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View Full Version : How to make a glowing sword? (Flamberge from ToS)


Shinigamia
02-06-2011, 06:50 PM
Ello-ho, all! I'm planning on making a Flamberge to go with my Kratos Judgment costume (from Tales of Symphonia). I've seen a lot of excellent Flamberges while wandering around on this site and the general internet, but never one that's lit up and glowing. I'm thinking of something that would glow noticeably through shaded plastic (Plexiglass? It seems rather expensive and heavy though). I'd put the lights in between the two and hide the battery in the handle/guard, though I'm not so sure how I would get the plastic to curve and connect at the edges.

I found this: http://forums.thecustomsabershop.com/showthread.php?12-EL-blade-tutorial which is a tutorial on how to make a light saber type thing.
I've also found this site: http://www.frozencpu.com/cat/l1/g6/Lighting.html?id=x3uILjdf for buying LEDs and things for reasonable amounts of money (unfortunately some of their red lights are out of stock).

The three terms I've seen thrown around are LEDs (which appear to be lots of little lights strung together) and EL (electroluminescent) tape...which is like glowing tape? How strong is the glow? And finally EL Paneling, which appears to be glowing paper (can it be cut?) There's also EL wire...which again, I have no idea how strong the lightning on it is. All of this I've been able to find on Ebay, though I'm guessing other sites might sell cheaper. I went to Home Depot to inquire about the stuff and they didn't have any clue what I was talking about, though.

The sword itself looks like this (in case the attachment doesn't work) - http://i51.tinypic.com/iykhmw.jpg
http://i472.photobucket.com/albums/rr86/Sacred-Penance/Flamberge.jpg
http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20080926001513/aselia/images/thumb/9/90/Lloyd_ToW.jpg/150px-Lloyd_ToW.jpg

Also (do pardon me, I've never made a weapon before XD) would the guard be made out of duct tape and wire framing or something? Handle out of wood or foam?

Yeah...XD I've got a lot of questions, and thank you times a million to anyone who has any suggestions ^^

saberslash
02-06-2011, 07:58 PM
http://electroluminescence-inc.com/whatisEL.htm Thats a good overview of the EL items. However, one idea, which works well for Flash Photography and doesn't need electricity is reflective tape, like what's used on road signs and emergency vests. This tape reflects a a good amount of light and will appear to glow under a flash.

scree
02-07-2011, 02:55 PM
ahhhh if you've never made a weapon before I would suggest skipping trying to get it to glow. just cause trying to install some kind of lighting is an added pain... Give the reflective tape a try that might give your prop a cool glowy kinda look with the least amount of pain. there'are a lot of sword making tutorials under the "cosplay tutorial" section of the forums what I do is read around and modify what others have done to fit my need. my personal preference is to make my weapons out of expanding foam or pink insulation foam. but straight card board works pretty well too. try this method out its nice and easy for beginners: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE7Gl_F1AEk

edit: You could also try using florescent paint to give it a glow look.

CanisPanthera
02-07-2011, 07:31 PM
Aah glowing swords are a pain! I made the Lionheart gunblade from Final Fantasy VIII and it was pretty rough. Here's what it looked like in the end, in glowing form:
http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2395717/

I had initially imagined it quite differently than how it turned out, for more of the sword to glow up. But it didn't lol. That's EL Tape inside there. Two strips of it, glued back to back so it would glow on both sides, with the wiring and battery concealed within the handle. Unfortunately plexiglass can't really bend so I couldn't get it to close up; it ended up having a layer of space between the two plexiglass blades, so I focused on showing it from the side while cosplaying. You can see more construction pics in my gallery. It took a couple months. Most of the time was spent scoring the plexiglass over and over. Huge pain. Despite its inaccuracies and my unsatisfactory with it in my typical perfectionist attitude towards my cosplay work, it was very well received.

Now all, that being said, I highly recommend not making this your first prop. Make it eventually for sure, but start yourself off my making some simpler things to give yourself a feel for prop making and a handle on the materials. Things can get very overwhelming. I definitely lacked the experience I needed to make the sword what I wanted it to be at the time, and mistakes can be expensive. So make a sword or 2, maybe some shuriken, things you might not even have a costume for, just to give yourself some experience. It would be particularly good if you use the same materials you intend to make the final out of on the smaller scale of practice weapons, so you know how to handle them when you approach this project.

If you're interested in the reflective tape technique, I've seen good results with it though I haven't tried it myself. Of course you'll only see the fruits of your effort in the photographs. There's something much more satisfying about seeing something light up on its own, for me anyway.

Also, from the pictures you posted, it looks like most of the glow is on the rims of the blade. You might try adhering EL wire to the rims instead of having the center glow. Just a thought. Hope that helps!

Shinigamia
04-25-2011, 09:56 PM
Hello again!

Thank you all for your suggestions. Even though it was my first prop, I did end up making the glowing Flamberge for the convention, although some parts (the handle!) ended up being a rather lacking because I strapped the battery awkwardly on and had to hurry like crazy with the paint job since I finished it the night before the convention.
CanisPanthera, I looked a lot at your amazing Lionheart for ideas, thank you especially ^^ I ended up using plexiglas too, although instead of cutting it manually I used a convenient jigsaw I found in my basement. XD I took a lot of pictures of the in-progress work so I could slap together some sort of tutorial for others. I ended up soldering together strips of white LEDs back to back along the sides of the blade and then painting the blade over with paint. The LEDs were really bright and look awesome in pictures, especially in dark lighting (although in bright light outside it's hard to tell that the sword is glowing). It's really easy to see from far away, too in big rooms. The negative part about using LEDs though was that up close you can see the individual light spots from the diodes, which was kinda nasty.

Anyway, here are a few pictures to show the end result. One in-progress, one in darker light (it really makes a difference!), and one in brighter lighting.
(Ignore the 2007 date, my camera is stupid).
http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac146/thalirin/100_2753.jpg
http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac146/thalirin/wi4i85.png
http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac146/thalirin/217489_194449750599263_100001027174834_531431_2274 736_n.jpg

One of the fun things is that when off (there's a switch on the battery) you can't tell the sword has lights inside it, so I surprised a lot of people XD

Garen
05-03-2011, 02:45 AM
Holy crap, that was your first prop? It came out awesome.

KratosAurion28
05-03-2011, 04:07 PM
@Shinigamia Talking about nicely done prop! *w*

Undertaker^^
07-22-2011, 08:52 PM
Holy Mother of &#@(&^ what the....that thing is beyond wicked...thats so cool! ^^

Chime
05-14-2013, 06:34 AM
Hello again!

Thank you all for your suggestions. Even though it was my first prop, I did end up making the glowing Flamberge for the convention, although some parts (the handle!) ended up being a rather lacking because I strapped the battery awkwardly on and had to hurry like crazy with the paint job since I finished it the night before the convention.
CanisPanthera, I looked a lot at your amazing Lionheart for ideas, thank you especially ^^ I ended up using plexiglas too, although instead of cutting it manually I used a convenient jigsaw I found in my basement. XD I took a lot of pictures of the in-progress work so I could slap together some sort of tutorial for others. I ended up soldering together strips of white LEDs back to back along the sides of the blade and then painting the blade over with paint. The LEDs were really bright and look awesome in pictures, especially in dark lighting (although in bright light outside it's hard to tell that the sword is glowing). It's really easy to see from far away, too in big rooms. The negative part about using LEDs though was that up close you can see the individual light spots from the diodes, which was kinda nasty.

Anyway, here are a few pictures to show the end result. One in-progress, one in darker light (it really makes a difference!), and one in brighter lighting.
(Ignore the 2007 date, my camera is stupid).
http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac146/thalirin/100_2753.jpg
http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac146/thalirin/wi4i85.png
http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac146/thalirin/217489_194449750599263_100001027174834_531431_2274 736_n.jpg

One of the fun things is that when off (there's a switch on the battery) you can't tell the sword has lights inside it, so I surprised a lot of people XD

Well, this saves me a lot of time trying to figure this shit out myself...

Anyhow, thanks for the info. I've got a Rave to attend in Detroit [DEMF, to be exact]. I'm having custom made clothes [by a taylor, FUCK YES!!!! (yeah... I'm too lazy to do that myself, plus the helmet/hood is a bit complicated and out of my skillset/patience range)].

Tailor... not taylor [see I'm even too lazy to go and correct my initial misspelling].

My costume idea is to take a certain video game character [look at my avatar] and have clothes made that will be kick ass and all to wear at a con; Also made in such a way that when worn out in public to, say, the mall, movies, a club, anywhere where people aren't dressed in costumes, they may stand out but it doesn't look like I'm in some sort of costume.

So, I've designed [by drawing it up] a sketch for a pair of cargo pants and a zip up hoody that greatly resembles Zero from megaman zero. Now I just need a triangular shaped glowing green sword. I may have to make the crystal on his forhead glow as well.

I'm thinking of pvc for the hilt. Plexiglass or whatever transparent plastic for the blade and the led lights inside. Hollow out the solid pvc hilt and inside the mechnism to turn off and on the lights. Then carve the hilt to resemble the hilt on his sword and finally weld the plastic [or just use and epoxy] to the hilt and I have a triangle sword that glows bright green like zero's.

I can do shit I learned in aikido [only more artistically and "dancy" while adding random stuff from soul calibur and megaman zero and just generally rave around with a sword. Rave sword sounds like such a great idea].