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Unread 05-19-2007, 10:41 PM   #1
Saeru
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Glowy eyes/accessories and Smoke tutorial

If you accessed this thread from my Anti-Form Sora construction thread, you can return to it by heading this way!
Go there for info on Sora's shoes, Sora's wig, or any other questions you might have.
For pictures of the finished Sora outfit, go HERE.

You'll have to bare with me on this post. ^.^ I'm not entirely certain how much detail I should go into, because I don't want to be too confusing. If there is anyone out there particularily interested in pages of notes and electrical schematics, leave a post and I'll go ahead and stick them in here, but for the most part I think that I can explain what I did with very little Engineering terminology.

So I'll begin!

There were two sets of electronic devices on Sora. One was the eyes, which glowed, and the other was a pair of bracelets in my gloves that smoked. Most of the attendies at Acen2007 who saw me did not get to see the smoke, as I had run out of vapor fluid by the time I was running around in the hallways. For this I appologise. I'll try and get that fixed for the future.

Since the most noticable aspect of the electronics was the eyes, I'll begin with them. ^.^

Last edited by Yui : 03-23-2010 at 04:06 PM. Reason: fixed links for ya
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Unread 05-19-2007, 10:41 PM   #2
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Glowy Eyes

As far as wearable luminous materials are concerned, the best route to go is with Electroluminescent sheeting/strips/wire. They require a minimum of voltage, do not generate any heat, are flat, and will probably last longer than one's costume. The most reliable source for such sheeting is LuminousFilm.com.

Buying strips or wires that light up is relatively inexpensive, but for Sora's eyes I had to buy a 6" x 12" sheet, which cost me over 40 dollars by the time shipping was figured in. The sheets/strips come in two colors: White or Blue/green, either of which can be overlayed with sheets of transparent film to acheive the desired color. In my design, I bought a white sheet, overlayed with yellow film. Pretty simple. ^.^

The actually sheeting/strips can be purchased from this page: EL catalog
I've done some searching around, and this place is pretty much the most reasonable as far as prices go. ^.^ This stuff would also be ideal for Tron outfits.
The BEST PART about the sheeting is that it can be cut into pretty much whatever shape you require! There are some limitations to this, however, as I soon found out.

EDIT:
They changed their ordering around, so here is a vague update on what you'll want these days and how to get it:

Quote:
http://www.luminousfilm.com/el_lamp.htm
On this page, you can choose to get split electrode or parallel electrode sheets. The parallel electrode are superior, but if you can deal with having the line (which I could for my eyes) then get the split electrode because its a LOT cheaper.
Here is what you do, if you want to go that route.
On that page is this block of text:
Split Electrode panels are available in widths from 1/4-inch to 30-inches and lengths up to 300 feet.
These panels are also offered in standard sheet sizes.
0.25-inches wide by up to 300-feet long
0.50-inches wide by up to 300-feet long
1.0-inches wide by up to 300-feet long
2.0-inches wide by up to 300-feet long
3.0-inches wide by up to 300-feet long
6.0-inches wide by up to 300-feet long
9.0-inches wide by up to 50-feet long
12.0-inches wide by up to 50-feet long
15.0-inches wide by up to 50-feet long
18.0-inches wide by up to 50-feet long
21.0-inches wide by up to 50-feet long
24.0-inches wide by up to 50-feet long
30.0-inches wide by up to 50-feet long

For split electrode, the line bisects the initial measurement given, so if you were buying 300 feet of 2.0-inches wide sheeting then the line would run 1 inch from top to bottom all along the 300 feet. Keep this in mind because for whatever you are lighting up, you HAVE to make sure that the line goes through the exact middle and has equal surface area on both sides of it so that it is evenly lit. For my eyes I had to get the 6.0-inches wide sheeting, so that the line would be in the middle between the two eyes.

In order to purchase any of the above sheets, you have to actually call them to order it. The minimum purchase is one foot, so I got a 6inch by 1foot piece when I got mine. It cost about 40$ when I got it, though it might be more now, and had enough for me to probably make a good four pairs of eyes. I believe you can ask them to go ahead and stick the wires in for you for an additional cost, but if you want to do it yourself, get these:
http://www.luminousfilm.com/shop/ind...t=1&itemid=63&

As for inverters...
http://www.luminousfilm.com/shop/ind...t=1&itemid=34&
That should be all you need, so long as you aren't doing something with a surface area of larger than 12 inches square. It runs off a 9v battery. Very handy because you don't have to plug yourself into a wall or deal with odd battery voltages.

That is my recommendation, and I think I really need to add this to my thread now. x-x
Schematic!
When the sheet arrived, it had a very thin line down the middle. I won't go into the crazy details of why this line is there, but the very basic explanation is that an EL sheet is actually a capacitor. When electrons are travelling from the battery and through the wiring, they essentially 'gather' in the sheet. (Engineers, please forgive this explanation). If you do not cut out an approximately symetric shape around the line, then you will have too many electrons gathered on one side of the sheet, and you won't get an even glow throughout. My eyes were cut out as per the schematic shown above, and there is no discernable difference from one eye to the other. ^.^ My first test-run failed, however, and one eye was glowing significantly brighter than the other because I did not cut them out symmetrically.

When purchasing EL sheets or EL wire, you'll need to also get an inverter. Capacitors cannot run on straight DC voltage(the kind that comes out of a battery). They require AC(what comes out of your socket at home) to 'light up,' and that is what the inverter does...it takes the battery voltage and turns it into AC voltage. The inverter that you buy will depend on the total square inches of your final cut-out design. Inverters can be purchased here:
DC-AC Inverters
You'll need to scroll down about midway to get to the affordable ones. The "9 volt DC For Split electrode FLATLITE® Lamps 5-12 sq.in" will probably be suitable for most projects. ^.^

I also encourage anyone who is attempting this to read over the luminousfilm page thoroughly. There are a lot of EL dangers that they discuss, and also how to avoid them. ^.^
The main danger that I encountered first hand is that, IMMEDIATELY following any cutting of an EL sheet, one should laminate it fully. Otherwise there will be current leakage at the edges, and anything touching them will become part of the circuit. Personally, I was initially terrified that both of my eyes would be conducting 9 volts across them if I weren't careful. ^.^; However, with proper lamination, there is no danger, and I barely even felt the eyes giving off heat, much less electricity.

To pattern the eyes properly, I made a paper mock-up first.
Eye Pattern
This was extremely important, as I had to be able to see enough to move around, but I also wanted the eyes to have correct placement on my head. It took a few tries, but I finally settled on a pattern.

Once I had everything cut out of the EL sheet, we bought a mask.
The mask was a fluke, really. Originally I had been intending to wear the eyes over my face, which was to be painted black. However, we decided that, for kicks, we'd take a look in the mask section of Jo-Anns. Lo and Behold, there was one one the shelf that bore a close resemblance to our Sora, so we took it home, and I coated it in three layers of black to prevent it from chipping.
Once we got the eyes behind it, we knew it was a success.
Mask and Eyes

Here is a photo of the exposed electronics, as per the schematic above:
Eyes
You can see the little black inverter, the cut down EL sheet, and the place where the 9V Battery attatches. The inverter does give off a high-pitched whine while opperating, which is annoying at first but quickly fades into the background. From what we've researched, this is a normal occurance. Not long after taking this picture, I hand-sewed the eyes into the mask(much like I did with attaching the zipper to the shoes, above), and we were ready for showtime!

Last edited by Saeru : 09-04-2008 at 04:56 PM. Reason: Update
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Unread 05-19-2007, 10:42 PM   #3
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How to make your costume smoke...

...without catching on fire.

Making a costume with glowing bits is very exciting, don't get me wrong.
But I'm not the first person to use lighting in cosplay. I DID want to be the first to use smoke.
Well, I'm probably not the first. >.> There are little tricks and devices that I'm sure are out there, but I've not ever seen them. I'd like to see them, if you know of any.
For the purposes of this thread, this is what I have discovered and learned and researched, and am continuing to find out more and more each day. ^.^ This is what I did, to make a costume smoke.

Smoking Reference
Because Anti-Form Sora DOES smoke, and mostly from his hands. Its one of the TOTALLY COOL things about him.
(Don't get me wrong. I really don't like Sora. Perhaps that is why Anti-Form is so appealing...if Sora were to get trapped that way, I would be right pleased.)

But anyhow! Onward to the actual doings-of.

What I started with was this:
Zero Toys Products
These toys are an immense amount of fun. They used to be sold at a local surplus store not far from where I live, but said store had long since sold out of them. So I went looking and voila! A website! To begin with, I ordered two of their mini zero blasters.
Mini Zero Blasters
And promptly dismantled them. There is a tiny schematic there, if you can read it. The concept was wonderfully simple and easy to understand: a 4.5 volt power source delivered enough current through a resistor to warm up said resistor, and thanks to the design of said resistor, fluid could be pumped through it, heated up, and vaporized. Hence why it is called a 'vapor generator.' But the small little generators in the mini blasters didn't quite vaporize enough smoke for me, so I bought the biggest thing I could:
The Wizard Stick
This stick pumped out vapor like mad.

I was lucky enough to obtain two completely untouched 'Wizard Stick' vapor generators from the wonderful men at Zero toys, and so, with the most difficult task accomplished, I set to work on my own design of a completely enclosed system that would allow me to pump the fluid through without looking obvious.

What I came up with is this:
Bracelet Schematic!

To start out with, I needed a circular frame of the correct diameter to fit into my glove. A small rubbermaid lid ended up being perfect, so I cut it to the correct shape and started drilling holes as per my schematic. I chopped up the top to fit my switch into, and made sure that the holes were alligned to the generator.
Assembling...

Using two watercolor tubes, I drilled a hole through the top just big enough for a 1/16th(Inner Diameter) tube to be stuck through. I then glued said tube into the lid, and stuck the other end onto the vapor generator.
Further assembling...

I made a small pouch for a 9v battery to fit into, and sewed it onto the actual bracelet. The bracelet itself is made out of two layers: a thick sheet of heat-absorbing mylar, covered in flame-resistant fabric. I wanted to make certain that the generator, which(living up to its name) produced a LOT of heat, didn't get too close to my skin. Many, many more holes were drilled into the edges of the frame so that it could be sewn onto the bracelet, and wires were cut down to be glued in place. Since I didn't have access to a soldering gun (and also since I dislike soldering guns for the same reason I dislike hot-glue guns) I purchased a small tube of 'wire glue,' which is inexpensive and effective at sticking wire connections together.

When all was said and done, it looked a lot like what I had intended:
Finished Bracelet-Side View
Finished Bracelet-Top View

There is one setback throughout this process that I would like to note, and that is the battery. For some reason which I am not entirely certain(I must be a pretty pathetic engineer), three 3v lithium batteries in series would not pull enough current to heat up the generator. I would have much prefered to use them, as they took up SIGNIFICANTLY less space in the design, but since they just didn't work, there was nothing I could do.
ANOTHER thing to note, is that the larger vapor generator from the Wizard Stick has a max tolerance of 9v across it and 1A through it (the actual resistance of the generator is very small). This means that if you purchase a GOOD 9v battery(such as energizer or Duracell), you end up with a too-efficient battery that gives TOO much power and blows out the circuit. You have to get a crappy generic 9v battery that is really around 8.7v, if you want to be on the safe side. ^.^

Another thing to note is that the vapor generators are extremely delicate, and break easily, which is why there is a protective frame around them. I have noticed, however, that even after breaking they will continue to function.

To anyone that might try this, I do recommend EXTREME caution, but it is possible, and it is a VERY cool effect. ^.^

Last edited by Saeru : 05-20-2007 at 01:01 AM.
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Unread 05-19-2007, 11:17 PM   #4
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Cool project. Final product looks sweet. I think it actually looks so much better with the mask than it ever would without it, just hides everything so well.

I think I'm one of the few (maybe only?) electrical engineer who will read this so don't worry about the explanations lol.

I'm curious to hear about the smoke now. (Which you are currently writing)
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Unread 05-20-2007, 01:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Evangelou View Post
Cool project. Final product looks sweet. I think it actually looks so much better with the mask than it ever would without it, just hides everything so well.

I think I'm one of the few (maybe only?) electrical engineer who will read this so don't worry about the explanations lol.

I'm curious to hear about the smoke now. (Which you are currently writing)
I certainly wasn't expecting the first person to post to be an electrical engineer. ^.^ But I'm very glad you approve. The smoke tutorial is now up!
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Unread 05-20-2007, 01:51 AM   #6
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I'm an EE student, I will admit your capacitor explanation made me laugh. (Try putting that into ohm's law!)

I'm really interested in the fog/smoke, because the effect would be awesome!

What about a shoe tutorial with the clown shoes?
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Unread 05-20-2007, 11:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy Flower View Post
I'm an EE student, I will admit your capacitor explanation made me laugh. (Try putting that into ohm's law!)

I'm really interested in the fog/smoke, because the effect would be awesome!

What about a shoe tutorial with the clown shoes?
If you click the very topmost link, it takes you to a shoe tutorial. ^.^ I'll make sure to put that in, thanks!
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Unread 05-20-2007, 12:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy Flower View Post
I'm an EE student, I will admit your capacitor explanation made me laugh. (Try putting that into ohm's law!)

I'm really interested in the fog/smoke, because the effect would be awesome!

What about a shoe tutorial with the clown shoes?
There's a tutorial for that on the page he linked in the first post: This Way

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saeru
For some reason which I am not entirely certain(I must be a pretty pathetic engineer), three 3v lithium batteries in series would not pull enough current to heat up the generator. I would have much prefered to use them, as they took up SIGNIFICANTLY less space in the design, but since they just didn't work, there was nothing I could do.
As for why the 3 lithium batteries didn't work. The thing is it depends on the batteries themselves. Lithium batteries are typically designed to run electronics like cell phones, cameras etc because the voltage doesn't drop below 3 volts when used where as nicad/NiMH/alkaline batteries drop in voltage as you use the energy stored in them. So while two alkaline AA batteries will have 3.0V to start after using some of the energy stored in them the voltage will drop to more like 2.6V and most electronic circuits run on logic that needs 3 volts to run. This is why the energizer lithium batteries will last longer in a digital camera than alkaline, but also why you wont notice much difference between the two when used in a flashlight because the flashlight isn't as sensitive to the drop in voltage.

Most lithium batteries aren't really designed to source current, or I should say most you'll find at RadioShack type places or around your house aren't. That ability depends on the physical/chemical make up of the battery. There are batteries used for R/C cars/planes/boats which can source more if you want to later change it.

Some places that carry them:
http://www.battlepacks.com
http://www.bphobbies.com
http://www.towerhobbies.com

You might want to look into this as they are rechargable and would be cheaper/easier in the long run but you would need a lithium charger.

Though one other thing to note about lithium batteries is fully charged they have a voltage of about 3.4v so three of them in series would be 10.2v which is probably more than what you wanted for the vaporizer.

Jeeze all that from a question in passing
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Unread 05-20-2007, 01:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Evangelou View Post



Some places that carry them:
http://www.battlepacks.com
http://www.bphobbies.com
http://www.towerhobbies.com

You might want to look into this as they are rechargable and would be cheaper/easier in the long run but you would need a lithium charger.

Though one other thing to note about lithium batteries is fully charged they have a voltage of about 3.4v so three of them in series would be 10.2v which is probably more than what you wanted for the vaporizer.

Jeeze all that from a question in passing
No, dude! Thats exactly the explanation that I was looking for. I didn't have nearly enough battery experience to understand why the lithiums weren't functioning, but now that you've explained it, I think I'm going to take a look at adapting those into my circuit. o.o
Many thanks!
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Unread 05-20-2007, 02:42 PM   #10
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Well in that case I'll add a little more for you

You said it pulled about 1 amp at 9 volts, this would mean it's roughly 9 ohms of resistance in the generator. The part that may be a problem is that a standard li-poly is about 3.4-3.2 volts when charged. this will give about 10 volts with three. So it will pull 1.1 amps (10volts/9ohms), now this should just cause it to be a little hotter when running but I'm not sure if it's enough to matter much, probably not.

The way rechargable li-poly's are measured is with two main features: the capacity in amp hours and the current capability. So based on the fact you're drawing 1.1 amps out of it you can go from there. So a 1.1 Ah battery (or more likely written 1100 mAh) will last for one hour when fully charged with you drawing 1.1 amps, makes sense huh? Current capability is measured in C's which is in terms of the capacity of the pack. If you have a 500 mAh pack with a 10C capability it will be able to supply up to 5 amps. Now note that if you were to pull 5 amps from it constantly it would drain from fully charged in 6 minutes (1 hour / 10C).

No clue if you knew any of that already but I figured someone would benifit from it. Feel free to pm me or just post any other questions.
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Unread 05-20-2007, 03:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Evangelou View Post
Well in that case I'll add a little more for you

You said it pulled about 1 amp at 9 volts, this would mean it's roughly 9 ohms of resistance in the generator. The part that may be a problem is that a standard li-poly is about 3.4-3.2 volts when charged. this will give about 10 volts with three. So it will pull 1.1 amps (10volts/9ohms), now this should just cause it to be a little hotter when running but I'm not sure if it's enough to matter much, probably not.

The way rechargable li-poly's are measured is with two main features: the capacity in amp hours and the current capability. So based on the fact you're drawing 1.1 amps out of it you can go from there. So a 1.1 Ah battery (or more likely written 1100 mAh) will last for one hour when fully charged with you drawing 1.1 amps, makes sense huh? Current capability is measured in C's which is in terms of the capacity of the pack. If you have a 500 mAh pack with a 10C capability it will be able to supply up to 5 amps. Now note that if you were to pull 5 amps from it constantly it would drain from fully charged in 6 minutes (1 hour / 10C).

No clue if you knew any of that already but I figured someone would benifit from it. Feel free to pm me or just post any other questions.

I've had a difficult time pegging the ohms on it. My multimeter won't get a good fix since its such a small amount, so it could be anywhere between a few ohms and about 50 ohms. If I could get a good peg, it'd help me solve a lot of problems, but since I can't, its been trial and error estimation. x-x
I can't let it run on more than an amp, because at that point it gets much too hot and starts glowing and sputtering and making all sorts of noises that are generally very scary. But I could probably stick a resistor in series with it if I can snag a low enough one to pull a bit less current, and then the lithium's you suggest would be perfect. ^.^
And yes, that was also VERY helpful. ^.^
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Unread 05-20-2007, 04:59 PM   #12
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This is awesome! Very advanced and detailed...I espically love the smoking one :3
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Unread 05-20-2007, 05:57 PM   #13
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If you want to calculate the resistance of it you can do so by using your multimeter to read both the voltage the battery and the current draw and use ohm's law to calculate it (V = IR ie. R = V/I). Should give you the proper value even for small resistances because the voltages and currents are large enough to measure accurately. ( Do make sure your voltmeter has a setting for measuring 1 Amp though, most will have a seperate terminal you have to put the probe in for doing large current measurements)

Not sure if you know how to measure current with a voltmeter or not so I'll post it for general reference. You need to place the volt meter in series with the battery and the generator. Basically instead of just having a wire go between the two you will have the voltmeter act as the wire, this way the current goes through the voltmeter so it can be measured.
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Unread 05-20-2007, 06:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Evangelou View Post
If you want to calculate the resistance of it you can do so by using your multimeter to read both the voltage the battery and the current draw and use ohm's law to calculate it (V = IR ie. R = V/I). Should give you the proper value even for small resistances because the voltages and currents are large enough to measure accurately. ( Do make sure your voltmeter has a setting for measuring 1 Amp though, most will have a seperate terminal you have to put the probe in for doing large current measurements)

Not sure if you know how to measure current with a voltmeter or not so I'll post it for general reference. You need to place the volt meter in series with the battery and the generator. Basically instead of just having a wire go between the two you will have the voltmeter act as the wire, this way the current goes through the voltmeter so it can be measured.

*nods* The issue that I'm having is that when connected in a circuit, the voltage/amperage/ohms(whichever I happen to be measuring) fluctuates. I've been able to tune it to -close- to the value, but it won't let me get as exact as I need for calculating this fine a resistance. However, I'm going to be trying again with it as soon as I get the new batteries. I'll post up how it goes. ^.^
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Unread 06-12-2007, 02:09 PM   #15
Zabuz
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Let me just ask you is it is on this page : http://www.luminousfilm.com/specials.htm
you found what you needed?

I've been looking for Electroluminescent sheeting in some European sites but I couldn’t find any xX'
Soo... If you should know any other site that's closer/in to scandinavia/europe tell me ^^^''b
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