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Fusion Core Saber System

A system to improve the  assembly and maintenance of  illuminated sabers while increasing their functionality and longevity

 

THE Problem

Combat illuminated sabers are tough props meant to resemble the light sabers seen in star wars movies.

These sabers can take impacts and be used for full contact dueling while being stuffed full of electronics that illuminate the polycarbonate blade and produce sound effects through a speaker near the bottom.

 
 Fully opened saber, notice tightly wound wiring that is exposed when changing the battery

Fully opened saber, notice tightly wound wiring that is exposed when changing the battery

 A traditionally installed combat saber

A traditionally installed combat saber

 

However, the traditional method of constructing these combat sabers makes them prone to internal breakage. This method makes the saber needlessly difficult to install and maintain. 

We wanted to solve these issues so we came up with the Fusion Core Saber System to give users a saber with improved stability, usability and features.

 
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The Fusion Core

 

A self contained saber slectronics system that allows for better stability, easier installation, and the ability to hot swap cores between hilts

THE FUSION CORE

Rather than install the electronics directly into a saber, the idea came early on to have the electronics completely separate from the hilt. Doing this immediately gave us several advantages over the traditional method of install. Such as:


No Snapped Wires

As the core is completely removable, no wires are under strain, which eliminates the snapped wire issues that occur in most other sabers. This increases the longevity of the saber electronics while keeping it neat.

 Traditional install methods put a strain on the wires when changing the battery as shown above. This leads to snapped wires becoming a common yet annoying occurrence for users that change their battery regularly.

Traditional install methods put a strain on the wires when changing the battery as shown above. This leads to snapped wires becoming a common yet annoying occurrence for users that change their battery regularly.

 
 Our method on the other hand, ensures that no wires come under strain. They are also covered and do not come into contact with the the hilt preventing shearing and stripping of the wires.

Our method on the other hand, ensures that no wires come under strain. They are also covered and do not come into contact with the the hilt preventing shearing and stripping of the wires.


Easy Upgrades

 The Pico crumble soundcard by Plector Labs (pictured above), is an example of a typical soundcard with MP3, RGB Color Mixing and clash detection functionality

The Pico crumble soundcard by Plector Labs (pictured above), is an example of a typical soundcard with MP3, RGB Color Mixing and clash detection functionality

Saber Technology usually goes through a major upgrade every 1.5 years. Upgrades usually come in the form of a new sound card with additional features.

The Fusion Core System lets users stay current by making upgrading a simpler process.

Rather than traditionally wasting time going back and forth with the manufacturer to upgrade their saber, users can now just purchase the new core with the latest soundcard and slot it into their saber.

 


Hot Swappable

Making the electronics completely removable gives another advantage to users. It allows them to swap Fusion Cores between compatible hilts, thereby owning only 1 electronic core but virtually having many functional sabers.

This also allows user to change their setup based on the occasion. For instance a soundless core is better for dueling while a color changing core is more impressive at events.

This concept makes the cost of owning multiple sabers more economical since users can buy hilt designs they like and save on the electronics if they already own a Fusion Core.

 Our Nano Biscottie Core pictured above with the compatible hilts, The Riddari and the Comet

Our Nano Biscottie Core pictured above with the compatible hilts, The Riddari and the Comet


Simpler Construction

While creating indestructible products is the dream, it's unrealistic, and we felt it best to design the Core while keeping potential breakage in mind. Having the Core removable makes it easier to plan out and access wiring for both assembly and maintenance.

This makes it a breeze to test newly constructed sabers and debug existing ones while achieving a shorter work cycle. So that our customers get their sabers in their hand as quick as possible

 An early prototype, experimenting with the design for maintenance concept

An early prototype, experimenting with the design for maintenance concept


Combat Specific Innovations

While many of the features above are improvements to Combat Sabers as a whole, we wanted to innovate and create a new feature to improve the Combat saber experience specifically. As such we created the Stunt Bypass which which prevents a saber from turning off mid-combat, short of extreme circumstances such as the saber falling off a cliff.

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The Issue

During our Research & Development phase, one complaint was always prevalent. Users wanted their sabers to stop turning off unexpectedly during duels.

Upon further investigation, we determined this shut off occurred for 2 reasons:

1.) Due to a momentary power cut-off when the battery is jostled from the impact.

2.) When the SD card containing sound files is jostled and temporarily loses connection to the soundcard.

In both instances, even though the disruption occurs for less than half a second, it's enough for the soundcard to register the disruption which shuts down the saber.

Our Solution

While our Core greatly stabilized and reduced the occurrence of these issue, it still occurred from time to time much to our chagrin.

Whilst looking back at our research, we realized something. Users told us they hated their saber turning off. But every time they spoke about it, they were more annoyed at the blade light turning off, not the loss of sound.

So rather than trying to stabilize the sound card even further with complex structures and expensive materials, we installed a simple switch that would directly connect the LED to the battery, thereby bypassing the soundcard. We then christened this new solution with a catchy name, The Stunt Bypass.

This meant that even should the soundcard shutdown, the blade light would still stay on. The only downside is that the bypass color has to be hardwired during assembly and can not be changed by the user at this moment. 

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Design and Build

To test the practicality of our Core system, we designed and manufactured 2 hilts. These hilts were both designed for combat with ergonomics, balance and grip placement being major factors in the design of each.

These designs were achieved after a rigorous process of 3D printing and iterative testing. Each iteration was made after collecting feedback from our test group, The Saber Authority, until we worked out all the issues and incorporated their feedback.


Riddari

The Riddari is the more combat focused design of the initial two. Using the Japanese Katana as inspiration, the Riddari has an oval shaped hilt design to fit comfortably in the users hands. The oval shape also serves the function of giving the saber a "direction", making it more familiar to those who have prior training in swordplay or bladed weapons.

This oval cross section also increases the weight of the hilt without concentrating it at the pommel. This gives the saber an even balance. One recurring piece of feedback we got from our testers was that the Riddari felt lighter than it other design, despite the fact that in actuality it weighed more. This difference in feeling is due to the balance achieved by our design.

 


Comet

Being second of the two, the goal for the Comet was to create a lightweight saber with a more traditional science fiction design. This was achieved by taking inspiration from science fiction movies and TV shows. The design was intentionally kept simple with few protruding parts and no sharp edges around the grip area to ensure there would be minimal chaffing during usage.

Other small touches were made as well to better suit our test group apart from rounding off all sharp edges, the curved grip was made more subtle to allow for a better grip, the overall length of the saber was also extended to allow the blade to lock in more securely and slots were added to the pommel so more sound could escape.

Photo Credit: The Saber Authority

Research conclusion and the beginning of a product

This project started out with a simple desire to see if we could solve problems and it eventually grew into something much larger, involving working with test groups, talking to manufacturers, as well as tremendous amounts of trial and error, all to challenge ourselves to create something better than what was in the existing market.

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 A look at some of the many 3D prints created as part of the trail and error process to create the Fusion Core Saber System

A look at some of the many 3D prints created as part of the trail and error process to create the Fusion Core Saber System

In the broader scheme of things, it might seem odd for a prototyping company like ourselves to dabble in props to such an extent. 

However we feel it is precisely because we are a prototyping company that we fit the bill to solve such problems. The constant testing and improving cycle that we apply to all of our projects was well utilized in this project and our engineering knowledge served us well to troubleshoot and solve problems with a user-centric focus.

 

In fact, our sabers were so well received by our test group, The Saber Authority, that we launched it as a product under the brand: Fusion Sabers.

Currently we offer the two saber models and a "Core" that are the first fruits of this project, and we are already working on new hilt designs and core configurations. For the moment we only offer sales locally in Singapore but we are looking to expand into international sales soon.

We're currently working on a website to facilitate sales that will be launched soon at: www.fusionsabers.com

 

 Saber Authority Champion 2017, wielding his Riddari.  Photo credit: The Saber Authority

Saber Authority Champion 2017, wielding his Riddari.

Photo credit: The Saber Authority