May 31, 2016
Local Star Wars Enthusiast Creates Lightsabers, Plans To Help The Blind
By Bonnie Mentel
Paul Rubino has been a fan of Star Wars for a long time. He became so fascinated with lightsabers that he began researching how they were made and ended up teaching himself how to make them.
He finished his first lightsaber in September and started showing them to people. Soon he was getting requests for purchases.
During this time, Rubino realized that he could take his hobby and turn it into something that he could use to help people. He is still searching for the right path to use his gift for the Kingdom of God, but he’s confident that God gives us our skills to bring glory and honor to Him.
Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki, defines a lightsaber as, “a weapon used by the Jedi and the Sith. Lightsabers consisted of a plasma blade, powered by a kyber crystal and usually emitted from a metallic hilt.”
Rubino’s lightsabers do not have plasma blades or crystals, but he said that his lighting and sound effects are ten times better than those that can be purchased in the toy section.
“They have high-end sound boards that handle all the sounds and lighting. They are crazy bright and are made for full-contact fighting. Ones that are fully functioning with sound start in the $300s. They are made for props or for Star Wars enthusiasts. It’s like a really expensive adult toy,” Rubino said.
The hilts are made out of aircraft grade aluminum. The blade’s material uses polycarbonate, which is the same material that hockey masks are made out of.
“They’re meant to be fun. They’re meant to take out and mess around with your friends. They’re not just for hanging up on the wall,” he said.
Rubino likes to have his evening devotionals at Starbucks. He has gotten in the habit of bringing one of his lightsabers with him; he’s found that this is a good way to start conversations with people. During one of those nights, he met some students from the Refuge, which is the college ministry at Bell Shoals Baptist Church. Through this connection, he was put in touch with a man who was interested in having a custom lightsaber built.
Rubino went to the man’s house to discuss the specifications and was introduced to an idea that he had never considered before.
“He is blind. Completely. He wants me to make him a guide stick lightsaber. It’s going to be a lightsaber that is long enough to be used as a walking guide stick and it’s going to have the same functionality as a lightsaber. So that anyone who is looking around – it’s going to look like they’re swinging a lightsaber around. It will make swing sounds, and when they bump it against a sidewalk, it will make a clashing sound. It’s going to be made in what specifications he wants in a walking stick. It will have leather wrap on the hilt so it’s easy to hold,” Rubino said.
While he was at the apartment, the man’s roommate said he wants one, as well. His roommate is also blind.
Then he met a young woman at church who is about to marry, who also happens to be blind. He started talking to her and she admitted that she would like one, too, if it all works out.
“For people who can still see some color and some light, this will help them, because they are so light. They will light things up around them. For safety reasons, if there’s a blind person walking at night, or on campus walking back to their dorm, you have a lit-up lightsaber. It will be super easy for cars because you have this giant 6-foot aura of light around you,” he said.
If the parts are available, Rubino is positive that he can build one within a couple of days to a week. He also works full-time job at Publix and part-time in the Worship Ministry at FishHawk Fellowship, so right now he is treating the lightsabers as a passionate hobby.
The lightsabers are powered by a high power LED in the hilt that can range from 3 watts up to 12 watts. Rubino said that they are blindingly light. Soundboards can be added to create different sound effects. Lighting effects can also be customized. There are limitless possibilities.
For those interested in contacting Rubino, he can be reached on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lightbringersabers.
His email is LightbringerSabers@gmail.com.