CoolNeon (Electroluminescent Wire) Projects
- Celtic knotwork trenchcoat. ~100 hrs,
80 feet of elwire (40 in each color). includes
sewing down by hand with invisible monofilament thread (including
3 soldering sessions over last 5 years to fix after wires
short-circuited at frequent fold point). elaborate front,
continues along bottom of coat all the way around the back. first pic by somebody with a real camera outside at night, others with bad iphone camera inside.
- bike vest round 2. 12 hrs, thread 50+ feet of two different
colors of wire through vest. duplicating design by Max Read of
her own vest, which
took her who knows how many more hours to create. upside: looks much
cooler than first prototype. hidden on the
shoulders are spots with spare stashes of wire in case later
soldering is needed. downside: i thought this design was safe to roll and
store for travel, but that was a bad idea - within first month
that had made many fold
points starting to decay as shown in last closeup picture. needs to
be treated with care.
- bike vest round 1. 3 hrs, thread 40 feet of wire through existing
mesh symmetrically. vest already has retroreflective material
so it's bright when hit by car lights, and elwire makes it
bright when you're *not* lit by cars/streetlights. need medium
diameter to fit through mesh, can't use thick (hellaphat) wire. upside: easy to
make, minimal design and threading time. can fit battery+driver in
ziplock baggie in existing back middle pocket of vest. should use
drive with on-off switch that can toggle through baggie. downside:
looks too much like pink butterfly, wire density low enough in
front that not bright enough.
- bike decoration: wind symmetrically around/through bike
frame/basket. find where you left your bike amidst 500 others!
30 min, 40 feet of wire (arguably overkill).
no pix :-(
- vest decoration: add to laceup vest. 2 min.
- anything with existing lacing/grommets is great for quick elwire
additions. ditto for mesh with holes of right size. ditto for
struts that you can wrap wire around.
- think about where the battery/driver can be kept.
- good: existing
pockets in garment. double-sided velcro attaching to corner of bike
- bad: try to lash a pouch to your thigh with
electrical tape. heavy driver on top of hat so it's topheavy
and/or makes your neck tired.
- waterproofing driver/battery if it will be outdoors.
- so far I've just used ziplock baggie when could have direct
- trenchcoat pocket works fine for shelter without anything else
- who can wear/use it?
- tailored to you alone, vs lendable to others?
- what do you want to be able to do in it?
- dance indoors? then tight-fitting but not so warm is fine
- walk/dance/be outdoors? consider outer layer that can be worn
in almost any temperature, either solo or with warm stuff
- bike? then long coats/skirts not so practical.
- how long to get it on/off
- a few seconds - taking off coat? fine.
- 30 min - wiring up bike for the week on the playa? fine.
- an hour - putting on elaborate costume for one night of use? ok only if
- of course, often inversely proportional to how much time you
sunk into making it...
- do you want to make a temporary thing where you can reuse object
and/or elwire later, or do you want to attach with permanent methods?
- how do you transport it when you're *not* wearing/using it?
design flaw in knotwork trenchcoat is that scrunching it up to
stuff in bike basket / bag led to frequent fold point near
chest, eventually shorted out around there multiple times.
future idea: build in fold points with normal wire and/or
- bike vest original idea was to have connectors at fold points,
didn't get around to it yet. am trying it out for a while
in rough draft mode (may never change).
- although back of coat seems like a great place to show off a
cool design, remember that on playa you will almost always be wearing
backpack/camelpak that obscures that spot!
Ultimate Beginners Guide to Soldering Cool Neon Wire.
Jeremy's fantastic instructions are a completist's dream!
- CoolNeon one-pager, designed for easy printing
- NeonString has good step by step instructions with close-up photos at each stage. Doesn't print out so well.
- Skellington instructions. Need to click through to see image details, definitely not for printing
- Tribe thread for tips on the "how the hell do you strip the outer layer without cutting the tiny angelhair wires along the way" problem
- Three cheers for copper foil tape, makes life *way* easier! I got it at
Main Electronics Supplies, Main and 30th.
- Anti-tip: it's an utter pain in the ass to learn to solder on the
playa, with a loud generator burning through somebody else's fuel
while the sun sets, bad music blares, and your makeshift table
topples. Avoid if at all possible.
Last modified: Fri Jul 25 12:14:50 PDT 2014