"Help!" for: Electronics

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Well-Known Member
This thread will contain general first hand knowledge of electronics involved in the props and costumes you're working on.

People who don't know: Post questions.

People who know: Answer those questions.

Please be as clear and detailed as possible with your questions and/or answers. Repeated questions or variations of certain questions may be consolidated over time into an FAQ section in the post following this one.

Always ask and answer questions as if you were asking/answering your mother or grandmother. In other words, politely.

Rudeness and/or impatience will be met with an infraction. You don't want too many of those.

These threads are meant to reduce and hopefully eliminated the need for the numerous 'I need help threads' that seem to generate endlessly in this section of the forum.

They are not a be all, end all to all questions that could ever be asked though. Some questions will be project specific and you may need to ask those IN the project's thread itself. However, some may not see your questions there so you may post a link to said project thread in the appropriate "Help!" thread when you need the attention of a few extra eyes.


Well-Known Member
Tutorials that involve this thread's subject matter and are approved by the site staff will be linked in this post. Please review them as they may already contain the answers you seek.

Tutorial Section:


New Member
I want to Illuminate a transparent sword with LED's from the inside. Sanding and frosting will obscure lights and wires.

Will resin eat through LED wiring and/or bulbs?

IF NO: How can I go about laying the wire and lights Inside the mold and poor resin around it?

IF YES: What about a strip of EL wire?


Well-Known Member
Resin won't eat the wires themselves, but it may eat the jackets depending on what they are made of. Shouldn't be an issue, have a look at my energy sword LED blade guide: http://www.westaby.net/2010/04/led-rail-blade-assembly/

If you are worried, do a small test run before making any big plans. I would think that solid poured blades would be heavy and put a lot of stress on the handle.


New Member
resin can get very very hot because it is a pure chemical reaction. I would put the wire in some type of pvc tube of something, they have clear stuff at lowes. As for the EL wire it is known to go bad or be easily breakable. just use the frosted edge of the LED to get the effect. I have done this method with car AMP racks in the past and it looked amazing


Well-Known Member
resin can get very very hot because it is a pure chemical reaction. I would put the wire in some type of pvc tube of something, they have clear stuff at lowes. As for the EL wire it is known to go bad or be easily breakable. just use the frosted edge of the LED to get the effect. I have done this method with car AMP racks in the past and it looked amazing

The bigger problem will probably be that resin is pretty aggressive towards other plastics and may eat certain types of isolation away regardless of temperature.

What I would do is get uncoated, unpainted copper wire and put that into the resin without anything around it. Isolation shouldn't be a problem, as long as the wires don't touch each other (unless you use conductive reinforcement fibers like carbon, of course).


New Member
tutorial to make an energy sword?

Anyone have a tutorial for an energy sword? or can somebody just tell me the materials I need to make one?



Well-Known Member
Depends on what skills you have, what materials are you good at working with? Always good to stick to your strengths.

My sword blades are a material called PETG and were cast on a vacuuformer by Sean Bradley. Vacuuforming the blades really is the best method because the blades are strong enough to be swung (flat plexi blades are not). The handle was also sculpted by Sean and cast in... (I'm guessing) smooth cast 300 urethane. Sean did a lot of planning to make sure everything fit together.

MW Immortalking

Active Member
Hey thatdecade I just started in the electronics program at a technical college and they're having us do projects of our own choice so I'm trying to make an ammo counter and audio player. What do you think? (I still think yours is better though XD) I'm still trying to understand the digital electronics involved and we're not supposed to be getting into that stuff till next quater! XD I might end up just making the project be making the ammo counter and using arduino for the controller idk yet.


Well-Known Member
Okay, I have a few questions....
For Helmets:
Interior Fan(for de-fogging and keeping cool) - What kind of fans do you use, and if you place it at the mouth, is it necessary to also have a breath deflector like in motorcycle helmets?
Where is the best place in the helmet for battery housing, and what are the best batteries to use for such electronics that I am asking about for such a helmet?
How would you do lights on a helmet attachments(like in Reach), and more so, how would you have the attachment connected to the helmet's power if you desired the attachment to be removable?
How do you do an on/off light for helmet flashlights (as seen on Mark VI helmets) while keeping all the other helmet electronics running? Also, beyond this, what would be the best way to turn everything on the helmet on and off?

Jackal Shield(aka Kig-Yar Point Defense Gauntlet) - How do you get something that size clear, curved, and have lights in it that fade from one color into another? I'm interested in trying to make one, but I just have no idea where to start or how to do any of it. Are there any threads dedicated to Jackal Shield making?

Where is the best locations for fans to keep cool? How do you wire them, and where would you put the button to turn it on and off?

Tacpad(Carter's Arm attachment):
How would you do the screen on such a device? Make a clear overhead-laminate of the button layout and put a blue LED light behind it?


Well-Known Member
for helmet fans, I use 1.5 inch 9v netbook fans, connected to a single 9volt battery. 1 battery per fan (longer battery life). Connect the ends of the fan to a 9v battery connector. If the battery is not reaching where you want it to sit just extend the wire by soldering wire and add a plastic shrink tube since it's close to your face. I had my battery velcroed to the circle ear pieces of the Noble Six helmet. The fans should also prevent fog on the visor. I just took a huge breath on the visor and the fan takes it away almost right away.

Just buy an on/off switch if you like and solder it onto the negative ( - ) I think. Use LED's for backlights, cut out what you want to glow/shine. For Carters arm attachment, I used an old Ipod Touch.


Well-Known Member
@MW Immortalking
There is not much to writing the software to run an ammo counter. Most of it is keeping track of the I/Os and having some good display code to call. What makes my counter unique is the design, small size and very few parts which makes it fast to assemble and economical to sell.

Audio players are a whole can of worms. Making a tone generator and playing a simple song melody is an easier goal. I did something similar for my tech college classwork.

I have been using 5V fans with good luck. I connect them to three AAAs and have room in the visor to hide the batteries. Should run all day without needing to replace the batteries.

For detachable expansions, you can use quick connectors. They sell them at radioshack, etc. Straightforward to install and remove. Snaps on snaps off. If you can't find quick connectors you can also use two 9v battery clips. They also snap on and snap off for quick installs / removal.

For the jacle shield and color switching. This can be done with or without a controller. You would have two light sources each connected to the same switch, DPDT. The switch has three positions. Center position, nothing powered. Top position, blue lights are on. Bottom position, red lights are on. A quick flick of the thumb and you can switch between the colors with the lights only being off for a very brief moment.

Depends on the lighting effect that you want. 5mm are the most common size of LEDs. People also have good luck with buying book reading lights and installing them in armor.

Dark Star

Jr Member
How do you recommend mounting fans, LEDs, and battery packs in your helmet? Can I use velcro them for it with double sided sticky stuff from jo-anns? And will I have to drill holes in my helmet to put the LEDs in?
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