In a school far, far away…

In a school far, far away...

Photo courtesy of Philip Jennette

Imagine being able to make lightsabers. Senior Philip Jennette imagined that very thing and brought his ideas to life in learning to create things such as lightsabers, plant lights, and even blasters that shoot lasers. 

Jennette started constructing these various objects in the midst of 2020, the year when the world shut down. With so little to do, he thought about perhaps expanding his hobbies into making lightsabers.

“I kind of just started over COVID just because I was out of school and had that extra time and I watched a lot more TV at that point. I got the idea from looking at all this reference material and I was like, ‘man, I wonder if I can make that’,” explained Jennette. 

Jennette started by making replicas of Jedi lightsabers, but soon after he also began making some of his own designs. Jennette has made lightsaber replicas for Cal-Kestis, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin Skywalker from the Star Wars franchise. Making lightsabers takes multiple steps and a significant amount of designing. 

“First, I usually just design it on paper. Then, once I have a rough sketch of what I want to do, I take it to [Joshua] Masley and the computer lab and design it in 3-D modeling. From there, I just looked at what kind of materials would be the cheapest to work with because I didn’t really have access to tools and stuff at that point. I was just figuring out which materials would be best to use,” said Jennette.

Creating lightsabers as a do-it-yourself project proves to save money, and it makes Jennette stand out in that creating lightsabers is not a common hobby.

“Honestly, I just made them because no one else was and I didn’t want to spend the money on really high-end props and replicas. So, I decided to use the STEM classes that I had and just make them myself,” said Jennette.

Jennette began by making a light panel, his first project of many to come. 

“I think my favorite item I’ve made is my very first wall light panel that I made during quarantine because that kind of started it all,” stated Jennette.

Aside from Star Wars replicas and light panels, Jennette has also made grow lights for his plants, which are unique among his other projects.

“Basically they are just a sci-fi inspired grow light for my plants that allows them to live fully and healthily on my desk and also doubles as a power outlet to allow me to charge my laptop on the desk,” explained Jennette.

Recently, Jennette tested out making a new item: a laser gun. He used a real laser pointer to create it, one that was decently powerful.

“I didn’t really advertise this well on Instagram because I didn’t know how well it would go over, but I used a laser pointer to make it. When it is fired, it shoots a genuine laser out and it was very powerful. The laser was able to pop a balloon and start burning through paper,” said Jennette.

Jennette likes to sell his creations, and he does so over Instagram, wary of expanding to a full-grown online store.

“I have thought about making an online store, but being a student athlete, I just don’t have the time for larger amounts of orders. I just take it one or two at a time to make sure that I can make and get them out in a reasonable amount of time,” explained Jennette. 

College will be an obstacle for Jennette when it comes to having time for his creations. However, this pastime is not something he wants to completely remove from his life.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do with them in college, but when I’m home I’ll try to continue for sure,” said Jennette.

Jennette plans to work with marine life after high school, hoping to work on impactful projects after his college years.

“I’m going to Coastal Carolina University and I’m going to study marine science. I’m hopeful to be on some sort of artificial coral reef project, kind of just rebuilding and creating coral reefs down in Florida,” explained Jennette.

Jennette hopes that by creating things on his own, he can show people that they can create their own items as well, rather than buying them. 

“I think it was just easier than I ever imagined to get started,” said Jennette. “Once I started, since my first project, I have never stopped.”