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Unread 11-29-2012, 09:53 PM   #1
PeregrineStudio
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Golden Flash of Light from Staff

Hey everybody,

I'm in the process of planning a cosplay (I won't say which - I hope to surprise the world at large with it!) which would require a staff with a light in it. Ideally, at a certain moment (I'm also planning a skit), the light would be off, then flare up and shine very brightly before fading back down to off again, in the course of a few seconds. And when I say very bright, I mean very bright. As bright as possible (while being within reasonable limits of cost and safety).

Does anyone have any ideas on how to proceed with this? Where I can look for lights, what kinds to look for, how to integrate it into a staff?

Thanks in advance!
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Unread 11-30-2012, 02:26 AM   #2
StabbityBlkMage
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It would be helpful to have some reference art or something to work from since the size of what you are building will effectively determine what kind of lights you'll be able to fit into the piece. Since clearly EL wire and most small LED's will not be able to do the trick you will most likely require a good deal of room to fit all of the equipment into the prop to get the amount of candle power you want.
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Unread 11-30-2012, 09:12 AM   #3
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High brightness = heat, size, money, power..
Fading on and off = control system = complexity, money..
Small size = custom circuits, time, money..

If I were going to do it, I'd probably go along these lines-
10 of these Amber LED's at 3.266 each, for $32.66
1 of these constant current PSU's for $19.99
A big battery pack of some sort- 16 AAA batteries or something along those lines. Figure $10 for the pack, $20 for the batteries?
1 of these potentiometers to control the output, $0.84
1 of these knobs for the potentiometer, $4.46
1 of these perfboards to try to fudge some sort of sloppy circuit board, $5.24
Plus tons of wire, solder, glue, flux, patience, steady hands, etc.

Overall you're in roughly the $100 range to do it this way assuming you already have a soldering kit. This setup would let you twist the knob (maybe hidden in a hand grip or something) to bring up the intensity of the LED's, and then back down again.

Even with 10 LED's, it's going to be bright but it's not going to be some sort of blinding beacon. And unless you do a much better job with the mounting of the LED's than what I have in my head, you wouldn't want to leave it on very long- they'll get hot and die.
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Unread 11-30-2012, 09:32 AM   #4
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This is just a random idea..but would an external camera flash do what you need? You'd certainly need to clear it with the Masquerade staff (but even with just using LEDs I'd recommend doing this anyways).
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Unread 11-30-2012, 10:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeregrineStudio View Post
Does anyone have any ideas on how to proceed with this? Where I can look for lights, what kinds to look for, how to integrate it into a staff?
It all depends on how much light, if all you need is about ~100 lumens you can bury a flashlight in the staff aimed at a reflector to spread out the light, use some filters to color the light golden and dim the light over time, or find a flashlight that has a dimmer built in (some headlamps do). ie.

http://www.amazon.com/Coast-HL7-Focu...ad+lamp+dimmer

If you want more light for instance in the 1000 lumen range (roughly equivalent to a 100 watt incadescent bulb) you can some wire up some high-power LEDs that will do that, either yellow or ~2700K "white" and then filter it to golden; mount them in a circle around the staff or use a reflector to spread the light, cover them with a diffuser of some type so they don't blind anyone who looks at it. But you'll need to do a lot of electronics stuff for this, a driver circuit with dimming, a battery, etc. -- you can get pre-made modules but you will still be soldering a lot of wires together -- and it will cost roughly $50. or more if you want to go this route.

I have built plenty of things like this see (1) (2) (3) in this link:
http://accessaccess.deviantart.com/#/d5k9w89

But I would not recommend it unless you have some prior electronic experience (soldering, simple circuits, etc.)

Camera flash is a good idea if all you need is a really bright flash. But not for having something that lights and then dims over a few seconds.
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Unread 11-30-2012, 10:39 AM   #6
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I think an old-school flash cube with a gel or diffuser to color the might be the cheapest, but won't give a slow cooldown like you're looking for. Also, each flash is a one-shot use which is consumed upon firing.

With a Magicube, you wouldn't even need to do any wiring - they can be set off mechanically with a striking pin (e.g. a paperclip).

Downside: Might be hard to find. I can't get to eBay from here but I'd be surprised if there aren't some available there.
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Unread 11-30-2012, 12:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathancarter View Post
I think an old-school flash cube with a gel or diffuser to color the might be the cheapest, but won't give a slow cooldown like you're looking for. Also, each flash is a one-shot use which is consumed upon firing.

With a Magicube, you wouldn't even need to do any wiring - they can be set off mechanically with a striking pin (e.g. a paperclip).

Downside: Might be hard to find. I can't get to eBay from here but I'd be surprised if there aren't some available there.
You can also take apart a disposable camera if you want to get a cheap, relatively easy to find flash.. Just gotta be careful not to touch any of the energized parts, 300V stings a little!
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Unread 12-01-2012, 10:53 AM   #8
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hmmm.... you know, the bulbs Edison created worked exactly like that, slow warm up, very bright, slow cool down. Matter of fact, some of them still exist and are still in use today http://www.centennialbulb.org/

That said, they do actually still manufacture this type for specific purposes, but they may not be small enough for what you want (I'm thinking of stadium lights). You might not need all the circuits & switches, just the right kind of bulb.
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Unread 12-02-2012, 11:09 AM   #9
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The centennial bulb lasts so long because they run it at barely a glow- you could take a regular light bulb from the hardware store and light it up really dim for decades and it wouldn't burn out. Not that it isn't cool. The visible filament lamps they make today are really really inefficient- lots of power, not much light, but they're decorative.

Stadiums use HID lamps, which have a ton of circuitry actually.. but they do make handheld versions. You'd need to figure out a mechanical dowser system or something to make it dim- like a piece of aluminum foil that you can slide in front of the beam.

I kinda want one of those flashlights anyway.

There's also portable video lights you could look into but the shape and cost might not be so great. If it were me, I'd go the route of my first post, with lots of tinkering and soldering!
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Unread 12-02-2012, 05:01 PM   #10
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Sounds like a Loki staff ther OP
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Unread 12-02-2012, 08:13 PM   #11
PeregrineStudio
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Hey all,

Thanks for the creative and helpful replies! I'm already well on my way to working out how this will work.

I've given up on keeping it a secret, so this is what I'm trying to make:

http://quizilla.teennick.com/user_im...3172_full.jpeg
http://s1.zerochan.net/Marik.Ishtar.240.163466.jpg
http://xhikari-tenshix.tripod.com/si...s/maliknew.jpg
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j4...ep54-MRods.jpg

Yes, it's the Millennium Rod from Yu-Gi-Oh, and yes, I'll be taking the audience to the Shadow Realm with me (Marik) and my girlfriend (Bakura). Time permitting, I'll add a similar function to the Millennium Ring as well.

If I need to use something that flashes very quickly, like a camera flash (fantastic idea, those of you who suggested it!) it's not a big deal. I'm more concerned with making sure it's not too SLOW than making sure it's not too FAST.
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Unread 12-02-2012, 11:22 PM   #12
PeregrineStudio
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...is anyone seeing my replies? They seem to keep disappearing. I've replied twice with links to reference pics, but whenever I come back to the thread the replies disappear.

Last edited by PeregrineStudio : 12-02-2012 at 11:25 PM. Reason: added more info
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Unread 12-02-2012, 11:53 PM   #13
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No, I don't see any replies or reference pics. Must be underpants gnomes again.
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Unread 12-03-2012, 04:09 AM   #14
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If you want to buy LEDs for a cheaper price I suggest you try ebay and buy from Chinese sellers. They sell the same products for 1/10 the cost. The only downside is they take a good 2-3 weeks to ship.
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Unread 12-03-2012, 08:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeregrineStudio View Post
...is anyone seeing my replies? They seem to keep disappearing. I've replied twice with links to reference pics, but whenever I come back to the thread the replies disappear.
When I was a new user, none of my posts showed up if they had a hyperlink, a smiley, or any sort of special thing other than plain text. A moderator has to approve those messages, I guess- and in my case it took 3 weeks or so for them to approve my posts... and then they all showed up at once, completely out of order and redundant and everything.
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