Neon signs are attractive, but require specialised tools and skills for their manufacture. If you don’t have time to learn glass blowing and source the right gasses, you’re pretty much out of luck. However, EL wire can give a similar aesthetic, and with an off-the-shelf power supply it is easy to hook up and get working. [sjm4306] combined this with 3D printing for a quick and easy build.
The project starts by selecting a Nintendo 64 neon sign as a basis for the design. An image of the sign was traced in Inkscape, and an outline imported into CAD software. From there, a frame was designed with posts for the EL wire to wrap around, and holes for it to pass through to the back of the sign. The frame was then 3D printed, and laced with EL wires in the requisite colors.
The final result is impressive, with the EL wire serving as a great small-scale simulacrum of neon tubes. It’s a construction method that should scale as large as your 3D printed assemblies can go, too. If you need to get to grips with how it works, there’s a tutorial available for working with EL wire. Video after the break.
Continue reading “EL Wire Makes For A Great Faux-Neon Sign”
Sometimes a simple idea can yield fantastic results. A few runs of LED strips fastened to a black hoody and sweatpants and just like that…a LED stick person costume for Halloween. The creator of the “Glowy Zoey” [Royce] originally put together some glow in the dark stick person suits to stand out when hitting the slopes at night. Now he’s taken that simple idea for a costume and made a small business out of it.
“I had a lot of extra parts laying around. I gathered everything up and got to work soldering.” – Royce Hutain
The suits themselves consist of button snaps and ribbon loops sewn into a pattern that routes the LED strips around the jacket’s hood and down each arm. To make the lighting effect pop, an all black plastic mask is used to cover the wearer’s face. It wouldn’t be that much a stretch to substitute EL wire in place of the LED strips if one were so inclined. We’d wager a number of you could pull this off straight out of the junkbox.
The Glowy Zoey stick figure suits even received some mainstream television press a few years ago when they were featured on Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night show. Note that visiting the Glowy Zoey website may take you back a bit since it features one of those autoplay jingles that were so prevalent in the Web 1.0 days. In fact the same jingle is used in the video below from their YouTube channel:
Continue reading “LED Stick Person Costume Lights Up The Night”
[fool]’s entry in the Hackaday Prize competition is a modular and configurable lighting system the purpose of which is to assist seniors and others with limited mobility navigate safely at home. For [fool], this means the quiet steady hum of electroluminescent panels and wire. EL stuff is notoriously tricky to power, as it only operates on AC. The MoonLITE project is the answer to the problem of an easy to use EL power supply. The goal is to create a 5 watt, quiet, wearable EL power supply that outputs 100V at 100Hz.
One of the reasons why [fool] is interested in EL materials is that it can also turned into a touch sensor. This has obvious applications in lighting, and especially in assistive technologies. The MoonLITE project is based around [fool]’s Whoa Board that turns EL wires and panels into not only touch-sensitive lights, but also analog switches that can control basically anything. This unique capability of lighting doubling as a sensor offers the opportunity to make light-up EL grab bars for a senior’s bedside, for instance. He or she is going to be touching it anyway when getting up—why not add light as well as stability?
This is an especially cool project that brings something to the table we don’t really see much of. You can check out a video of the project below, complete with example of EL panels being used as buttons.
Continue reading “Hackaday Prize Entry: Touch Sensitive Power Supplies For EL Panels”
Neon tube signs radiate an irresistible charm, which has been keeping them alive to this day. The vintage, orange glow is hard to substitute with modern means of illumination, but never trust a neon sign that you didn’t forge yourself. [NPoole] shows you how to build remarkably realistic faux neon tube signs from plastic tubing and EL wire.
After sourcing some polycarbonate tubing from a pet shop, where it’s more commonly used in aquariums, [NPoole] simply inserted some orange EL wire into the tubing. He heated one end of the tubing with a heat gun and twisted it off, sealing one end of the tube and welding the EL wire in place. [Npoole] then went on bending his neon tube to shape, repeatedly heating it up with the heat gun, bending it carefully, and blowing into the open end of the tube to prevent kinking of the tube.
Continue reading “Forge Your Own Neon Signs With EL Wire”
If you thought glowy wearables have had their time, guess again! After a few years designing on the side, [Josh] and [his dad] have created a nifty feature for EL wire: they’ve made it touch sensitive. But, of course, rather than simply show it off to the world, they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to put touch-sensitive El Wire in the hands of any fashion-inspired electronics enthusiast.
El Wire (and tape) are composed of two conducting wires separated by a phosphor layer. (Starting to sound like a capacitor?) While the details are, alas, closed for now, the interface is Arduino compatible, making it wide open to a general audience of enthusiasts without needing years of muscled programming experience. The unit itself, dubbed the Whoaboard, contains the EL Wire drivers for four channels at about 10ft of wire length.
El Wire has always been a crowd favorite around these parts (especially in Russia). We love that [Josh’s] Whoaboard takes a conventional material that might already be lying around your shelves and transforms it into a fresh new interface. With touch-sensitivity, we can’t wait to see the community start rolling out everything from costumes to glowy alien cockpits.
Have a look at [Josh’s] creation after the break!
Continue reading “EL Wire Gets Some Touching After Effects”
Our favorite Russian mad scientists, [Kreosan], have shocked us yet again with another terribly ill-advised, super bad idea. Home made EL wire that runs off of mains voltage.
From the picture it looks a lot like EL wire, doesn’t it? Well, it’s actually just a nickel chromium wire hooked up to the main AC supply in their…. uh, testing house? Doesn’t look like they live there, so we have to wonder why it still has power. Anyway, yeah, they made a restive load using the wire, and connected it directly to the panel. So besides the fire hazard, you could also get electrocuted!
For house decorations it’s a great way to warm the place up, and it might even help start a fire if you’re lucky!
Continue reading “DIY Electroluminescent Wire, Russian Style”
[Bob] and [Aubrey] run the System Source Computer Museum a little north of Baltimore, Maryland. For an exhibit, they thought a visual representation of digital logic and came up with a two-bit binary adder. Yes, it’s just a full adder and exactly what you would find somewhere in the second or third chapter of any digital logic textbook. The way they’re illustrating how a full adder works is the killer feature here: they’re using EL wire for all of the wires connecting the gates.
The full adder is implemented with an Arduino Mega, but the interface is the real show here. On the left side of the display there are four illuminated toggle switches that show virtual electrons flowing through EL wires, through gates and finally out to a seven-segment display. The EL wires are controlled with an EL Escudo Dos shield – a good thing, since there are a lot of lines between switches, gates, and outputs.
You can check out [Aubrey]’s demo video that also shows off how they built it below. If you’re around Baltimore, you can check out the display at the museum.
Continue reading “Visualizing Digital Logic With EL Wire”