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Unread 10-31-2007, 10:28 AM   #1
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Question Glowing Faceted Crystals

Hey all. I've been cruising the forums but haven't quite found what I'm looking for on this project. I'm working on a World of Warcraft costume (namely a Draenei shaman) for next year's GenCon. As a part of it, I'm going to be carrying a shield and a mace, both of which feature glowing, 3-dimentional, faceted purple crystals. I've attached pics of both items for reference below.

So, my questions are these:

1) How do I make the crystals? I'm thinking I can just carve the shapes and them cast them out of clear or tinted resin. I saw a process for this in my Propbuilder's Handbook, where they made resing crystals for a chandelier. does that make sense?

2) How do I get them to light up? This encompasses both the best light source and how the heck do I wire it?

My initial thought was to get EL wire and cast the crystals around it, so that the wire would be encased in the crystal. Would that be bright enough? I'm also concerned that that light would be too concentrated, created a line down the center of the crystal rather than a diffused glow effect. The good news is the crytals are mounted to weapons, however I am concerned about concealing the electronics apparatus, especially in the mace.

Any ideas you folks have would be greatly appreciated!

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Unread 10-31-2007, 01:46 PM   #2
Join Date: May 2006
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I first thought of using normal acrilic plastic to carve or build the crystals, then lighten them from inside with really brigth white or blue LEDs. The color can be too in the acrylic itself or added with clear paints. The wiring for LEDs is very simple, most likely you would only need to put a resistor in series with the LEDs, a switch and the batteries.

This may be of interest: http://unclean.org/howto/led_circuit.html

The EL wire is nice but is more expensive and may need special circuits to drive them.

If you cast your own crystals, you may use some powder mixed in the resin to make it not fully translucid, but diffused. That would need some experimentaion to find what works and what not. Out of the blue, baking soda comes to mind (i've seen it mixed with CA glue, so i guess it may work in resin too.)

Other option is to find a resin that cures as you want it to. I've never seen such a thing, but it never hurts to ask in the shop you get your resin from if there is some additive to mix with regular resin or a resin that cures diffuse on itself.

And the other thing that comes to mind are those spray cans that simulate frosting or grinding in glass. You could use it to diffuse the glow in your crystals too.
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Unread 11-01-2007, 08:15 AM   #3
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If you cast the crystals, since they'll be faceted, put the lights behind it. The lights will show up through the resin as long as they're bright enough and it'll probably make a nice effect
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Unread 11-02-2007, 10:39 AM   #4
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Seconding the putting of lights behind the crystals. When I cast a wire inside my dagger it still looked like a glowing wire afterwards.

You may want to try casting glowpowders though. They're not too bright during the day but charge up for a nice glow in the dark effect.

For something permanently strong though put lights behind your crystals. The wedding aisle at walmart in the craft department has lights that are just a bulb and battery that turn on with a push meant to go on cakes. These things are VERY tiny. Like thumbnail sized. They should slip in your prop easily enough.
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