Cool Cap Engineer

Engineering by an anime nerd

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Projects: El Wire Jacket

Sorry for the lack of updates guys. Senior year of engineering college is definitely not a year for fun. Anyway, I had to drop one of my classes, so now I have a lot more free time now than before. I do not know how long this free time is going to last, but I mind as well enjoy it while it lasts. Anyway, on to the cool little item I worked on.

One thing I realized about myself is that I work better when I’m given a problem to solve. One of the problems I was faced with was “…. what am I going as for Halloween?” It’s a stupid problem, but for a person like me, it was a problem nevertheless. I remembered last year that I wanted to create a Daft Punk helmet with a Tron outfit so that way I could improve my social status for the school. I know it’s a petty reason, but it’s still a motivating factor.  However, I realized that making the helmet would be extremely difficult since I had to figure out how to fit the LED matrix, the controller, and the power inside the helmet. So, I scrapped the Daft Punk helmet idea, and decided to go with a Tron-ish style costume.

Left side of the El Wire Jacket.

Like I said before, I wanted the jacket to be similar to Tron without the glowing disk. Initially  I laid out my El-wire on my Jacket using standard masking tape. After I was satisfied with the pattern, I went to work. I wanted to secure the jacket in a non-messy way, so I decided I wanted to sow the El-wire onto the jacket using fishing line. My initial attempt failed since I tried to use 50lb fishing line, which was too thick to use, to secure the jacket. After running back to my local Walmart, I realized the 8lb fishing will do. So the funny story about the jacket is that it took me 3 hours to work on the project. The main reason why it took me such a long time to finish is because I suck at sowing. Seriously, it took me 2 hours just to stitch the right side of the jack (see above). However, once I learned “Wow, maybe if I do longer stitches  it’ll take a shorter time,” I finished to project within an hour. Although I brought 4 battery powered inverters from Sparkfun, I only used one since one of the battery inverters can power 2 strips of El-wire. Although I finished the jacket, I still need to work on the pants for the costume. I should be able to order the parts for the El-wire pants this Friday.

The full jacket done

Out of all the projects I worked on over the years, this one is currently the coolest and the easiest to do. I’ll probably post an el wire tutorial on the site one of these days, but I want to learn how to solder the El-wire before I post it (the jacket was finished without any soldering what so ever).