Heavy/Scratch: EL Wire Invisibility Box Basic Tutorial

Discussion in 'Radicons Customs' started by songrobin, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. songrobin

    songrobin Pastor

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2016
    Posts:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    132
    Location:
    Auburn, WA
    Likes:
    +839
    Ebay:
    Facebook:
    Twitter:
    Google+:
    Instagram:
    Flickr:
    YouTube:
    Tumblr:
    Pinterest:
    Here's a guide to building your very own EL invisibility box. Keep in mind that this wire is extremely easy to bend and will warp very easily when being handled. It is strictly for display purposes only!
    box.jpg DSC03523 (Large).JPG

    Before we begin, you will need to decide whether you want the orange or blue version. Orange is more toon accurate, but not bright and much thicker. I decided after a while to go with the blue since it contrasts better with my background on my display.
    DSC07057 (Large).JPG DSC07083 (Large).JPG

    First pick up some EL wire (available on ebay). You need minimum 63 inches (1.6m), so I highly recommend getting about 3m, to be prepared for mistakes. Make sure you get the USB or AC inverter attachment with it.
    s-l1600 (Large).jpg

    IF you are going with the blue version, take a wire stripper and strip out the jacket of the EL wire completely.
    DSC07043 (Large).JPG

    This next part is really annoying (and possibly avoidable). Use an x-acto blade on this inner wire and make a vertical cut about 1/8" to expose 3 more wires. Carefully separate the jacket and use a nail clipper to cut the 1/8" jacket piece off. The thick center wire is the EL core and you need to use the x-acto to scrape off the a good bit of the white phosphor covering expose the copper core.
    Straightjacket-heartbeat-EL-wire-prep-2.jpg

    Next, there are 2 VERY thin corona wires on either side of the core.
    el_wire_tape_panel_wireyank.jpeg

    Twist the 2 wires together and you should end up with an end-piece like the picture here. Be careful not to over-twist the corona wires as they'll likely break.
    DSC07048 (Large).JPG

    Overall you will need 12 pieces, one for each side of the box: the shorter ones are 4" each and the longer ones are 7" each. Since you will need 1/8" of exposed wire on each end, the actual lengths you want to cut are 4.25" and 7.25".
    DSC07046 (Large).JPG

    Since this is the most painful part of building this box. If you prefer to take a giant shortcut, you can simply bend the entire length of the EL wire into a box and you can avoid all the soldering. Keep in mind that it is not possible to create an entire box shape in this way without repeating a few of the sides twice. You can use a hot-glue gun (or glue of your choice) to stick the wires together.
    85329a5aa307a81a347ad6d94249b588--electroluminescent-wire-dance-costume.jpg

    In the end, take the end of the EL wire (or corner of the EL box) and solder it to your power source. Make sure that there's a clear gap between the positive & the negative wires after soldering it all together. (on all 8 vertices of the box as well as the connection to the power). Also keep in mind that you're working with AC power, not DC -- so if you touch both ends at the same time while active, you will end up with a shocking surprise. I learned this the hard way -- many times!
    DSC07044 (Large).JPG

    Once finished, it should look something like this. Keep in mind that it is very difficult (if not impossible) to get the wires to be 100% straight.
    DSC07056 (Large).JPG

    I used Tint It (Sunflower) spray paint to paint it up yellow, so at least it will look toon accurate when the lights are out.
    DSC07076 (Large).JPG

    For maximize brightness, you may want to avoid the spray paint altogether. Regardless, I am very happy with the result on my display. I don't know if the natural phosphor color of EL always shines blue, but I've grown to like it as it makes a nice contrast to my orange display -- and it matches the color scheme of Mirage anyways. That being said, if I find an jacket-less amber version somewhere, I'll probably find myself upgrading this yet again!
    DSC07081 (Large).JPG

    Thanks for checking it out! Feel free to ask any questions you have and I'll be happy to share what I know!
    DSC07086 (Large).JPG
     
    • Like Like x 6
  2. shiftypenguin

    shiftypenguin Fancy-Pantsless Dancer

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Posts:
    3,260
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    217
    Location:
    Iowa
    Likes:
    +1,195
    Brilliant!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    Posts:
    48,052
    News Credits:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Likes:
    +238
    Awesome, and thanks so much for posting it here!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Randym2002

    Randym2002 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2016
    Posts:
    122
    Trophy Points:
    42
    Likes:
    +97
    Ha I've soldered hundreds of L-wire strips..:p 
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Randym2002

    Randym2002 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2016
    Posts:
    122
    Trophy Points:
    42
    Likes:
    +97
    Ha I've soldered hundreds of L-wire strips..:p 
    Actually have drivers and many diff color of wire.
     
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page