Alex Burkan Built a Working Lightsaber, Earning Himself a Guiness World Record26.01.2022
The plasma blade of the Star Wars-inspired weapon is capable of reaching temperatures of up to 2,800°C
No longer content just painting miniatures, reading comic books and playing video games, in 2013, YouTuber Alex Burkan decided to realize his deeply held childhood dream and build a working lightsaber. While the fantasy, rather universal among fans of the Star Wars franchise, seemed impossible to make into reality, the man nevertheless pulled it off. The project of was eventually recognized with a Guiness World Record, and the honor was accompanied by a short film exploring the Russian engineering enthusiast’s feat. Although he’s not the first to undertake building the iconic weapon (previous attempts included one by Canadian company Hacksmith Industries), his was a solo effort and the artifact he designed is retractable and does not need an external power source. According to Guiness officials, this alone makes it worthy of particular recognition.
Burkan’s lightsaber is capable of producing a plasma blade one meter long, reaching a temperature of up to 2,800°C, which gives it the ability to cut through harder materials, such as steel. Burkan openly admits that designing the weapon to carry these particular features was no easy feat. Before sitting down at his workbench, he first spent a couple of years gathering the necessary parts—primarily canvassing scrap yards and online markets. The next step involved designing and building the high-pressure equipment that could be adapted to power the sci-fi weapon.
The key component without which the lightsaber would not function properly is the electrolyzer. The device generates huge amounts of oxygen and hydrogen, and compresses the gas to the necessary pressure without having to use a mechanical compressor. Aside from the electrolyzer, Burkan also had to design and build a compact, sturdy burner that would fit inside the hilt.
The lightsaber can only run for about thirty seconds. The YouTuber behind the Alex Lab channel emphasizes, however, that it’s still a very good result and that there is still a lot of space for improvement. “The most awesome thing this gadget can do is give you a true feeling of a real lightsaber in your hand,” he said, emphasizing that in the future he would like to upgrade the weapon’s nozzle and replace the fuel tank. “I think the science will help us and finally we can get the lightsaber close to the movie version,” he added.
In an interview with Guiness World Records, Burkan also revealed that he’s since moved on to another project straight out of sci-fi: "Right now I am working on an Iron Man suit and other equipment that also works on hydrogen,” he said, somewhat mysteriously.
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