Wings lit up and being worn and closer detail
were made for the Secret
Garden Party Festival in 2009 and proved popular. They are largely made
sheet and tube, and use electroluminescent (EL) wire powered from a
inverter for the lighting.
started off by sourcing the parts-
key components include:
Pink edge transmission acrylic- Trylon
Ltd (see links)
Clear acrylic tube- Trylon Ltd
Acrylic adhesive- Trylon Ltd
Hinges- Craftics parts from Tap
Pink Lycra- Ebay
'Neon' flourescent tights- New Look
Electroluminescent wire and inverter-
Miscellaneous parts from stock
started by drawing out the wing
shapes in CAD, primarily so it could be reproduced, but this could
done by hand. Thee upper and lower shapes were then transferred onto
the shape cutout using a jigsaw. Care was needed in the design to
curves were kept 'flowing'. After sanding, these templates were fitted
offcut of blockboard. A small piece of MDF was fixed at one corner.
arranged so that it would snugly hold the acrylic tube to the template.
the two templates had been created
I was able to shape the tube to the wing shape by gently heating the
a hot air gun and bending round the former. The tube was held in place
cooled, and then trimmed. This was repeated for the four wings of the
The backboard was made
pieces by cutting and drilling the edge transmission sheet, again based
on a template laid out in CAD to make sure everything fitted. The two
side pieces were attached to the central section using an acrylic hinge
cemented in place. A small gap was left, held whilst curing with a
couple of thin nails. The hinges are needed for two reasons- the
acrylic tubes forming the wing shapes are fairly brittle and vulnerable
being stuck out from the body, so the hinge adds a degree of protection
if they are knocked. More importantly, the flap in the way wings should!
next step proved the most difficult part- connecting up the EL wire. I
won't go into details on how to solder it as there are some good
tutorials on Instructables, but suffice to say you need a very steady
hand, good eyesight and good lighting. In future projects I would
probably buy it preterminated as it took me over two hours to make the
two joints. They key to making it work for this project was
initially cutting over length and trimming back when finished. I cut
the four lengths required to feed through the acrylic tubes and spliced
them together at one end, whilst connecting to red and black flexible
wire. I then fed them through the acrylic tube, using a drop of washing
up liquid to lubricate it (I couldn't get it to feed otherwise). Once
fed through, and the excess washing up liquid wiped off, the wires wer
cut to length and tested, before securing into the tube (and insulating
at the cut end) with a dob of hot melt glue.
four acyrilc tubes were fitted to the backplate with p-clips. This is a
functional, but not particularly neat solution that I would think about
redoing if I find another excuse to use them. The two sets of wires
coming from the tubes were terminated together to the EL inverter which
is held to the backplate using cable ties.
cover for the inverter is made from another piece of the acrylic, and
mounted using 4 pieces of acrylic rod, parted off to length and sanded
up on the lathe. A central hole was drilled and tapped in one end
ofeach to suit an M5 screw. The other end was cemented onto the over
plate. This enables the cover to be removed for changing the inverter
batteries (not that i've had to yet!).
wings were covered with nylon cut from two paris of 'neon' tights- I'm
sure someone more aristic could decorate these further.
final part of the package was to make straps. This was done by cutting
three strips approximately an inch wide and 1.5m long from a piece of
pink, shiny nylon lycra. These strips were plaited together under a
small amount of tension to make a braided rope. The finished rope was
then simply tied through holes in the backplate. This proves to be
remarkably comfortable even after wearing them for a few hours, and
dancing in them.
finsihed item stood up well to abuse. I found the EL wire really wasn't
bright enough until after dark, but that could be partially solved by
using an alternative, brighter colour. They resulted in a lot
comments, including a few "Where can I get them from?", so I was happy
with the outcome.
blobs on the back were added as a later addition. They consist of a
small piece of veroboard with a superflux LED and dropper
resistor and a couple of M3 screws passed through the board.
tails are taken out to connect to a small battery pack and switch. The
Veroboard assembly was potted in a acrylic jewellery making mould to
give the domed shape using a mix of clear silicone bathroom sealant and
flourescent paint pigment. This means when switched on they glow pretty
Glow Eyed Skull
two 1" acrylic balls were drilled to about half their depth so that the
LEDs would just fit in. Two LEDs were then wired up with a 470 Ohm
resister and covered in heatshrink. The two wires were spliced together
and connected to a length of two core wire.
After testing, the LEDs were secured with dab of hot melt glue. The
balls were then secured to a 'Bucky' skull from 'The Anatomical Chart
haunted house light unit. 3 Ultrabright LEDs are mounted to a small
piece of strip board, along with 3 470 Ohm dropper resisters to be able
to run from 12V. Connection is via a length of 2 core flexible 'bell
wire' . The board is secured in a small PVC pipe end cap using hot melt
adhesive. I will probably use bottle caps when I make a few more as
they will be lighter and smaller. This one is green and acts
as small spot.
I built this pair of speakers about 13 years ago. They still form
the main part of the hifi. Drivers are 10" PA ones from Terralec along with
Piezo horns and are rated at 150W continuous. They are loud (and heavy)! They
weren't cheap to build, but were much better value than what was available at
the time. The enclosures are made from MDF completly to my own
I was really proud of these when I built them, they sound pretty
good, with plenty of Bass.
For years I ran these on an Amp pulled out of a skip, until the
volume pot finally died.