Instructables
Picture of EL Wire Spiderweb
In this instructable, I'll walk you through the steps I used to create a spiderweb art piece out of EL wire.
 
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Step 1: Prepare design for laser cutting

Picture of Prepare design for laser cutting
Screen shot 2010-07-24 at 7-24      1.26p.png
First I needed a frame to build on, and since cutting curved pieces is tough, I decided to get it laser cut.  I uploaded my plans to ponoko, which is a company that takes your designs, cuts then out of any number of materials, and mails it to you.  Pretty cool.

I used inkscape, which is a free drawing program that's easy to learn.  I started by grabbing the template from ponoko's site, started drawing a rough sketch of what I wanted the final product to look like.

After getting an arch I was happy with, I copied it and then used inkscape's boolean tools to remove rectangles where the crossbars will go.

For making symmetrical pieces, you can draw half the piece, then use inkscape's clone tool.  This way, any changes you make to the original will apply to the clone.

A couple ponoko tricks:
*  You're charged by the time the laser spends, so you can save money by putting things close together, and combine lines when possible.

*  Cutting a material that is twice as thick costs four times as much, so whenever possible use the thin stuff.

*  Plan ahead.  Getting stuff from ponoko takes at least 3 weeks.

Step 2: Assemble the frame

Picture of Assemble the frame
frame2.jpg
This step is really easy, and reminds me of putting together those dinosaur models as a kid.  Just use a small amount of wood glue wood glue and clamps to build the frame.

When glueing, make sure that the glue does drip anywhere.  If it does, wipe it off and then lightly sand the area to remove any traces of the glue.  The traces of glue could mess up the wood stain in a later step, and it's better to be safe here.

In addition to cutting materials, ponoko allows you to engrave your designs.  In the second photo, you can see a small logo that I had engraved into the base.
XeroTrinity3 years ago
This is fantastic. Using light as art has always fascinated me and you utilized it well
I know this is being a little critical, but spiderwebs aren't really set up in a grid. Cool looking item though, I just wouldn't call it a spiderweb.
jamwaffles4 years ago
Could you being able to only run one channel at a time be down to the power supply? Batteries (i think you're using them from the photo) should be fine for EL wire. Maybe just a faulty board or something.
rogueg (author)  jamwaffles4 years ago
The example code that sparkfun provides has a commnet about how the board can only run one channel at a time. I'm not sure how it could be the inverter, since it can obviously power all the strands at once. Maybe it has something to do with the triacs the board uses?
Good point with the inverter. It can't be the triacs because there is one per channel, so current or voltage isn't an issue. The only way I reckon the board could only be capable of running on strand at a time is a power supply issue, but you've said it's not a problem with the inverter, so maybe it's a software issue. What happens when you try to run two strands at the same time? Does the first one stay the same or does it dim at all? Also, I take it the second strand doesn't turn on at all? James Ps. I don't profess to know everything about everything :) Pps. How did you get all the strands going in the photo for the 'ible?
LoganSix4 years ago
Now all you have to do is program each string to show the level of e-mail you have waiting unread. :)
Brumzzz4 years ago
Wow, can you make a chair out of El Wire? That'd be neat. You know, this shape, and then strings. Anyway, nice 'ible =D
Culturespy4 years ago
Step three almost deserves it's own Instructable. :) Pretty cool using a dishwasher.
+1. Very clever.
I agree, I love the dishwasher steam wood bending technique! If you make an Instructable for that you will most likely become famous in the Instructables community!
rogueg (author)  dark sponge4 years ago
Glad you guys liked the technique. If I ever have a project using thicker stock and the dishwasher still works, I just may write a separate instructable for it.
Thanks, I would never have thought about using a dishwasher to bend wood! I have to try that! 5* and voted!
By the way, awesome Instructable, 5 stars and voted!
I'm with you on that one. Dishwasher hacks are just sort of cool no matter what you do with them. Not even sure why, just one of those things.

The steam bending thing is one of those, duh, should have thought of that methods. The rack even makes a good jig just how it is. lol, every workshop should have one.

The next question is can you poach Salmon at the same time if you don't use treated lumber?