Instructables
Picture of How to make an EL Wire Hula hoop
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I've been wanting to make something with EL wire for a long time and I've wanted some sort of glowing hoop for a while so this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to do both!
 
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Step 1: Collect materials

Picture of Collect materials
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Finding the materials for this project was quite a hunt.  To power EL wire, or electro luminescent wire  you need a driver.  There are some small drivers out there, but I needed to find one that could power enough feet of wire and be small enough to fit inside a tube with a 1 inch outer diameter.

-a length of polyethylene irrigation tubing with an outer diameter of 1 inch for the hoop.  I think I used about 9 feet.  I use PSI 100 weight
-a connector for the tube
-heat gun
-heat shrink tubing
-soldering iron and solder
-scissors
-electrical tape
-wire
-switch
-black gaffer tape
-hand held power drill
-pliers
-bubble wrap
-wire cutters and wire strippers
-RC-2KN 12 Volt 2000hz driver for 3-15' of wire
-8 single AA battery holders and batteries
-2 15 foot lengths of EL wire.  If you make a bigger or smaller hoop you might need less or more.  It comes in different thicknesses, I think mine was just general purpose.  Don't get too thin or delicate wire, or it will break when you use it.

A voltmeter was also very helpful for this project

dcrosby11 year ago
Wai
sosaerica182 years ago
i was just wondering though does everything stay intact? like nothing moves around or anything like that? i totally wanna try to make one of these!
Everything stayed in place pretty well with just some pieces of tape around the inside. However, if you're new to hula hooping or are more rough with your hoops you might need to attach it more securely!
sosaerica182 years ago
hey this is really awesome! and i love your middle name :)
I like your middle name.

This project is awesome.
Oh I am loving this! Thank you (=
fermi11373 years ago
Great job! I have made a few LED hoops and am thinking about making an el one. Where did you find the driver small enough?
Thanks
I got it at http://www.glowire.com/
They don't have the best website design ever, but they have the largest selection of drivers I have ever seen and good prices.
Mike Begley3 years ago
Nice instructable!

I would consider encasing the whole thing in clear heat shrink tubing. That would both help to hold the wire in place and give a bit of protection to the wire.

How much of a chore is it to change out the batteries?
It's pretty annoying, but it's doable.
jatb283 years ago
Great job! Thanks for sharing it with the community :)

I was thinking about doing one with a shorter length of wire which would take less batteries, maybe 3-4 and AAA's. From your experience, do you think that fewer batteries would make the weighting strange?

I was also thinking about putting the wire in a clear HDPE or polypro tube (http://www.sacred-flame.com/shop/regular/) with clear bubble wrap. Good idea with the bubble wrap!
Fewer batteries should be fine, as long as you are able to space them out inside the tubing sort of evenly. That sounds like it will be awesome! You should make an instructable about it!
i'm very new to electronics, so forgive me if this comment is a little less than intelligent. what will happen when the batteries in the hoop run out? is there a way to wire in a recharger (i.e. the rechargeable LED hoop?) thanks!
I didn't have rechargeable batteries when I was putting this together, so unfortunately, when the batteries run out I'll have to open the hoop and replace them. Since the circuit is already put together, I'll just have to pop the old batteries out and put new ones in. If you have some way to just plug the hoop in and recharge it, that would be way easier!
Awesome! I might make some for bellydance, or some such.
I do belly dance also! Hooping and belly dance go together so well!
meerbot4 years ago
Great Instructable, beautiful hoop! Question: Have you tried protecting the EL wired with something in case the hoop is dropped? I would be tempted to put a layer of clear hockey tape over it.
I was actually going to do that originally, and I would recommend it but because I wanted the wires to cross, the tape was getting weird and wrinkly at the points where the wire intersect. If you just wrap the wire around like a barber shop pole, I would definitely put clear tape over it.
That's fantastic!!! One question: How are the batteries secured inside the hoop? The way I saw it was they're just wrapped in bubble wrap inside the hoop. Wouldn't they shift around and cause your hoop to become lopsided?
The bubble wrap has kept them in place so far. Also, there is not a lot of excess wire in between the batteries and having the switch also holds that one spot in place and the driver fits very snugly inside the hoop. I've been using it quiet a bit and haven't had a problem :)
SHIFT!4 years ago
Excellent Job as always Danger is my middle name! I'm not that big on Hula Hoops myself, BUT I have an idea on how to work this into a large scale RC Car.
Thanks! You totally should! EL wire is awesome and the possibilities are endless!
For sure! I'm more over an umbrella man myself, than a Hoola Hooper, so as soon as I get mine in the mail, I'll probably work on something like that!
Batness4 years ago
That. looks. Awesome. A couple of questions! 1. About how much in materials did this cost you? I'm attempting to guesstimate. 2. Couldn't you use clear tubing and then adjust the lights inside the tubing?
If you have some of the electronic equipment already, this project would be a lot cheaper. I had to buy the wire strippers, voltmeter, soldering iron, etc. I needed them anyways for engineering school, but they all added up. Not including all that, I got 30 feet of EL wire and the driver for about $40. Battery holders, the tube connector and those small parts were all under a dollar each. The irrigation tube is about $35 for 100 feet at Lowe's, which will make about 8 hoops, depending on what size they are. I know there are places you can get smaller amounts of tubing, but I knew where to get this, and on such short notice, it was the best I could do and I use it to make more hoops and musical instruments and stuff. Assuming you already have the tools you need, the supplies themselves are way cheaper than any LED hoop I have seen for sale anywhere, even if you do have to buy 100 feet of tube, haha. Like you said, you could definitely use clear plastic tubing and put the EL wire inside it but like I said, I knew where to get the black tubing, but for my next version I might try to find some clear tube. The one problem I could foresee with putting the wire in the tubing is lack of space, but I'm sure with some thinking, it could all be squeezed in. thanks for the questions! Let me know if you have any more!
izzyinsf4 years ago
super freaking awesome hoop!
Thanks! I'm so excited to finally have a light up hoop! haha
noclothes4 years ago
This is so cool! Awesome job! :)
thanks!