Introduction: Sam Flynn Suit From TRON Legacy

Picture of Sam Flynn Suit From TRON Legacy

Okay all... so more than a few people have asked for this Instructable.  I hope I am able to explain enough.  Sadly I didn't completely document the whole process, but here it goes!

Step 1: Electroluminecent Tech

Picture of Electroluminecent Tech

EL for short, comes in many different forms.  Sheets, strips, tape, ribbon, even flexible fabric (although I didn't discover this version until after my suit was made.)  The version I used was a cuttable form I first saw on a webseries on Revision3 internet TV.  I found it on the site:

Attached are some photos.  The checked pattern around the perimeter alternates the connection points (anode + / cathode -) which allows the sheet to be cut so long as two opposite contacts are connected to the sheet.

Step 2: Shapes and Things

Picture of Shapes and Things

I designed the pattern on a computer after many measurements.  I cut them out on paper and layed them on the suit to ensure everything fit right.  It probably took 5 tries to get the shapes just right.  I was also trying to use as little of the EL material as possible as the sheets are almost $50 for an 8.5" by 11" sheet.

Once I was confident that:
1.  the shapes were just right.
2.  I had two contacts (+/-) connecting to each shape.
3.  I could wire them all together easily in the suit based on the current configuration.

I had my girlfriend cut them out! haha.  Seriously, she's good with a blade.

Step 3: Wire It Up!!

Picture of Wire It Up!!

This section is missing some images and detail because I was so rushed to finish before Halloween.  I will update by middle of March.

First step is too attach all the wires to the EL shapes.  I used solder and copper tape, along with binder clips to hold everything together.  This step is by far the weakest part of the costume  (and why at the end of this instructable I say what I say).  After attached the wires I fed them thru small holes in the suit so all the wiring is hidden inside.  This made things incredibly difficult, but it is awesome when people don't understand how the suit works because everything is hidden!!

I wired the shapes each in 5 sections, each of which are in a parallel circuit.( Front Right Torso and Legs, Front Left Torso and Legs, Back left torso and legs, Back right torso and legs, head and arms.)  It is important to keep everything in parallel as the brightness of the lights depend highly on voltage and current remaining consistent.  All the wiring met underneath the 'vanson' text in the back center of the suit. I plan to hide the inverter and power pack for the EL tech in the holder for my disc.

The shapes were then taped to the suit using very clear packing tape.  Sounds cheap, but I knew I would be painting the suit and the paint would hide and hold the tape on the suit.  Be sure to test the shapes as you work and especially before taping everything into place!

Step 4: Disc Holder

I designed the disc holder using Solidworks and printed it on a rapid prototyping machine.  This was quicker and easier for me since I had these resources at my fingertips (the only thing a corporation is good for).

I made two pieces.  Attached are pdf drawings of the parts.  *Note, if you copy this design it will fit almost perfectly with the Deluxe Toy Disc. I printed the parts and used a dremel to dig out some notches for the 4 nubs on the interior of the ring.  Directly underneath these divots I hot glued magnets. I also hot glued matching magnets on the inside of the toy disc.

(Pictures to come)

This made the disc easily removable.

Inside the holder I hid the inverter and battery pack for all the EL sheets.

I screwed the back cover from the inside of the suit, thru the leather and into the back disc holder. Having the back plate on the inside of the suit added stability to the holder.

Step 5: PAINT!

Picture of PAINT!

Probably the simplest part of the costume.  I removed the disc holder to paint it separately and ensure that all parts are painted evenly.

I covered all the parts of the EL that I wanted to light up.  Here is also the chance to fix any mis-alignments since the paint will cover up the edges.  I painted the edges of the tape with a plastic coating paint normally used to coat handles of tools, "Plasti Dip".  It is flexible yet strong and won't crack upon bending.  I used a brush for these parts to make sure the tape was held down.

The rest of the suit is a mixture of a spray version of "Plasti Dip" for the leather parts and matt black paint for the fabric parts.

Finally remove the tape!

Step 6: Re-test...uh Oh...

Picture of Re-test...uh Oh...

As always nothing is perfect and some wiring needed to be redone, but eventually it worked!!

Step 7: Epilogue

Picture of Epilogue

It was a rough ride and I was rushing all the way until Halloween, but it was fun.

For next year I think I am going to recreate the costume using a more flexible and reliable EL technology.

After a night of partying some of the EL panels stopped lighting up where they were bent multiple times.


brad.kussy (author)2015-02-08

I will pay someone to do this for me in red. Very serious

sypher (author)brad.kussy2016-10-22

ok... I have wanted a reason to do it

taz1328 (author)2011-08-25

Hey. Nice job on your costume! Quick many sheets of EL paper did you need for it? Just trying to get a rough estimate on the damage to the wallet. Haha.

Tifetup (author)taz13282011-08-25

I used about 5 of the largest cut and shape sheets at $50 a piece. I would wait a bit though. That same company is coming out with a pre made Sam Flynn pattern that will make the suit a lot easier.

brad.kussy (author)Tifetup2015-02-08

Ill pay you good money to build this for me in red.

cdastmalchi (author)Tifetup2011-11-15

yeah for about 530 bucks... im working on making a quorra costume. ive never worked with this stuff before. she has less illumination on her suit so how many sheets would you suggest?

Doctor08 (author)2014-02-01

What kind of jumpsuit did you use and the name of it

mountaingirl4u25 (author)2012-10-22

is there a download for the light patterns?

boltoms (author)2012-10-07

amazing suit! if you want yours to be just like the movie try using a hexagonal stitch spandex jumpsuit with a heavy industrial gloss. you can use a p33 9v battery to power the whole suit. that was held by a mount in the back (which also housed the identity disc; held on to the mount by using magnets)

Jsquared24 (author)2011-11-17


The nerdling (author)2011-05-31

needs to be skin tight, other wise cool costume

RalphNL (author)The nerdling2011-08-13

I agree!
Maybe using a diving/jump suit or thermal cloths would be a great idea instead of a leather jacket

cdastmalchi (author)RalphNL2011-11-15


tebright1 (author)2011-10-04

How well did the paint work on the suit?

Tifetup (author)tebright12011-10-05

Any paint peels off leather after much bending. The "Plastic Dip" paint was a little better. Good for one Halloween night, but not for repetitive use. It will always require touching up. It you are good at mixing paint you could try rubber cement mixed with a certain type of paint, but I'm not sure it would work any better. Leather and paint just don't mix.

cdastmalchi (author)Tifetup2011-11-15

actually painting leather is fairly easy. it isnt 100% fullproof to all benting but if you wipe down the leather with acetone then paint it, it will not chip nearly as easily

menahunie (author)2011-10-27

I used shoe dye instead of paint..
They come in plastic squeeze applicator bottles.

schroedc (author)2011-10-19

thank you for creating what I started to, but financially could not continue. I was even looking at the same company for the panels. I'm really glad someone completed my shared vision!

PS> I bought a black leather motorcycle suit for my base...

llaurencelle (author)2011-09-05

Was the entire costume made out of EL tape or EL panels? because I was looking into making a Quorra costume, but I'm not sure how you would bend the tape in order to create the curves and such. I really want to find a way to make the tape work if i can

sd2kool4u (author)llaurencelle2011-10-05

Amazing Right!?

Tifetup (author)sd2kool4u2011-10-05

Yea, everyone is coming out with their own inspired stuff.

These are the people I've been working with.

The images from the website are from a first prototype. Click the link in the text to see the newest version. It is going to look awesome when done and I am trying to convince them to get the price down. It is way too much.

I'm sorry to say that they are not going to make production for Halloween this is sad. Maybe they'll have something by Christmas.

Tifetup (author)llaurencelle2011-10-05

I used custom cut panels to create the complex shapes a year ago. Nowadays you might be able to buy precurved strips.

Tifetup (author)llaurencelle2011-09-05

Panel. But special ones that can be cut into almost any shape. Tape will work, but you may not be able to cut it based on the type.

llaurencelle (author)Tifetup2011-09-06

Do you know what type of tape it is I'd need to be able to cut it?

Tifetup (author)llaurencelle2011-09-06

You'd have to test it by cutting a sample, ask the seller,or look at how it is wired. I'm sorry I can't help without an image of the piece. I believe the ones sold by glow hut are cuttable. There is also a girl who made a costume on

sd2kool4u (author)2011-10-05

this is what i use

Tifetup (author)sd2kool4u2011-10-05

This item is almost exactly the same as mine, but I did not have a hook at the top. If you use four magnets inside the disc and four matching in the holder, the hook is unnecessary. The hook also seems to depress the switch, or the button needs to be removed to use this holder. Im not sure of the intent and the website doesn't explain. Mine was custom made in CAD over a year ago.

sd2kool4u (author)2011-09-27

where did you get your suit

delgeezee (author)2011-08-31

too expensive! how many sheets did you use?

wclark5 (author)2011-08-15

hey Im working on one now and I found the perfect material my surfing wetsuit

Tifetup (author)wclark52011-08-15

Sorry i have not written in a long time. Ive been pretty busy. I'm not allowed to spread rumors, but I know of a company that is making full EL kits of Sam Flynns suit...stay tuned

rwerts (author)Tifetup2011-08-16

Please post more info once you get them. I'm looking into making one for halloween this year.

atilladolphun (author)2011-07-15

verry nice work

dprasetyo1 (author)2011-05-29

awesome costume.

can u tell me ,how to buy el wire sheet like that.

i cant find it in my country....

or maybe you want to sell that.

sd2kool4u (author)dprasetyo12011-07-12

heeeeeey i finally found

swilliamson1 (author)2011-05-02

how do you actually connect the wires to the el tape

urtlesquirt (author)2011-04-26

Love the movie, love the costume.

If I have the time to make it, I might be Clu for Halloween.

DigiBentoBox (author)2011-04-24

Maybe you could use copper tape to travel all the way down the back of each individual piece (Like the copper wire "fan" they used on the site;

This way, if it was the black terminal that ripped and rendered the piece useless, the copper wire/tape would connect the pieces. Not only that, but it would also prevent excessive bending, at the sacrifice of a nominal amount of flexibility.

(That way, your 100s of $$$ spent will last longer than halloween! :D Great tutorial man, and THE BEST suit recreation I've seen. You're mighty creative)

Fantôme 1S (author)2011-04-17

nice suit, but the step 1Electroluminecent Tech could be more detailed ...

SupernovaDesigns (author)2011-03-28

I am trying to plan out a Tron Legacy costume, but want to have the details in red. I had originally been planning on using the EL tape, but I'm having a tough time finding tutorials on how to create any kind of a shape other than a straight line. As far as I can find, the sheets are only available in blue and pink. Do you think a transparent adhesive vinyl could be placed over the top of the EL sheet to change the color?

Hi! I have a question on this part of the design, as it stumps me the most right now. You said that you designed the pattern on a computer. What program did you use? Also, where did you get the illustrations above that you drew the pattern on? Thank you! :)

I used the drawing part of SolidWorks. I know it is a little overkill, but it was the only drafting program I had easy access to. The illustration for the patterns was just a google search for an image of the human outline.

archangl (author)2011-02-28

You said that you can get flexible fabric EL, I've only known about the sheets and tape too, where can you get the flexible fabric?

Tifetup (author)archangl2011-03-14

I'm still looking...

HeWantsRevenge (author)2011-03-01

nice job though showing some pictures of the actual construction of the el wire wouldve been perfect.

mu0p (author)2011-02-28

Amazing! Thnx so much for posting this!!

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