith first turns it on.

The world's first IRL Star Wars protosaber build is insanely cool/dangerous.

One artistic take on the Star Wars protosaber. Brules

After replacing the protosaber’s “blade” with a thicker piece of tungsten—the original one couldn’t handle the 20kW of power produced by the battery—the Hacksmith reveals the final product at about 14:25. And the whole thing, including the protosaber blade and hilt, as well as the steampunk-style battery pack, turns out beautifully. The Hacksmith goes on to demonstrate its destructive capabilities by using it to burn through various objects, but does so without wearing any type of protective gear aside from some safety glasses. Which we only note because, again, this freakin’ thing is so freakin’ dangerous. Luckily, the Hacksmith doesn’t underestimate the power of the Force (of electricity), and manages to wield the weapon without burning himself.

What do you think about this IRL protosaber build? Are you shocked to see the Hacksmith wield it without any safety gear on, or do you think he’s well on his way to becoming some kind of engineering-class Jedi? Give us your proto-opinions in the comments!

Feature image: the Hacksmith