February 20, 2024

Creating a 3D Printed US Lightsaber

Peter S. Gutierrez, MD, FACEP

I am a gigantic nerd. This would come as no surprise to anyone who has spent any semblance of time around me. From video games to Star Wars to 3D printing (and college football, though not considered a typical “nerd” topic), my nerddom knows few bounds. I’m also very passionate about education, and one of my favorite pastimes is marrying my love of teaching with as many references to my other nerdy pursuits as possible. This usually ends with me feeling incredibly old after the newly minted interns don’t seem to catch my random pop culture and sci-fi references sprinkled into some quick education after signing out a patient. But every so often it can help make a connection, either between two analogous topics that can help shed new light, or between teacher and student by capturing their attention.

One recent experience definitely did the latter, and hopefully a little of the former. During a typically dry lecture on ultrasound physics, I donned Jedi robes and wielded the most graceful of weapons: the ultrasound probe lightsaber. Yes, it was as cool as it sounds. Not only did it catch the audience off guard when the 3D-printed lightsaber blade extended from the ultrasound probe hilt, but it made for a convenient pointer for the rest of the Star Wars-theme lecture. I’ve had some requests since then for the plans, so I’ve posted the 3D print file here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6362670. More specific directions are on the website. Not as clumsy or random as a CT scanner, I hope you enjoy this elegant weapon for a more civilized age.


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