Making an El-Wire Sign

Yesterday we made an el-wire sign. El wire (electroluminescent wire) is a thin copper wire that is coated in phosphor to give a glow when AC (alternating current)  is applied to it. El-Wire can be used for structure decorating, clothes,toys, emergency lighting etc.

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First we chose a pre-given image and laser etched it on a piece of black acrylic.

I chose an airplane for my design, which later, I learned was a bad idea.

After sanding and wiping out any excess burnt pieces, we went to the metal bender. The metal bender bends the acrylic using heat.

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As you might see, the bend part on top of the hot surface is wavy. It looks like a heat wave.

For the final step, we threaded in the El-Wire onto the sign. There was a problem. To help the continuity of the circuit there were holes that were laser etched in the acrylic. However, the holes were too small to fit in the wire. Using a drill, we drilled larger holes to help the El-Wire. Next, using superglue, we glued the wire down to the acrylic piece by piece.

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Drilling with the help of a classmate.
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Threading the El-Wire

I had some trouble in this part because my design had a lot of places to bend the wire. However, the El-wire would only bend so far so I had to invent my own pieces. It didn’t turn out as I expected. 😦


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Doesn’t it look like a ghost?

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