Since I really wanted to light up parts of my upcoming Nasus costume, and last year was my first experience with lighting up anything in a costume (my fairy wand), I decided to start this part of the costume first. I did learn a bit from that first experience – namely that I wanted to go through the trouble of soldering things together this time since my electrical tape method was finicky.
As usual, I began hunting for things I needed on Amazon. Some of these items I actually bought a while back, thinking I would make a prop for my Rainbow Dash costume, but didn’t have the time.
1. A small soldering kit – $15
2.Various colored LEDs (came with a bunch of resistors included as well) – $4
3. A breadboard for testing – $8
4. Some wires (with easy links for the breadboard) – $5
5. Toggle Switches – $6
6. Heat shrink wrap – $7
I wired a practice circuit to the breadboard with some help from my hubby, using white lights, since I knew I would need as many of the green LEDs as I could get my hands on. Then I soldered together a practice circuit.
I did this out on the porch since there was a bit of smoke involved – Jesse thought the fire alarm might go off (it didn’t). The black contraption at the edge of the photo is a vice-like wig stand that I used to tape wires to so that I could use both of my hands for soldering – one for the iron and one for the soldering material. Someday in the future, I may buy something like this, which would be infinitely better. I had a damp sponge nearby to clean the tip of the iron after each solder, and some heat shrink standing buy so that I could cut it and place it over the wires as I soldered.
I’m glad I practiced a bit first, but it wasn’t that difficult to do. Here is an example of one of my soldered joints.
Once my practice circuit was complete, I setup another circuit, this time with the green lights. I also added in a toggle switch to turn the lights off and on.
I knew I would need three light circuits for my Nasus costume – one for the gem on the lower body armor, one for the gem on the chest piece, and one for the gem on the axe. I had 10 green LEDs and opted to try for 3 lights in each circuit. The biggest issue I had soldering these together was the toggle switches. They have 6 tiny pins attached to them, and they ave very short. The soldered connections I put there were flaky at best on some of the circuits. When they got too troublesome, I decided to remove them. I think I would up with only one of my three circuits having a switch. Oh well, it was a PITA. Below are my completed circuits for Nasus!
To activate the heat shrink wrap over my soldered connections, I used my trusty heat gun to apply heat to the wrap, and it just shrinks right up and protects the connections. Super useful stuff, way better than electrical tape. However, be careful when heating these, the covering on the wires nearby can melt.
Hopefully these will hold up well during DragonCon! I am definitely bringing some extra batteries and some electric tape. But I think the soldering iron will stay home.