Trying out a bit more of the TCSS "heavy" blades - I've been unhappy with the durability of the thinner walled US grabbag blades for a while, so I'm testing with the heavier 1" blades from TCSS.
So far I've done two blades - both with 2x 120 LED WS2812 strips. One uses the transwhite tubing while the other uses the clear. Both use a bullet tip with the mirroring removed and a hole drilled through the center to improve its ability to diffuse light from the blade itself. Transwhite blade uses the TCSS diffusor rod, 20mm (1/2 shrink) clear heat shrink wrap over the TCSS "thick blade" foam. Clear blade uses the same diffusor rod, 2 layers of 15mm clear heat shrink wrap, 1 layer of 20mm heat shrink wrap, and no foam.
Some early observations:
1. The blade are substantially stouter than the blades obtained from other sources. They also have a little bit more heft - making them a little better balance for sparring use.
2. Lack of foam definitely makes corn-cobbing a problem. The heat shrink on its own doesn't provide enough diffusion, even with the diffusor rod.
3. WS2812s are fine for use even at this relatively limited internal sizing. Unless you're specifically going for a thinner blade like a 7/8" one, it's not really worth the premium to get skinny strips.
4. Aviation connectors or just using JST connectors is preferable (at least for me) to the TCSS style contact pad wiring. The soldering pads for the blade end don't work particularly well for doing two strips.
5. Sort of surprised at the power draw (or lack thereof) - even at full brightness, a blue setting blade will last a good 45 minutes on a 3000 Mah 18650 - mixed colors are a little bit more power hungry, but still get about 20-35 minutes without major problems.
6. Thinking of adding something to be sandwiched between the two strips to add a bit more rigidity to the strips - they tend to bend a little too much when trying to cram them into tighter spaces and this results in a bit more kinking in the lighting than is ideal.