Intro: Star Trek USS Enterprise Phaser Red Shirt
Note that this is a red shirt. Only the cool people wear red shirts.
WARNING: Extreme geekiness bordering on the edge of the universe. You could take an eye out with that thing. Not a toy. Use only in controlled geek conditions. Learn how to solder and use all kinds of irons safely.
Firing the lazzors...
I sprayed some air freshener to mist the air so the laser beam would show. I need to wait for Halloween when they dump the fog machines.
Step 1: Find Dilithium Crystals...
No, you don't need to find Dilithium. Trouble does go looking for Lithium Rain though, most illogical.
For this you will need to create the dual laser module with white LED saucer lights.
I salvaged the parts from two small laser pointers that I found at the dollar store. They are a combination LED flashlight and red laser pointer.
For the shirt, I found a shirt at the outlet mall that was pretrimmed with black in the neck and sleeves. It fit the look of The Original Series Star Trek uniform. You can always add the collar trim and sleeve braid to a solid color shirt of your choosing.
You will need an inkjet printer to print out the ship and the starfleet crew badge. Print out on dark iron on transfer paper and iron it on to the shirt.
You will need a piece of iron on fusible interfacing to reinforce the area where the laser module is attached to the shirt.
Other materials and skills needed are the tools to do soldering and some essential tools for electronics work.
Step 2: Mod the Lazzors...
You need to figure out how to extract your laser modules from the laser pointers.
Because they were a find a the dollar store, I picked up a few because you always need a spare when hacking import electronics.
The back screwed on for the battery compartment. I could only extract the black spacer tube.
Looking inside, I assumed the front bezel might have been screwed on also.
There was a small chunk of foam that pressed the tiny circuit board up to the plastic hat button caps.
I gripped the bezel and body tube with 2 pliers to twist out the front bezel. The front bezel just pops straight out.
I had twisted the circuit board breaking the connection to the brass laser module. I trashed this first one.
I was able to pull straight out the following two laser modules. You have to press the button caps in the tube so it would slide out with the circuit board.
Once you get the circuit boards out, you need to figure out how they work,
Draw a diagram on where the power goes to. Since we will be replacing the coin cell batteries with a battery pack and relocating the switches, you need to remember how everything was hooked up.
Time to break out the solder sucker. Desolder the switches and remove the battery contact spring.
I had tried to desolder a tactile switch by grabbing it with needlenose pliers. I pulled the switch apart by grabbing it the wrong way. Good thing I was able to put it back together. Cheap electronics has cheap parts. The quality of solder cheap import goods use is atrocious and is real hard to get off cleanly. Apply too much heat and the circuit traces pull off the board. So go easy in the demolition phase.
I just used a chunk of cat 5e ethernet cable as my extention wires for the switches. It has 4 color coded twisted pairs which makes it great to use for the wiring harness.
Extend the switches and power connections.
Step 3: Command Module...
Cut out a small piece of perfboard to remount the switches.
Since we have a pair of laser pointers, there is a set of switches for each laser module and each light LED.
The perfboard also gives us something solid to push against.
Wire the battery pack to the power cables from the laser pointers. Hook up the laser pointers in parallel so they are powered off the one battery pack.
So if you are thinking about making this a real wearable soft circuit, just substitute the extension wires with conductive thread and maybe make soft switches.
Step 4: Fire One! Fire Two!
So at each step, check your solder joints and everything. TEST, TEST, TEST.
I found it was tough to resolder a wire onto the switches that were desoldered from the circuit board. The switch leads needed a cleaning and a good retinning. The holes on the circuit board were no better. The connection to the switches had to be redone a few times to get them reliable.
I had burnt out each of the white LEDs that came with the laser pointer. A burst from a bigger battery pack might have done them in. They also did not have resistors so they might have just worked with the tiny coin cells. I had to solder in new white LEDs and a 100 ohm resistor in the circuit.
Step 5: Secure All Stations...
Insulate all the exposed contacts where it may short out.
Wrap the module in electrical tape and tidy up the wiring harness.
Cut out a piece of plastic from plastic packaging to use as a mounting board.
Hot glue the laser modules and LEDs into the position you want them to shine.
Secure it again with more wraps of electrical tape.
Yeah, you could have embedded everything in a blob of epoxy putty, sugru or 3-d printed a custom mounting plate.
Step 6: Make a Shirt Classier...
Find a suitable image of your starship. My preference is for the NCC-1701 from Star Trek: TOS. The pose of the ship will determine how you need to aim the lasers.
Find a suitable image of the starfleet crew badge.
I will not include any of the images for download since they are easy to search for.
Print it out onto a fabric page or an iron on transfer sheet.
Follow directions on how to do the iron on transfer. These were iron on transfers for dark fabric so you had to print a non-mirrored image, peel off, and then iron on. I used a piece of cooking parchment paper as the protective sheet to iron on the transfers.
Cut a piece of iron on fusible interfacing that is about the size of the starship saucer. Hold the shirt up to the light and position on the inside so you can reinforce the area where you will cut to mount the laser module.
Step 7: Let There Be Light...
Cut a slit so that the laser module and LEDs can stick out of the shirt.
You now have the option of sewing everything in place or just slap on some duct tape.
I didn't think this far but you could sew some Jefferies tubes to encase the wiring harness and sew pockets for the switch panel and battery pack.
So, go where no one has gone before...put some phasers in your shirt.
Randofo, I'm looking at you to make the phaser pasties or phasers that shoot out of your pants.
It's somewhere....out there...
Oh, and definitely don't make a hoodie and wear it at the airport.