Introduction: Pulse Sword

I originally wanted to create an energy sword, but then decided to make it more interesting by putting my own twist on it by changing the design of the blades and adding Neopixels, an Arduino uno and a pulse sensor. When designing the sword I wanted to work the LEDs and wires into the design because I wanted to try and achieve a clean finish while making it aesthetically pleasing. The code I used programs the LEDs to blink with your BPM as well as change the color from blue to green and then red also according to your BPM. For this instructable I tried to break the process down into 6 different steps (Materials, Sword/Blades, Breakout Boards, Handle, Code & Mechanics) to make it more organized and easier to create.

Step 1: Materials

Step 2: Sword/Blade Process

To create the acrylic sword pieces, I created the designs in

Illustrator and then used a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) Router to cut and engrave all the pieces.

After Cutting out the blades and inserts it’s time to glue.

First take the two triangle inserts and place them on top of each other so they are facing the same way. Then take the acrylic glue and paint the edges of the triangles where the two are connected. Allow the glue to dry for about 10 minutes.

While the glue is drying for the triangle inserts take the rectangular inserts and place one on top of the other and glue the edges just like with the triangles and allow to dry.

Once the glue has dried you will glue the inserts to the proper place on the blades. So take one of the blades and lay it face down so the smooth side of the blade is facing up. Then take the triangle inserts and lay them flat on the sword, aligning the point of the triangles with the point of the sword. When aligned properly hold down the triangles and spread the glue along the sides of the traingles where they touch the blade.

Now take the rectangular inserts and lay them horizontally so .5 of either end of the insert lays on top of the sword creating a bridge like support from one side of the blade to the other. After you have aligned it properly glue the edges that lay on top of the sword to the sword.

After the inserts are glued to the blade take the other blade and lay it on top with the engraved side facing up and from the other sword. Align the sword so it matches the sword underneath and then secure it to the inserts the same way previously glued the inserts to the other sword.

Step 3: Creating the Breakout Boards

1. Turn your iron on to the highest setting (usually cotton) to allow it the time to heat up before it is needed.

2. To begin you need to put on the rubber gloves and scrub the copper till it is clean. Hold the copper under the sink and get it wet, then the brillo pad and scrub it till its clean. Then dry it with a paper towel and put it aside to fully dry. Make sure to keep the rubber gloves on when touching the copper to keep from getting fingerprints on it.

3. Next, you need to print the breakout board PNG image onto the transfer paper. I added a couple extra boards just in case some doesn’t transfer properly.

4. After the image is printed you need to take the copper board and lay the print face down onto the copper. Then tape the edges of the print down to the board.

5. Now we need to transfer the image onto the copper by ironing it on. This might take a couple passes so make sure to check by lifting only one of the taped edges up slightly to check.

6. Once your image has been fully transferred to the copper take it back to the sink and place it under hot water to soften up the transfer paper and allowing you to remove the transfer paper and tape from the copper board. Then dry the board with paper towels.

7. After the paper and tape are removed, we need to drill a hole in the corner of the copper board so we can then put the string through it and tie it. This will allow us to dip and agitate the copper while it’s in the Ferric Chloride.

8. Now that the hole and string are taken care of we need to get the image etched into the copper board. This process usually takes about 35 minutes. So first grab the string and lower the board into the Ferric Chloride. Allow it to stay in the Ferric Chloride for 10 minutes at First. You can agitate it by pulling the during this time to speed up the process. After the first 10 minutes, check the progress. If the board still has copper on the outside of the breakout boards place it back in for another 10 minutes. Repeat this process until the copper has disappeared and is now yellow around the printed images.

9. Once the image is fully etched into the copper take it to the sink and run water over it and scrub off the black printed images off with a brillo pad. Then dry it with paper towels again.

Step 4: Creating the Handle

*These steps will complete one half of the handle to create the other half repeat Parts 1-3.

Part 1

1. To create the handle, I first printed out the separate parts of the handle twice so I could use them as cutting templates.

2. For the rectangular pieces(4) of the handle sand them all down first using the 80 grit, then the 150 grit till all are smooth and .25” thick.

3. After cutting out all the circular pieces for the handle separate them into 2 groups. Each group should have 1 big, 1 medium and 1 small circle.

4. Take the circles in group 1 and spray the Loctite adhesive on one side of the big circle and one side of the medium circle and then press them together. Then spray the adhesive on the other side of the medium circle and one side of the small circle and press them together.

5. Repeat step 3 for the group 2

6. Next, take group 1 and use the rasp so shave down and shape the pieces into a cone shape.

7. Then use the 80 grit sandpaper to smooth and better define the cone shape.

8. Next move to the 150 grit to fully smooth out the cone.

9. Repeat steps 5-7 for group 2

Part 2

1. Now it’s time to put all the pieces together. So take Circle Group 1 and 2 and create a slot to secure both ends of Rectangle 1 to the top of both Circle Groups. The slot must be .25” thick and .29” in from the edge of the circle and 1.5” wide.

2. After cutting both slots spray them with the spray adhesive and insert one end of Rectangle 1 into one slot and the other end into the other slot.

3. Now slots for Rectangle 2A and Rectangle 2B need to be created in both Circle Groups.

4. After cutting both slots spray them with the spray adhesive and insert one end of Rectangle 2A into one slot and one end of Rectangle 2B into the other slot.

5. Next, slots for the other end of both Rectangle 2 A&B need to be cut into Rectangle 3. Then spray the slots with spray adhesive and place the ends of Rectangle 2 A&B in their respective slots.

Part 3

1. Apply 1 coat of Mod Podge to the handle and let it fully dry before adding a second coat.

2. Next, apply 1 coat of Plasti Dip and allow to dry before adding a second coat.

3. Next, apply another coat of Mod Podge to seal the Plasti Dip.

Part 4

*For this part both halves of the handle must be completed

1. Choose one half to be the bottom half of the handle, then cut a square for the battery in the right circle. The square must be Vertical and 1.0236” by 1.9213”

2. Now take the other half of the handle and cut a circle in Rectangle 1 that is .625” in diameter. This is for the pulse sensor.

3. Next cut a hole on the side of the right cone that is .0091” in diameter. This is for the switch.

4. Place the battery barrel jack on the battery and place the battery in the battery hole.

Place the switch in the switch hole and the place the top half of the handle above the rectangle insert we glued previously. Then place the bottom half of the handle under the rectangle insert and make sure the two handles are aligned.

Step 5: The Code

The code is set for 12 lights, but if you want more or less you can change the number. It is also set to the highest brightness (255) you can change that to your liking as well.

The part of the code where it changes color according to the BPM is under the void loop. Blue is set to appear if the BPM is low (0 to 50). Green appears when the BPM is 51 to 100 and Red appears when the BPM is 101 and up.

Step 6: Mechanical Process

Part 1

1. Cut the Solderable PC board to 3.5”by 3.5”.

2. Next, break off a group of 6 headers and two groups of 5 headers. Place the group of six headers in the Arduino, so that all the pins from 3.3v to Vin are filled. Place one of the groups of 5 headers in the Arduino, so all the pins from A0 to A5 are filled. Then, take the last group of 5 headers and place them in the Arduino, so that all the pins from 7 to 3 are filled.

3. Next, place the PC board on top of the headers so all the headers fit through the board holes. Then solder the top of each header of the PC board hole it is in. It is important to make sure you don’t connect any of the headers to another header while soldering.

4. Now it’s time to create bridges from the pins we are using to the holes that in line with them. So strip some of the solid core wire and bend it into a U shape. Then, place it into the two holes that are in the same row of the header that’s in the ground pin. Then solder the solid core wire to the board and then, using solder, connect the ground header to the wire we just soldered. Repeat this for 10 of the holes in the row.

5. Repeat the bridging process from step 4 for the header in pin 5, A0 and 5v.

6. Once all the bridges are created clip the ends of the pulse sensor and strip the ends of the wire. Then solder the ground wire to the ground bridge, the power wire to the power bridge and the Data wire to the A0 bridge.

7. Next, we need to solder the 1000uf capacitor to the PC board. So first shorten the capacitor by snipping the ends of the capacitors two legs. Then solder the negative leg to the ground bridge and the positive leg to the power bridge.

8. Now solder the 390ohm resistor to the header in the 5 pin.

Part 2

1. Get the Breakout Boards you made previously and apply solder to each copper pad. Make sure to not let any of the solder connect from 1 pad to another.

2. Next, take one of the LEDs and place it on top of all 4 soldered pads, making sure that each one of the pins under the LED touches one of the Solder pads. Then heat up one solder pad and make sure the solder connects and secures the LED pin to it. Do this for the other 3 pins and remember to not cross connect any of the pads to each other.

3. Now cut 4 pieces of the black solid core wire making each 4” long. Before soldering these wires to the pads there is a certain way to solder these wires to the pad(for design purposes only). You must solder the wires to the VDD and the DIN straight out and the wires to the DOUT and the VSS must be wired downwards. Now solder each one of those wires to each one of the soldered pads and then solder a black wire to the black wire soldered to the VSS pad, a red wire to the black wire soldered to the VDD pad, a yellow wire to the black wire soldered to the DOUT pad and a white wire to the black wire soldered to the DIN pad.

4. Now use a scissor to cut the breakout board out. Then string all the wires through a clear plastic shrink tube pushing it up to the top right behind the breakout board.

5. Now apply super glue to the end of one of the Blade Inserts and press the back of the breakout board to the super glued area. Hold it there till it is secured, then place it aside to dry fully.

6. After it’s fully dry take a heat gun or blow-dryer and apply heat to the clear shrink tubing to make it shrink around the wires.

7. Repeat steps 1- 6 for all the LEDs.

8. After finishing all the LEDs, it’s time to connect them to the PC board.

9. Connect all Ground wires of each LED to the Ground bridge on the PC board.

10. Then, connect all power wires of each LED to the power bridge on the PC board.

11. Next, connect the white wire(DIN) of one of the LEDs to the Pin 5 bridge and then solder the yellow wire(DOUT) of this LED to the white wire(DIN) of another LED.

12. Continue the Pattern of DOUT of one LED to the DIN of another LED until all the LEDS are connected.

Part 3

1. Place the Arduino, with the PC board still connected, into the handle between the two Rectangle 3's from previous.

2. String the pulse sensor up through the handle and place it in the hole created earlier for it.

3. Take the 9v barrel jack and plug it into the Arduino.

4. Take each of the acrylic Blade LED pieces with the LEDs attached and place a dot of hot glue above either side of the LED, covering the black wires and secure it to the blade.

5. Glue the top half of the handle to the bottom half.

5. Now flip the Switch YOU ARE DONE!