I actually finished a project in a somewhat reasonable time frame (factoring in that I had class and plenty of homework to keep me busy).
So here's my secret "power source" for the light saber -- A Maglite!
It has an LED instead of the usual junky light bulb. The reflector in it also happens to be the perfect shape to illuminate the blade nearly uniformly. This idea was GENIUS!
Another GENIUS idea was the use of a custom machined collet to hold the blade in place. It makes the blade easy to replace and holds it in like... a real collet.
These are all of the parts used in the light saber. The screws are used to bolt the two ends onto the main body. The flashlight is held in place by the plastic ring shown next to the collet. It is turned on by the pointy looking acrylic piece in the back to the left. The blade got a rounded end cap to prevent injury during duels. (This light saber cut the blade off of one of the cheap "official" ones from the toy store)
I ditched adding the gears around the hilt. It wasn't worth lifting the 8" rotary table from the floor onto the mill =D
This project doesn't really have any pros or cons. It looks cool and that's about it. Until I make a second one I can't test it out in battle, so for now its mostly an art piece I guess.