The Light saber was one of the harder items to make. I ended up using a silver 3 D-cell MagLite as my base. I measured the handle to the right length, and made the necessary cut. I followed the diagrams from The Dark Side - Light Saber Blue Prints web page. He gives good details on size and looks. If you watch the movie and look at his page, constructing one of your own will be no problem.
For the hand grips, I used 3/4" weather striping. It gives good grip and looks very impressive. The only problem is the fact that the striping will slide on the adhesive, and leave a big sticky area.
For the emitter, all I used was 3/4" PVC Conduit and a 3/4" PVC coupler. I glued the PVC to the coupler just so the coupler had something to sit on, and the 3/4" PVC went down into the MagLite handle. I then cut the coupler to the right angle for the diagram I was using.
The rest of the pieces, i.e. the switch and rings, were just pieces I found around the house. The switch on the bottom is decorative to attempt to match the look, but it serves a second purpose. I drilled and tapped the MagLite handle through the PVC inside, and the screws that hold the switch in place also holds the PVC in place with the emitter end.
As we you can see, I did not mention making a blade for my saber. I found that to be rather difficult to get the look I wanted. So here I began to search the web for companies that made light sabers with glowing blades. On my Links page, you will find 3 sites for purchasing working light sabers. However, you may find a design you prefer by searching the web. It is your choice.
The third one, Larbel Plasma Blades , makes sabers with no blades. They do however make their models to the original specs of the items used in ANH, ESB, & ROTJ (according to their web site). But if you like their sabers, they do fit Lightech Industries blades, from what I am told.
The second company, Lightech Industries makes units with FIGHTABLE blades. That was one problem that most manufacturers could not accomplish. The plasma blade design looks good, and even gives the "extending" glow when you turn it on, but they are fragile and cannot be fought with. Lightech's makes 2 major models, the T-900 and the Viper Defender. The defender runs $225.00 (plus s&h), and the T-900 runs $350.00 (plus s&h). The nice thing about the T-900 is the fact that you can buy a "Powerage" kit to make this unit look real close to Vader's. The additional cost of the "Powerage" kit for the T-900 is $25.00 when ordering the saber as the "Powerage". Mike (the owner of Lightech) also makes different types of emitters to mate with the T-900 to make it look like you want. The best suggestion I have, if you want to buy a working saber, is to go to Lightech Industries and search his web site for what you want. If you have any questions, call him. I have been on the phone with him many times, asking questions about construction, and ordering trying to get my saber the way I want it. Mike has said the main reason that none of his sabers looks just like Luke's or Vader's is to protect from copyright infringement.
As of July 2003, I ordered a Rogue saber from Park Sabers . He makes a saber that is almost identical to Darth Vader's for a good price. I still own the Lightech saber, but for costume details, the park is much better, and closer to the real thing.