Please upgrade your browser for the best possible experience.

Chrome Firefox Internet Explorer

Theories on how lightsabers work / are weighted

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > STAR WARS Discussion
Theories on how lightsabers work / are weighted

TheLuminousGlow's Avatar

08.02.2017 , 08:40 AM | #1
What's your thoughts on this theory on lightsabers here? I've always thought they were just weightless, and because of that it'd be hard for someone not gifted in the force to easily cut themselves but thinking about it, what he's talking about here with the Torque force and the feel of energy seems like quite the logical argument.

I really like this theory, it goes hand in hand with the idea that blades are plasma; plasma couldn't hold it's form like a lightsaber without a magnetic, or gravitational field holding it in place, and there would have to be something generating that. One way of creating a magnetic field is to have electrons in motion, like spinning magnets around a copper wire or vice versa and that would vibrate the hilt when you turned it on; Have you ever held something that has a very strong rotational vibration before? we used to have a head massager that when turned on felt very difficult to move, because it was forcing your wrist to rotate, and I could imagine how this would apply to the theory.
Long live Europe-Chimera:
SWG: Luminous'/Roguebounty/Radiant'/Lumie-Nolan/Calicursuron Darkstorm {Guilds: Blood/-SaF-/-VNC-/Lore/HImpC/Judge/MDKG}
Youtube channel for SWTOR:

MadDutchman's Avatar

08.02.2017 , 08:03 PM | #2
He kinda contradicts himself a little with talk of force users being able to negate the torque by using the force, and then pointing out that Sabine is able to (at least partially) adapt to it.

I'm also not sure if torque trying to make the hilt rotate is accurate. If there was such a force, the blade would likely spin wildly out of control when thrown.

It'll likely be more of a gyroscopic effect that resists movement (like the wheels of a bicycle).

Of course, digging too far into the physics isn't going to get anywhere
Demand: Are. We. There. Yet.

Use my referral link for free goodies.

Storm-Cutter's Avatar

08.03.2017 , 12:54 AM | #3
OFC in the original movie, the actors had actual props, over which the effect of the 'blade' was rotoscoped on.

- Which meant that the prop that they used had a weight and feel like that of a practice blade.

Normally swords have a weight in the hilt the Pommel Which partially counter-balances the blade.

IF the blade is pure light and weighs nothing, then there is no need for a counter-weight in the hilt. ( other than for comfort)
If the blade did weigh something, then the components in the hilt would probably be enough to counter-balance it.

FWIW: Personally I think that the lightsabre is useable by anybody.- It's the long hours of practice in such an archaic weapon that makes it deadly in the hands of a skilled user - whether it be sith or Jedi. - And since they are the only real practitioners, there are probably very few others in the galaxy who can manufacture the lightsabre, let alone teach it. - Besides where the force comes in - is in the push/pull/parry/knockback/leap/counter/hold. - which is easier to do using force than brute strength alone.

Any damn fool can shoot a gun - basically point-and-click, but to be good with a blade takes a lot of practice. - Even actors have long sessions with choreographers to make it look good in the movies - Fighting for your life can end your trip real quick when you come up against someone with superior skills.
-Storm Cutter.
Like my comment? Refer me and also give a homeless Bantha a new start in life. Just click here.
Cool lightsabre art: ****.**================

SteveTheCynic's Avatar

08.03.2017 , 08:51 AM | #4
But of course the balance point of a lightsabre is in entirely the wrong place. It's *behind* your hand, not in front of it like a "physical" sword. Look at the general one-handed grip Star Wars people (e.g. look at the grips in-game) use - it's in the "top" half of the hilt, while the centre of mass is in the middle of the hilt.

But that's not right. A sword *should* be balanced at a point out there on its blade somewhere, so that it has a "sweet spot" that isn't inside your hand... (Placing the sweet spot, aka Centre of Percussion, is hard because it depends on a variety of factors, including the placement of the user's hand(s) and the flexibility or lack thereof of the object. Regardless of that, an object where the pivot point is colocated with - or even "higher up" the total object than - the centre of mass will have its sweet spot in a deeply wrong place for effective sword-fighting.) Having the centre of mass up the blade somewhere *also* adds the blade's momentum to the "weight" of the blow.

Then again, a lightsabre isn't a sword. It has fairly serious deviations from "normal" sword behaviour, not the least of which being that its blade consists entirely of edge and point(1), with neither flat nor "back". (A single-edged sword like a cutlass, cavalry sabre, or katana has a non-cutting back opposite the edge.) A consequence of that is that lightsabre techniques should take advantage of the blade's low inertia (it has essentially no momentum that means anything as you swing it) and omni-directional cut, while avoiding "head-on" blade-to-blade impacts that will be jarring owing to the absence of an accessible sweet spot. (Deflecting the enemy's blade by glancing blows, as featured in iaido and kendo, is OK, but going head-on is a real no-no.)

(1) Dramatic film-fights aside, the lightsabre is also ill-suited to stabbing attacks because of its great length.
To go to Belsavis, you must go to Belsavis.

TheLuminousGlow's Avatar

08.03.2017 , 08:17 PM | #5
Those are certainly interesting points, it is true the weight of the blade and the balance point are very important in sword play and I've studied a few sword techniques; Without the momentum of the blade weight it seems like it'd be almost impossible to have all those choreographed saber spinning fights in the prequels; I've tried to envision using a weightless bladed weapon, in the sense that I modified a heavy windu force fx saber and put in a very very light poly carbonate blade, the hilt was so heavy you couldn't feel the blade there at all and the center point of balance of the hilt was near the center, it's safe to say it felt very different to wield.

I don't think he was wrong as Torque is a force that tends to cause rotation, which essentially could be gyroscopic too.
I would imagine if going by that whole gyroscopic resistance on the hilt wouldn't shift the center balance of the hilt would it? simply rotate around it? so It wouldn't give a better balance to the blade despite the weight but simply make it even harder to control.

As for him contradicting himself, I think he was trying to say that trained Force users can Negate it, Non-Force users have to adapt to it, but it will always be there meaning a trained Force User will always have the advantage when using one. I.e those without the force through training could get used to it but it'd still be there.
Long live Europe-Chimera:
SWG: Luminous'/Roguebounty/Radiant'/Lumie-Nolan/Calicursuron Darkstorm {Guilds: Blood/-SaF-/-VNC-/Lore/HImpC/Judge/MDKG}
Youtube channel for SWTOR:

Storm-Cutter's Avatar

08.04.2017 , 03:02 AM | #6
I kinda think it'd be like weiding a short tool or a torch around. - reasonably balanced in the hand. - though how that translates to actual swordplay Its difficult to say. ( and practice here at work )

- maybe that's why, lore-wise, most lightsabre wielders construct their own. - The basic one you get as a graduate apprentice or padawan is possibly one that just suits your style of swordsmanship - but you adapt and improve that one or a new one as a graduate.

Much as you might start with a set of golf clubs or skis that are suited for your height, weight, grip, posture and such, but in the end if you're serious, you'll want something a bit more tailored to yourself.

I would imagine that after practice foils, the padawan gets a long session about lightsabre use - Since you don't want to slice your leg off in the draw, or look down the hole I the end..

"Ha ha! The old 'see if the lightsabre crystal is working' trick... get's 'em every time!"
-Storm Cutter.
Like my comment? Refer me and also give a homeless Bantha a new start in life. Just click here.
Cool lightsabre art: ****.**================

Korparia's Avatar

08.04.2017 , 03:40 PM | #7
I have thought about that as well. I have handled a number of different swords , and I prefer the Chinese Jian sword. Full tang, double edge, straight blade, no taper, rounded tip. The balance is about 6 in, in front of the cross guard. This puts the sweet spot a little further out, where the blade is still very strong. The fighting technique can be one hand, but it is nice to have a second hand assist on some of the moves. I don't like the curved blade of the Japanese Katana, or the Indian Kukri. The curved blades make the tip difficult to use as a weapon and adds torque when the blade strikes something.

What does this have to do with a light saber? I don't think the blade of the light saber would weigh anything, and therefore would offer no resistance to changes in direction. Photons are massless, they are unaffected by gravity directly, but are bent because of gravitational distortion of space due to intense gravitational fields. Electrical fields don't affect light. Think waving a flashlight around. Because the beam has no weight, it would be hard to know where the blade is, or how fast it is moving. Our muscles, joints and brains are wired to gauge these things by the resistance a tool has in our hands.

That may be where the force comes in. Jedi who aren't strong in the force, loose limbs.

Techniques of sword fighting with light sabers, would include moves to allow the jedi to accelerate blade very quickly at the opponent. The jedi would have to be prepared to hit the opponents' blades. Then the massless, resistance free weapon, would come to an almost sudden stop. That would be very jarring to both and whoever could maintain control of the weapon the best, would probably be the victor.

kajiraerin's Avatar

08.04.2017 , 08:06 PM | #8
someone did create an actual working lightsaber

Aikon's Avatar

08.05.2017 , 10:49 AM | #9
In fiction, In one of the "Legends" novels (I don't recall which), they speak about how a lightsaber is an extension of the body, and the only weight it has is in it's hilt. The blade itself when ignited weighed nothing. There was also a show some time ago on Science Channel (in the United States), which showed how one may construct a modern day version of a lightsaber. I think it was "Physics of the Impossible."
Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.
Aykon - Guardian IncredibleJedi on Twitch

jedimasterkiwi's Avatar

08.06.2017 , 07:26 AM | #10
They definitely have some weight to them for example in the 5th film in the Wampa cave the lightsaber is lodged half way in the snow and Luke struggles to get it out (though being upside down and wounded) shows there is some weight to them as small/medium objects should be easy to lift for force users. Also keep in mind the materials used to make them can differ, I believe I saw Wookie padawan in the animated series make a lightsaber out of wood which could be lighter compared to a more metallic one (then again Wookies have a lot more strength than a regular human so it would be near weightless XD). I would also like to think that force also acts with magnetic qualities in regards to a lightsaber, as the Jedi and saber itself are opposites so they attract. Also when you think of magnets coming together they slightly jiggle before they are pulled together, this also happens in a lot of films and SWTOR trailers. I not entirely sure how they work apart from requiring a Kyber crystal to function, but I believe since Jedi are both invested into the force and science, etc its a mixture of scientific components with additional force qualities such as activation and retrieval. It is slightly mind boggling that they seem so easy to use as non force users can easily turn one on and start it swinging around. I would have thought since one of the padawan's trials is building a lightsaber there would be genetic lock on them or some safety switch lol (I guess it would defeat the point of General Grievous claiming Jedi's weapons though). That is all I have to say on the topic, just throwing some ideas out there sorry for the terrible grammar.
Ya boi Jedimasterkiwi
Refer a Friend Link:
Gives you some goodies and 7 days FREE subscription for new players and returning subscribers, so its a win-win