Wednesday, September 26, 2012

No Light Cycle Required

I'm only a few days away from running in the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 mile road race down in Disney World Florida and since it's at night and "costumes are encouraged" I'll be wearing a Tron inspired running shirt consisting of 30 feet of electroluminecent wire.

Even shows up pretty well with the lights on.


There are 4 separate EL wire lines in this costume: two ten foot blue wires, and two five foot "flame red" wires.  All four lines feed into one sleek small power source juiced by a 9v battery.  Much...much lighter than the 8 AA monstrosity I had wired up for the hoodie.

After checking multiple manufacturers I can't find honest to god true "red" EL Wire.   Everyone that calls their brand "red" is actually more of an orange red, a pinkish red, or a purplish red . Some sites even had their photos doctored to make it look more red and less what I've seen more honestly marketed as "flame red".  All that said EL wire is actually becoming more and more common.  You can but it at a local party needs store like iParty now all hooked up to a battery pack and ready to go.

I buy these cheap muscle shirts at Sears for various running shirt projects.  It turns out they don't actually guarantee you'll add muscle when you put them on.  I think it's false advertising personally.

If I had more time I'd do some basting, or essentially loosely "pre-sew" the wire to the fabric.  Instead Scotch tape and a bunch of string I'm using as a guide will have to do.  I also mark up some vital points in chalk.

The giant gap in the center is where my running bib number will go.  Originally I wanted to put an EL panel with a running design in it (basically a thinner/flatter version of EL wire that you see in the picture there) but apparently the rules for the race state that I have to have the bib number at the center of my chest and not on my shorts or lower torso.  I could maybe get away with it, but I'm  probably already going to stand out enough in this outfit.

Previously I used 2lb tensions fishing line for my glowing hoodie project.  This time I upgraded to 4lb.  I noticed even though I used the same brand it had a habit of tangling up more frequently.  With thickness and strength you sometimes sacrifice flexibility.

I use a curved needle most of the time. From what I understand curved needles are usually reserved for stitching upholstery, or fixing quilts.  Personally I just find it easier to use. 

 I sew like a blind nun with arthritis using a rusty fishing hook.  So I've reinforced some parts of the wire to the shirt with textile glue.  I don't like the fact that the glue dries a bit shiny, but I wanted to give my self a little extra insurance since I'm going to moving around quite a bit in this thing.

My design does loop from the front to the back a couple times.  Just trying to get the most out of the two continuous 10ft feeds of blue wire.

Even though I did take measurements from the seams to the wires I'm not too worried about it being perfectly symmetrical. Namely because the wire will naturally warp to how the fabric moves with the rest of my body.  Also the whole thing is pretty flexible so I can tweak the corners and bends a bit after the fact even if they're glued and sewed in place.

The 4 connectors all loop together in the back and feed into one wire which then goes to the 9v power source.

Unfortunately it's a little tight around the neck so I have to dislocate my shoulder like Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon to put it on.  Once on it fits great though and should be comfortable to run in.

 That little bit of red that's crossing under the blue is nothing a little electrical tape can't fix.

Now all I've got to do is survive for 10 miles in this thing....