Introduction: 3D Printed Shoulder Armour EL Wire Integration

I 3D printed a shoulder armor and integrated EL wire in it . You can use this technique for characters in comic con costume builds .

Step 1: Getting the Components.

EL wire is the best in class for a uniform glow , unlike led,s which have bright spots and often require diffuser to have a uniform glow. EL wire can be used for a variety of purposes and especially for Comic Con events for different character illlumination . This instructable will help you integrate EL Wire in almost any of your builds .

So go ahead and place an order for EL wire that usually comes with a power source inverter which runs on 2 double AA batteries .

You can order one from Amazon-

Get the following hardware as well-

Copper wire (Any guage , buy one that is thinnest) -

Wire cutter-

Exacto Knife-

Lighter (That has flame , not arc one)

Heat Shrink Tube

Solder Iron

Solder wire

Step 2: Making Your EL Wire Ready to Be Soldered

This is the most important part of the build .

I used 5m EL wire .

Measure the length that you want to cut out from the El wire .

Using a wire cutter cut off the desired length and keep around 3 cms extra since we will need to strip it for connection.

There are 5 cores in this wire.

The outer most is a colored plastic wrap in my case green color .This outer most is the thickest layer and you need to cut this off carefully for the extra 3cms we had .

Once you strip the outer Green layer plastic you will encounter a second layer of clear plastic wrap .

This laser houses 2 ultra thin wire that are conductive and is shown in the photo above .

You need to go ahead and strip this clear coating so the 2 conductive wire with the phosphor coating is exposed . Extra care needs to be taken to strip this layer as , even if 1 of the thin wire brakes you will have to redo the previous steps again .

Considering you were extra cautious and have managed to follow along , you will find white colored ciddle core along with the 2 ultra thin wires , go ahead and just tuck the thin wires aside so we can work on the middle core .

Using an exacto knife go ahead and scrape out the phosphor coating on the middle core as much as 1 cm . Once scraped you will find another conductive wire inside this .

Phew ! I can tell you , this had been a challenge for me as well getting all the above right .

Lets Move to the next step ->>>>

Step 3: Enamled Copper Wire

The reason to choose enamled copper wire over normal wires is that you can easily work with them and they hide very easily into whatever you are building . The only drawback is it needs to be processed in order to be used . So if you are not that keen in making your builds that clean you can totally skip this one and use normal single strand wires/breadboard cables .

Assuming that you are a perfectionist and like to make clean builds , get your hands on such copper wire , measure the length you want from where the EL wire will be mounted to the EL inverter and cut two wires .

Now we will need a lighter to burn of the enamel on the outer perimeter on both wires at both the sides . Burn it about 1cm (Children take due precaution and use adult help and adults be safe while handling flames :p) .

One the enamel is burnt you can take fine grit sand paper and rub the ends . Using multimeter to check continuity . If the multimeter beeps we are good to go .

Moving on to the next step->>>

Step 4: Soldering

Heat up your solder gun .

Now we will ready the wires .

Grab the copper wires , put some solder on the solder gun once heated , dip the ends of copper wire in flux , and apply the solder on the copper wires .

Now repeat the same process on the El wire , intertwine the two thin wires together and apply solder to them .

Then apply solder to the middle conductive core as well .

Post the above steps take one of the copper wire and intertwine it with the two thin cable that we earlier soldered and again solder it .

Then take the second copper wire and solder to the center core .

After this put the open end of the copper wire into the Inverter output . (Polarity does not matter since its AC curent) and check whether the El wire glows . If it glows we have done all the steps right , you can then slide on a heat shrink tube on the soldered joints and seal it off .

Note - Dont touch exposed ends of the wire when powered you will feel a tingling !

Step 5: Integration

Once our El wire is ready , we can mount it onto any surface using super glue .

Hack- Super glue takes some time to harden up , sprinkle some baking soda on the surface after applying the glue it will cure fast and harden like a rock .

In my case as you can see in the photo , I 3D printed a Shoulder Armour that had many grooves and measuring the grooves I cut the EL wire to length and routed the fine copper wires such that it could not be seen . Also I spray painted the 3Dprinted part once everything was complete to hide the golden color of the copper wire and give it a better look .

You can now integrate EL wire into any of your projects using the above steps .

If you have any concerns you can contact me .

I also design 3D printed parts , if you want one designed you can contact me .

And yes that's me in the picture : )

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