Forums > Technical Discussion > Aran & Andy's Workshop Thread

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akgraphics
SILVER Member since Jun 2006

akgraphics

member
Location: Churchill College, Cambridge, ...

Total posts: 133
Posted:This is my workshop thread - I have a lot of spinning-related projects on the go at the moment, and I'd like to use this thread as a sounding board for my ideas, and gain some feedback as I post images of my progress, and hopefully get some ideas! These toys are either for personal use, or for the fire troupe i'm a part of http://firetroupe.org



Here is a table of contents of sorts



Sub-10 glow staff (posted)

EL wire costumes and accessories

- EL Wire Masquerade mask (in progress)

- EL wire jacket / blazer (concept)

Collapsible Modular Staff (awaiting parts to arrive from ebay - to be made using telescopic hiking poles as a base)





So. ... first project! Cheap glow staff: not that successful, while cheap, was flimsy as hell and very difficult to control the planes and required a lot of effort to keep the momentum up. Was 6 though ... can't complain!










In the wonderfulness of Christmas-themed Canterbury, on the high streets were market stalls selling those cheap nasty light-saber ripoffs that look like they've come off the back of lorries. Well I was curious and bought two, they were just 3 each.



When I got home, I took the hilt apart, and each lightsaber was being powered by 3 AA batteries. I took the covers off, and taped the two hilts together with a bit of foam in between (ooh dear just realised replacing batteries may be a problem now, oh well onwards).




Non-Https Image Link




I took them for a spin, and they're SO bright and wonderful! The only problem is that they're really difficult to spin, as 95% of the weight of the staff is in the centre, with the 6 AA batteries. The shafts are just hollow plastic, presumably with a few bright blue LEDs near the hilt being projected upwards.



My hand sometimes turns the blades off by accident ... the buttons are in silly positions! Also the two lightsabers seem to be different hues of blue - ah well you get what you pay for rolleyes



I know that making the ends heavier would solve that, but the shafts are kinda wobbly, and i think any drop or fall would crack the plastic, and weighting the ends would just make that worse ... a fun tea-time project though, and it made me happy, because it looks like a lightsaber in the video biggrin and i love star wars biggrin


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Non-Https Image Link

EDITED_BY: akgraphics (1182071526)


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Fire_Moose
SILVER Member since May 2007

Fire_Moose

Elusive and Bearded
Location: Scottsdale, AZ, USA

Total posts: 3597
Posted:Soooo.... have you guys started an order form?

O.B.E.S.E.

Owned by Mynci!

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akgraphics
SILVER Member since Jun 2006

akgraphics

member
Location: Churchill College, Cambridge, ...

Total posts: 133
Posted:Re invisible ends: maybe a simple white LED on the end caps would get rid of the problem. There is simply nowhere else for the batteries to go except on the ends!

Order form poje? Hold your horses smile we're spending at least 3 years and 3 prototypes developing this thing - this mk.1 is very shabby and nowhere near sellable (at least when turned off) - unless we were after a fast buck, we wouldn't sell it. I think andy wanted to document the stages of construction on a website, so anyone could build it, or pay us to build it, but I'd personally like to wait til after mk2 before doing that, to get a more polished product.

Hyperlight, switching off the lights looks good in Yakumo's avatar ... I also think our colour bands last too long. Andy any thoughts?


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crazy_andy


newbie


Total posts: 21
Posted:not sure about switching the lights off, that would lead to strobbing, which we are trying to avoid, and how do you mean the colour bands last too long?

On the note of selling, I agree with Aran, if you really want one, then pm / email one of us, we'll let you know the prioblems with it, and give you a quote, but I reccomend you wait a bit, till at lest mark 2


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*HyperLight
BRONZE Member since Dec 2003

*HyperLight

old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]

Total posts: 1174
Posted:I use something like 5-10ms gaps to define the bands of colour which can look pretty good.

3 years is a fair amount of time to get a decent product... I really hope you guys follow through to the end because it's a really rewarding experience which I'm getting towards the end of.

It's pretty tricky trying to avoid having 'invisible' ends. I've been trying to think of ways around it for a hyperstaff and I've still not some up with any solutions I'm entirely happy with.

Keep up the good work - looking very impressive thus far smile


Cake or Death?

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LazyAngel
GOLD Member since Jul 2004

LazyAngel

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Cambridge UK

Total posts: 2895
Posted:about the invisible ends: would EL (that glowing wire stuff: spot the non techy) work?

otherwise I think a single white led would work fine: I agree the batteries at the end is a good idea (weight/access wise), just its really helpful to know how much leeway youi have sometimes


Because ActiveAngel sounds like a feminine deodorant

Like sex, I'm much more interesting in real life than online.

'Be the change you want to see in the world around you' - Ghandi

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akgraphics
SILVER Member since Jun 2006

akgraphics

member
Location: Churchill College, Cambridge, ...

Total posts: 133
Posted:EL wire is fun and indestructible, though a little on the dim side. Perfect for the ends, except that EL wire only glows with a high-frequency AC current flowing through it - which is why EL wire runs off inverter packs, usually built-into the battery pack when you buy EL-wire kits. As far as I know, these inverters are rather bulky ... basically, taking up more room inside the shaft of the polycarb tube than we want - space will always be at a premium inside. We could mount components/ batteries on the outside, but you can imagine how frail that would be .... SMACK! ... nice idea though, I do dearly love EL wire!

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LazyAngel
GOLD Member since Jul 2004

LazyAngel

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Cambridge UK

Total posts: 2895
Posted:hmm: bang goes that idea

how about UV leds with shining on an translucent end painted with UV reactive paint? (that glow in the dark stuff)


Because ActiveAngel sounds like a feminine deodorant

Like sex, I'm much more interesting in real life than online.

'Be the change you want to see in the world around you' - Ghandi

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*HyperLight
BRONZE Member since Dec 2003

*HyperLight

old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]

Total posts: 1174
Posted:I reckon normal LEDs are likely to look better to be honest.. they'd certainly be brighter!

Cake or Death?

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crazy_andy


newbie


Total posts: 21
Posted:Well guys and girls, I'm setting off in about 2 hours for nowhere smile Mark 1 is as ready as it will ever be, bar one wire that needs soldering in, to stop a floating connection causing odd interrupts. Its plasti-dipped to an odd effect, its definetly more grippy, and diffuses the light a bit more, but doesn't look too good in the light, too many bumps etc. We have interrupts in allowing us to change pattern based on the press of a button, instead of by time, and the last i tried, it was spinnable, without crashing smile

If it survives nowhere, then I'll be pimping it out at Play festival afterwards, where I look forward to meeting you all. If in doubt as to who I am, I"ll be the one that makes little sense and is usually not in a coherant state of mind. biggrin


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akgraphics
SILVER Member since Jun 2006

akgraphics

member
Location: Churchill College, Cambridge, ...

Total posts: 133
Posted:Andy, I'm sure that could describe nearly anyone at Play smile

BTW: 'interrupts' are how we're describing a button that, when pressed, 'interrupts' the currently displayed pattern and changes forward to the next pattern. Odd interrupts were caused in our staff by having some inputs to our microprocessor 'floating' - All unused pins must be at 0V, or 'High' (4.8V in our case) - if a pin is at neither (floats) - trouble begins.


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LazyAngel
GOLD Member since Jul 2004

LazyAngel

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Cambridge UK

Total posts: 2895
Posted:aha: saving on leds and hopefully space as well, how about fiber optics going up through the center of the battery or round the sides , into a fan shape inclosed in a transparent cap? so that you can use existing light from the staff to light up the ends

(sorry, I'm probably getting silly about this now)


Because ActiveAngel sounds like a feminine deodorant

Like sex, I'm much more interesting in real life than online.

'Be the change you want to see in the world around you' - Ghandi

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*HyperLight
BRONZE Member since Dec 2003

*HyperLight

old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]

Total posts: 1174
Posted:Are the buttons anywhere that's likely to get knocked or do you have to hold them down to change patterns? Otherwise, I can imagine it getting a little annoying if you keep accidentally pressing things when you don't want to!

Cake or Death?

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akgraphics
SILVER Member since Jun 2006

akgraphics

member
Location: Churchill College, Cambridge, ...

Total posts: 133
Posted:I love the idea of fiber optics! biggrin definately gonna play with that one biggrin - i *think* if you coil fiber optics tightly enough, they leak light out of the sides instead of being internally reflected - definately worth playing with - when I'm back from Nowhere, I'll hunt for cheap fiber optic cable on ebay (or get some toys to play with smile )

The buttons are inside the shaft - so when you want to press them, you have to take off the end-caps unfortunately. Small price to pay to make sure the buttons don't press themselves everytime you drop the thing. iPod-style buttons that only 'click' when you brush your finger over them would be COOL.


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Yakumo
SILVER Member since May 2006

Yakumo

veteran
Location: Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Total posts: 1237
Posted:cracked fiber will lose a lot of it's light along the way, this is why there's EL wire, but that comes with it's own set of problems

Blinded by Hyperlights, please donate generously grin

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crazy_andy


newbie


Total posts: 21
Posted:ok, bad news everyone, it was very tempormental and we couldn't show it off at nowhere, and hence its not going to play either frown Aran has it, and is going to multilate it, and then re-graft it together to make a horrible monst.... er i mean work.

Anyway, we are definetly going to work on this problem for mark 2. We have several good ideas to stop internal movement, and hence stop it dieing on us.


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Fire_Moose
SILVER Member since May 2007

Fire_Moose

Elusive and Bearded
Location: Scottsdale, AZ, USA

Total posts: 3597
Posted:We have the technology......we can rebuild it.

O.B.E.S.E.

Owned by Mynci!

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akgraphics
SILVER Member since Jun 2006

akgraphics

member
Location: Churchill College, Cambridge, ...

Total posts: 133
Posted:*aran pulls down huge lever, a huge arc of lightning surges down and strikes the glow staff*

smile it liiiives smile

...and it is coming to PLAY

huzzah!


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crazy_andy


newbie


Total posts: 21
Posted:It made it smile and took a heavy beeting with no probs what so ever (it was being used as a devil stick for a short time)

Mark 2 is starting, just ordered 2 5ft / 1.5m staves from flow toys.

We'll keep you updated


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akgraphics
SILVER Member since Jun 2006

akgraphics

member
Location: Churchill College, Cambridge, ...

Total posts: 133
Posted:
Non-Https Image Link




Side by side comparison on Streetlights glowsticks and our staff being spun side by side. I've tried, and no, our staff doesn't work as a mobile phone (I swear it was ringing!)



Oh so much more eye-candy generated by Dave and his photo-box, please click here:



http://www.flickr.com/photos/davekp/sets/72157601582922230/?page=2



@LazyAngel, you can see in the photo that we've added little blue 'pilot lights' on the very ends of the staff - no more excuses for hitting yourself then! biggrin

EDITED_BY: akgraphics (1187808921)


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Fire_Moose
SILVER Member since May 2007

Fire_Moose

Elusive and Bearded
Location: Scottsdale, AZ, USA

Total posts: 3597
Posted:very nice

O.B.E.S.E.

Owned by Mynci!

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