I just got new blades for my windshield wipers and the package instantly made me want to start sword fighting. Blinky light swords for painting with light?!?!!? YES!!!
You can create this project for:
Photography Special effects called Painting with light
Fun glowing sword for costumes
Fairy Princess Magic Wand
wiper blade cover
RGB LED tape with controller and battery - (controller lets it change colors and speed of blinking)
packing foam sheet
heat shrink tubes
These are example images of the painting with light done in the first couple nights of making this project.
The photos were shot at night in low light with manual exposure times from 2 seconds to 15 seconds, the f stop was typically about f8
Lots of experimenting will give you different results. Run through the image with the lights sword moving around. Where ever the lights can be seen by the open camera, the image will have streaking colors.
Step 1: Make Your Sword
The wiper blades that inspired this project were from goodyear. The package just seemed to be really useful for much more than just selling product. Swords yes! storage of long rods and stuff... yes, but that's another project.
I did a quick sketch on a folded paper to make the hilt symmetrical and traced it out on some 3/8" plywood. The handle was just about right for one of the batteries I would be using. I then cut it out on the band saw. Quick shaping and cleanup was done on a belt sander.
The wood is pretty flimsey by itself so I made some strengtheners for the hilt area. glue these on with wood glue and clamps. (scrap wood was used to help with the clamping)
Be sure it will all fit nicely in the clear tube.
Step 2: Attach the LED Light Tape
Solder battery connecter to your LED tape controller. I was using a 3s lipo battery with Deans connectors - your power source may vary according to what is available.
I drilled a slot in the tip of the sword for the LED tape to fit through. I know this will be played with rough and the slot will help protect the LEDs from damage whenever the sword is stabbed into anything solid.
When you are happy with the length needed, peel off the backing and apply to the sword. I went right to the hilt and the tape backing was able to fold and work it's way onto the hilt strengthener.
Test to see if it works.
Step 3: Cover Lights With Foam and Tape
I used 1/4" white foam that must have been packing material. I cut it into strips and glued them to the sword. The foam helps to protect and diffuse the LEDs and pad the sword a little.
I then wrapped the foam covered sword with hockey tape to bind it all together.
Be sure that the sword will still fit inside the clear tube. This will stiffen the sword and make it durable, or can be used as a scabbard instead.
I used a heat gun to soften the end of the wiper blade tube and then folded it to match the point of the sword. I held it in place until it was cool enough to retain the new shape.
Step 4: Enjoy Your Light Up Sword!
Doing painting with light is a lot of fun and really lets you be creative.
I constructed this project at the Tech shop in Menlo Park California.
They have all the tools I needed to make this project happen.
Runner Up in the
Make It Glow Contest