Hey we are packing up for Burning Man--so this has got to be quick.
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Step 1: Grab Your Materials!
So of course you need an old Jeans jacket to screw around with--so don't use one your partner is going to cry over when its covered with glue.
Also some leather--Im not an expert on this so just go to your local shop and grab enough for your main picture elements--in this case a bottle and a glass seemed appropriate. You don't have to use leather but it will look a lot better and so your partner may forgive you for crapping out the jacket.
Contact Cement--see photo.
Hot glue gun.
Bike Glow--safety lights--available at REI to outline your figures--see photo. These are electrowire and glow a soft green or other color. They are no where near as bright as neopixels so you have to dim the neopixels to a minimum in your software to make them work together.
About a meter of Neopixels from Adafruit
A small Arduino compatible computer--Adafruit. Currently Im using their Metro which is cheap, reliable and small.
Nine Volt battery with appropriate attachments to power the Metro.
Battery holder that holds 3 AA batteries with on/off switch.
Step 2: Cut Out Your Leather
Grab some good looking silhouettes from google that are about the right size for the back of the jacket and will mate in a pleasing way. Lay them on some leather and outline them and cut them out.
Hot glue the bike glow-wire to the rim around the leather outlines--hot glue works really well for this and appears durable so far.
The outlines surrounded with glow wire are then glued to the back of the jacket with contact cement. This is a great way to work with leather and holds forever--or at least until someone washes it accidentally...outline the leather on the back of the jacket with a sharpie and cover this area with contact cement. Cover the back of the outlines with contact cement and allow both to dry. Apply them carefully since once they touch you can't separate them....
Step 3: Neopixels!
You should know something about Neopixels before the next step--there are a lot of basic intros on their use and brush up on them before doing this project. The Neopixels have to be broken up and reconnected at an angle to fit in the outlines--this requires minimal skill with a soldering iron, but these guys are pricey and easily damaged but they're fun to build with. There is a polarity to them and the signal, power and ground have to come through the back of the jacket along with the glow wire.
You can do your own design for where you want what--but remember there will be some modification of the software if you use a different number of pixels and where they occur in the animation. Since the whole thing is goofy don't sweat the details and have fun. The cherry is a wrap of 4 pixels that I programmed to stay red on the animation.
The neopixel strips have to be glued to the leather. I stripped them out of their silicon sleeve to solder and mount them. Hot glue works pretty well but don't hesitate to reinforce them with Gorilla Super Glue which also holds well.
Step 4: Computer!
Strangely enough you need three batteries to run this getup...
A nine volt to run the Adafruit metro.
A pair of AA's to run the Bike Glow Wire.
Three AA's to run all the Neopixels they use a lot of power and you'll be dancing all night in the dark.
The wiring is easy--connect the data to pin 6 and the power to the neopixels to the 3 AA batteries. The ground from this power must be shared with the computer and the neopixels. The nine volt battery is directly connected to the bat and ground on the Metro. Download the program above to the Metro and it should fire up from then on with the batteries. The program is part of the stringtest program from Adafruit and little animation I added, but you can do anything you want and should experiment.
The battery case for the 3 AA's is from Adafruit and contains a on/off switch. I designed a leather holder for the battery and contact cemented the Metro to the leather and then contact cemented all to the back of the battery holder to encapsulate all the wire connections.