Sunday, March 3, 2013

Workshop Weekend: e-Textiles & Light Up Your Wardrobe!

This past weekend, my sister, Katherine Becvar, and I were super excited to host a Light Up Your Wardrobe workshop as part of the Workshop Weekend Event in Oakland.

It was a raving success!  Although we did learn a lot about hosting a workshop that involves using advanced soldering and electronics skills.  The workshop was scheduled to run from 1-3PM...but some of us didn't get out until 4:30.  That being said, everyone walked away with a light up project that worked!

The workshop started out with an introduction from my sister and me about our background and history in wearables.  We also showed off some of our favorite examples of light-up costumes from our stash.

We walked the class through the process of LED installation in clothing, using techniques inspired by our mentor, Janet Hansen.
Installing the LEDs, using buttons as backings.
Here is a light-up bra example showing the buttons inside (LEDs shine facing out).
Trimming the LED leads.
Wiring up the LEDs into a parallel circuit.
Check circuit, then seal off with hot glue.
Finally, add resistor and battery pack!

Students brought a variety of projects, including sweatshirts, jackets, t-shirts, and purses.  There was much crafting to be had!
Final steps in the light-up coat collar.
Here are some examples and their proud creators.
Light-up dog bandana - never lose your pooch at night!
Fabulous light-up top!
Katherine put together a wonderful handout that summarizes the process, gives shortcuts on resistor math, and has links to some helpful resources.

e-Textiles: Light Up Your Wardrobe
with Katherine Becvar and Amaya Becvar Weddle
Step 1: Design
Before you start, spend some time planning your project.  
Things to think about :
       light placement
       type of battery needed
       battery placement
       lining / wiring protection
       light treatment / diffusion
       channels or effects
       resistor math (V = iR)
       microcontrollers / channels

Step 2: Install your Lights
( 0.   prep-work? drilling holes or cutting LED leads to make them sharper)
1.      poke LEDs through fabric
2.      add button to the back
3.      fold over LED leads and mark positive + and negative -
            -  fold all the plusses one way and minuses the other
4.      Trim lead to edge of button

Step 3: Wiring and Soldering
1.      measure & cut wire harness parts, leaving a bit of slack between buttons
2.      strip wire ends
3.      twist wire ends together and "tin" (pre-apply solder)
4.      solder harness to button backs, starting farthest from where the batteries will go
4.      - save the battery for last; solder in switch and
5.      TEST the circuit!

Step 4: Finishing
1.       apply generous blobs of hot glue over your solder joints
1.-  test your circuit again
2.      sew in lining or covering over the wires, and enjoy your new awesome project!
e-Textiles: Light Up Your Wardrobe
        Instructables  (
        Particularly the one done by Enlighted Designs (our mentor, Janet Hansen)
        All Electronics
        Electronics Goldmine
Tool List
       LEDs - all one color, from the same manufacturer's batch
       2 - hole buttons
       resistor (~30 or ~50 ohms, depending on your light color)
       battery holder & batteries appropriate to the number of lights you're adding
       needlenose pliers
       cutting pliers
       wire strippers
       helping hands
       glue gun & glue
       permanent marker
       needle & thread
       scrap fabric to line your project with
       insulated wire (approx 20 gauge)

Resistor Math
Light color
Resistor Value
Light Color
Resistor Value
Red = 1.8-2.2V
50 ohms
White = 3.0-3.4V
20 ohms
Yellow = 1.8-2.2V
50 ohms
Blue = 3.0-3.4V
20 ohms
Orange = 1.8-2.2V
50 ohms
Pink = 3.0-3.4V
20 ohms
old Green = 1.8-2.2V
50 ohms
Purple = 3.0-3.4V
20 ohms
new Green = 3.0-3.4V
20 ohms
Aqua = 3.0-3.4V
20 ohms

Different light colors want different resistor values
Reduce the resistor values if you add more lights
(because more wire & LEDs increases the resistance in the circuit)