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Unread 01-25-2013, 02:08 AM   #1
Adun
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Need help making the blades glow (Tokio Xth Form)

Hey there guys!

I'm still fairly new on prop making, but I am making this costume for an upcoming con within the next couple of months and I was wondering if you guys can help or give me ideas on how I would be able to make his blades glow? Here's a pic of the outfit.

http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs70/f/20...VirusChris.jpg

I'm planning on making the base (The clock all the way down to the handle) out of spray foam and carving it out, but I really want to make the blades glow on the yellow areas.

Do you guys have any ideas? Thank you!
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Unread 01-27-2013, 07:52 PM   #2
djlemma
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Hmmm Millions_Knives just did a video about a very similar sword....

Hopefully not a faux pas to post his link-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsxYV6NfcnE

Basically make the blade out of clear acrylic and put lights in the base, shining on the edge of the acrylic. You might want to use some opaque black material for the patterns on the blade, something like drawer liner I'd think would work. Others may have better ideas on that.
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Unread 01-27-2013, 10:13 PM   #3
Adun
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Hm! That is very interesting the way he inserted the LEDs, the only problem with that is I dont really have the tools to drills small holes like that into the acrylic.

I was thinking of using EL Tape? To highlight the orange parts of the blade, but the problem with that is bending the EL Tapes to those specific shapes. The panels for EL tapes are also very expensive so I was wondering if anyone know a technique to use EL tape to bend to that angle continuously?

Otherwise, any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I'll definitely look into the LEDs though!
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Unread 01-27-2013, 11:53 PM   #4
Nostrum
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This might help.
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Unread 01-28-2013, 02:15 AM   #5
Adun
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Nostrum:

That looks amazing! Kinda like how the other sword from the video that djlemma posted! (or maybe its the same) Did the person on that facebook page really just place a strip of LEDs in parallel along the side of the plexiglass/acrylic to give it that glow effect? (Like it'll diffuse across the plexiglass)

I got some sheets from Home Depot that are acrylic sheets, but they don't seem to be as "shiny" or glass clear as these guys have it. DO I have the same time of item they have??
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Unread 01-28-2013, 07:12 PM   #6
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Yes, quite similar to what's on the video, but less fiddly in some ways.
Because the LEDs are seated in the solid part of the sword, the only place for the light to diffuse through is the acrylic.

It doesn't have to be super shiny for it to diffuse, you might have smoked acrylic or just something that hasn't been polished. Often when you buy acrylic it has a sheet of paper or cling film over it to prevent scratching, so just check that yours doesn't have that which could be making the acrylic look dull. If you do, leave it on until you've cut it as it'll help reduce scratching and chipping.
If you want to, you can dull the acrylic with a very high (fine) grit sand paper, which in high lighting situations can help the whole of the blade glow instead of just the edges.

EL wire will work just as well as LEDs, and will actually provide a more even light across the blade. The further spaced out your LEDs are, the patchier the light will be.
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Unread 01-28-2013, 11:18 PM   #7
Adun
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Okay, so as you can see on my sword, there isn't really a place to hid the EL Tape or LED strip so that it will focus on solely the acrylic sheet. Would I have the same result with it diffusing across the blade if I just used one sheet and somehow (glue??) the wire/led on the side of the blades??

EDIT:
Would something like this work? http://www.superbrightleds.com/morei...light-bar/123/

Or is it more cost efficient to make LED strips yourself??

Last edited by Adun : 01-28-2013 at 11:43 PM. Reason: Adding more info
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Unread 01-29-2013, 09:07 AM   #8
ViolentEvo
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2 words my friend, EL wire
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Unread 01-29-2013, 02:52 PM   #9
Adun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ViolentEvo View Post
2 words my friend, EL wire
Would you care to elaborate?
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Unread 01-29-2013, 03:05 PM   #10
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http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&keyw... %3Ael%20wire
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Unread 01-30-2013, 02:43 AM   #11
Nostrum
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I made the assumption that you could to some degree hollow out underneath the black section of the blades, and run EL wire along the side of the acrylic. Instead of having a full acrylic blade with black sections on top.
I don't know if I just made sense.
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Unread 01-30-2013, 01:00 PM   #12
djlemma
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adun View Post
Okay, so as you can see on my sword, there isn't really a place to hid the EL Tape or LED strip so that it will focus on solely the acrylic sheet. Would I have the same result with it diffusing across the blade if I just used one sheet and somehow (glue??) the wire/led on the side of the blades??

EDIT:
Would something like this work? http://www.superbrightleds.com/morei...light-bar/123/

Or is it more cost efficient to make LED strips yourself??
You can hide the LED's in the hilt. Just get bright LED's! If you color the blade with the yellow to red gradient, you can use white LED's in the base. I'd get the brightest you can find, something like this is you want to order from that site.

Just make the part of the hilt that meets the edge of the acrylic so that it also has a place for the LED strips. You'll want the LED's basically touching the edge of the acrylic.

EL wire wouldn't work for this because it's far too dim. If you embedded EL wire along the length of the blade (behind the black parts) you might get some output, but really my experience with EL wire is that it only works if you're looking directly at it. Otherwise it just doesn't put out enough light.

This is coming more from an architectural lighting standpoint than cosplay, but I think it's still applicable.

Also, if you want to solder together individual LED's there's tons of options. Stuff like this would allow you to get even higher brightness out of your sword, but you'd have to put more effort into the mounting, heat, power source, etc. Might be more cost effective, more labor though, and it all depends what you decide to do.
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Unread 01-30-2013, 06:22 PM   #13
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Ah! I didn't think of doing that! :3 You're talking about carving out a little area in the "grey" to put the LEDs in where the diagonal cut of the blade at the bottom is? (I think so..)

Yeah I've heard EL Wire isn't that dim.. Also,since I have two blades on each sword, would I need to buy 4 individual LED strips to do what you said djlemma?

Okay! Now I have a plan! But.. Dillemma. I bought (still can return) acrylic sheets that are only .093 inches thick, so slightly thin. It's definitely not as thick as the one Nostrum posted. Is that going to be a problem diffusing the light? I bought such a thin one also cause of the weight and cause I'm not sure if the blades itself will stay in the hilt like I want it to.

Also, what should I use to paint my blade to get the clear look?

Thank you so much for the great responses so far guys! I really appreciate it <3

Last edited by Adun : 01-30-2013 at 06:27 PM.
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Unread 01-30-2013, 10:20 PM   #14
djlemma
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If you went with the LED strips I linked, you can cut it into sections as small as 1" I think.. with tape it's usually a bit more, but we're talking 2-4". You'll need a soldering iron to attach new lead wires, but that's not too hard. Regardless, 1 piece is probably all you need if you get tape or rigid strips.

As for the thickness of the plastic, I'm unsure. I'd want to mock it up, I've only done it with thicker stuff. I'd worry about the 3/32" plastic being very floppy, but if you already have it you probably know.

For paint, I think I read that Gallery Glass is good for this sort of thing but I have never used it.
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Unread 01-31-2013, 11:56 PM   #15
Adun
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Somewhat new to this LED stuff :3.. Would I be able to buy the power supply at like RadioShack? Also when you speak of lead wires can I also get that there? So confused XD..

Though, so far I have a good idea what to do. Just the technicality! Thanks for being so patient with me.
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