Tuesday, May 17, 2011

eTextiles: Blue Wave Diode Bangle

I feel fortunate that my first LED bangle worked out so well after having issues with wiring this piece.  I made one, it was working but seemed to be ebbing instead of twinkling. I assumed that was a product of sparkle. Since it's stopped working I'm wondering if I crossed my threads just enough to make it act weird and then fizzle out.  So I re-made the whole piece but changed some of the structural design. 

Here is the second piece working really well.  I am so excited about having an on/off switch now!

I had some major learning curves in this second piece, so here's what I changed from the first blue bangle to the second.  Some of it may have helped the second one work better, I'm not for sure though.  I am just trying to break down all of the possible problems from the first one.

#1: Structure: LED sequins are fragile. 
I am really rough on my work when I'm beading.  I break metal needles forcing them through beads while reinforcing pieces all of the time.  It never occurred to me that the LED lights were fragile too, whoops, my mistake!  They are durable, but this second bangle I did I broke 2 lights and conductive thread doesn't layer in very well for repairs.
I also used the lights as part of the structure of this bangle causing more stress on the LED sequin in this design.  I went back to my original design where the LED are "free floating" woven within the piece.  I actually created a beaded netting to hold the two end pieces together and not only was it easy to weave the LEDs in, but the blue lights glow into the clear beads in the netting creating a great effect.
structure photo

#2: Conductive Threading.
I have never paid much attention to where my thread is going within the beads before.  I think I may have shorted this one out due to one or two things:  1) my threads are touching somewhere within the woven part or b) I used seed beads with silver content and they may be touching other things.
#3: Metal Content in Seed Beads
I had thought about this before I even started in on using the conductive thread in my beadwork, but I was only considering "silver lined" beads to be a potential problem.  This is where the bead has a clear or clear-colored glass exterior and the hole of the bead is lined in a silver that causes a particular look for the bead.  This bangle I had pick out some silver delicas to use in the two end pieces, but forgot that they actually have silver in the content of the bead, interior and exterior.

Original Design #FAIL that I spoke of:

The Blue Wave Diode was finished last week, I blogged it, then something crashed, so here goes again.

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