TL;DR: I finished the EL headbands I’ve been working on :D.
I finished up the electroluminescent headbands I described in my post a few weeks ago here. Since my prototype was close to the final product, completing the production was fast after I received the custom fabric components.
As in the prototype, EL wire was passed through the printed channels and
connected to a DC to AC inverter for power. I found nifty coin battery sized
inverters, which fit directly on the bands without too much interference. The
most time consuming portion of the build was attachment of the plastic to the
fabric, since I’m bad at hand sewing.
Here’s the build gallery:
Here’s a bonus gif, with a little preview of a flag project I’ve been working on as well…
TL;DR: For my friend Teddy’s birthday, I made him a hypebeast worthy (if I
do say so myself) Supreme EL box.
My good friend Teddy is one of the biggest hypebeasts I know, so I wanted to
make something he would like. I went back to the EL wire well again for this
project (see: headbands http://www.andrewpip.com/2019/03/28/el-wire-lighted-headbands/
and sign <http://www.andrewpip.com/2019/04/07/faux-neon-signage>).
However, I needed to dig into my paint supplies dating all the way back to my
Iron Man Mask (http://www.andrewpip.com/2018/05/06/infinity-war-masks).
Conceptually, this project was relatively simple:
I made a box.
I cut some channel shaped holes in the box.
I painted the box.
I put my wire through the box.
I gave Teddy the box.
For this project, honestly I think the gallery will explain things better than I can in words, so here it is (it looks nicer if you click to open the full-sized images):
TL;DR: For my friend Gina’s birthday, I made her a faux-neon sign to
decorate her new condo with. I ended up making a few different versions of this
sign and through the process, I learned several useful tricks to speed up
vector image modifications, which will definitely make it easier for me going
I continued playing with el wire since I bought so much for my headband project. Since my friend’s birthday was coming up, I figured it was a great opportunity to make something cool with it. I decided to make a faux-neon sign reading “Mama G’s House”.
I started by searching for neon sign fonts on google and downloaded a few to
try out including “Warnes”, “La Patio Script”, “I am online with u”, and
“Fenotype Neon”. All of them were free to download, but not all of them were
free for commercial usage, which is fine for this project as I’m not selling
The first prototype I made used Warnes as the base font. I really liked how
the letters all connect at the bottom. However, I needed to do a bit of surgery
in Inkscape to connect the disparate words after vectorization:
I imported the SVG directly into a sketch Fusion 360 and resized it to
ensure I had a ~3mm wide channel all over. Next, I modified the sketch to
remove areas near the bottom where the lettering overlapped. In a fashion
similar to what I did for the EL headbands, I extruded a positive model of the
letters. Next, I needed to move the apostrophe body and combine it with the
rest of the lettering. Then, I created a sketch, offset the entire object, and
cleaned up the line overlapping lines created by the offset tool. After
extruding the outlined body, I cut the positive lettering model out:
After slicing the STL in Cura, and waiting about 3 hours for production, the
print came out pretty well:
However, with the physical model in front of me, I saw the font I used had a
few issues. Primarily, although the channels I made fit the el wire, there were
too many places where stringing it required a double back, which was not
accounted for. Oops. Luckily, I hadn’t spent a lot of time on this, and I
figured Gina could still use it as a nice decoration even without lighting
The next font I tried was called “I am online with u” which had the
advantage of being a single connected line. Although this font was more ideal out
of the box, I still needed to tweak the vector version to make it work
properly. Essentially, I just modified the “corners” of the letters to allow
for more space wherever they changed direction, I adjusted the spacing between
words and letters, and I moved and combined the apostrophe to overlap with the
My workflow in Fusion 360 was essentially identical to the one I used for
the previous version of the sign: import svg, scale, and clean up sketch ->
extrude a positive channel -> offset the body and extrude the outline ->
use the combine tool to cut the positive channel away from the outlined body. Unfortunately,
this part was a bit too big to fit on my printer in one piece, so I needed to
split it into two. The split created a physical weakness which I shored up by
creating a small base to hold it together and help the entire assembly stand
The print didn’t take very long—maybe about 4 hours in total for all the pieces. I was pretty happy with the results, and I think she was too 🙂