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Advanced Engineering 2018

NZ Firm Arms Darth Vader

01 August 2003

Rotorua's Kilwell Fibretube Ltd, a division of Kilwell Sports, has made about 200 carbon-fibre tubes for the producers of Star Wars: Episode Three, the last instalment in the stars trilogy.

The fibreglass tubes are being used in the movie as lightsabers – weapons used by Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith and his adversaries, the powerful Jedi knights. The movie's producers requested the tubes after they started filming at Sydney's Fox Studios last month.

The aluminium rods actors had been using for lightsabers kept breaking, creating headaches for director George Lucas. Producers spotted Kilwell Sports' carbon- fibre fishing rods in Australia and contacted one of the company's Brisbane-based agents to supply them with a similar product.

The fibreglass tubes, coated in texalium (a silver aluminium-based coating) were considered the perfect weight and strength to hold up to the challenge of physical battle scenes. Kilwell Fibretube's manufacturing director Neil Goodwin was sent specifications for about 200 tubes of varying lengths and sizes.

The tubes were quickly assembled and sent to Sydney for filming to resume. It is understood the lightsabers' ""glow"" will be added to the tubes by digital editors in post-production. With worldwide interest in the movie building every week, Mr Goodwin said staff were looking forward to seeing their handiwork on the big screen, despite having to wait until 2005.





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