Need Insight on Glowing Mask Project

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Butterworth, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. Butterworth

    Thread Starter Active Member

    May 6, 2009
    135
    3
    Afternoon everyone,

    I have a project I need to complete by the end of this coming summer. But I am having issues trynig to find the right lighting type for the application.

    I need to create a back-light for a metal Lion Mask that has subtle cutouts in the eyes and nose and mouth. Once the lighting source is on, it should create a glow effect that you can see during the day time. There are a few catches though...

    1) The unit must be portable & battery operated.
    2) Limited to weight as the light(s) need to be fixed to the back of the mask.
    3) It needs to be able to fit in a carry-on sized bag for transport.

    I must say that I had already made an unit with 4x20k mc led's, but even that was barely enough to light up the back of the mask. I decided to go fresh on Ver.2, but need some ideas for lighting options to make the powerful "glow" behind the mask.

    I look forward to your input!
     
  2. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    5,981
    3,707
    Try using a diffuser (white plastic sheet or clear plastic buffed dull with 1000 grit sandpaper).

    Higher power LEDs are avaiable - up to multi-watt. Power could be saved by pulsing them instead of using constant power. Your eye doen't detect pulses over 100Hz and a reduction in duty cycle to 50% because of persistance of vision (i.e. your eye responds slowly to a turned off light).

    High-power / high capacity lithium polymer batteries are available that will run several watts for a long time - check out R/C airplane hobby stores for the batteries and charger.

    There are rules for transporting lithium batteries on airplanes so you may be better off buying new ones when you get to your destination and charge them there. Others may have more experience on the DOT rules of transporting lithium batteries.
     
  3. whatsthatsmell

    Active Member

    Oct 9, 2009
    102
    4
  4. Butterworth

    Thread Starter Active Member

    May 6, 2009
    135
    3
    I know what you mean about Li-ion batteries and transporting them. To ship one across the boarder (with a laptop for example) you need special papers marking it as a dangerous substance with the shipping company. Airports might not even allow it on the plane, so I might not want to explore that option just yet. For high power LED's, I need to diffuse the light, but testing it with the last lot proved to not work so well. I need to find something that will throw lots of outward (scattered) light. Might be hard to find.

    I have seen this before, not sure how bright it will be though. I need to be able to see it during the day. Have you ever used it before?
     
  5. whatsthatsmell

    Active Member

    Oct 9, 2009
    102
    4
    I have not used these before, but I think EL during the day would be tough. But, that also depends on the reflective properties of the mask and how much of a 'glow' you want too see.

    Will someone be wearing this mask? If so, that would limit the amount of light you will be able to produce on that side of the mask without blinding the wearer.

    If not, the diffused LEDS might be your best bet.

    You may want to give Adafruit a call and ask their opinion. They've got a ton of solutions for makers.

    Or check their forum subject on glowy things:

    http://forums.adafruit.com/viewforum.php?f=47&sid=8f406a208a13a9eee6537f373f279ca7
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  6. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    1,425
    363
    You'll need extremely bright lighting in daylight, so much that LEDs powerful enough would be too large, hot and heavy to wear on a person's face. You can build or buy a light source to inject the light into a bundle of plastic optical fibers which can pipe the light into a diffuser layer under the mask surface. The light source and it's power supply can be backpack mounted. Here's a link to give you some idea what I'm talking about.

    http://thefiberopticstore.com/
     
  7. Butterworth

    Thread Starter Active Member

    May 6, 2009
    135
    3
    To answer the question about a wearable mask, the answer is no, this is a mask that is wall mounted. Its approx. 24" tall by 18" wide. It is , from what I can tell, polished steel. The mask is above a small fireplace mantle. There is just enough room to hide a 2.5"X5" project box behind the mask, sitting on the mantle.

    I think its a huge issue to balance out the size of the led's with the brightness able to be seen during the day... ultimately, the best times to see it would be during the evening, but how big of an led are we talking? 3, 4 watts?
     
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