My company had a futuristic Christmas party. I wanted to wear something cool and different so I came up with this post-apocalyptic hi-tech respirator "which eliminates all the toxins from air and provides the wearer some useful nutrients."
So what tricks does it do? Six blue LEDs on the respirator make rotating and swiping patterns. The patterns are accelerating, slowing down and then changing to the next pattern. Red LEDs that are on Arduino glow through the respirator which looks pretty neat as well.
I also made glowing eyes with UV LEDs to go with a costume (inspiration came from here and there).
Step 1: Parts
9V battery Small Arduino (I used Nano but Pro Mini or similar should be as good) 9V battery clip Respirator/dust mask Solder Perfboard Some wire 6 x 3 mm (blue) LEDs 6 x 220 Ohm resistors. I guess you can safely use less resistive resistors (like 100 Ohms) to get brighter results, but 220 was the weakest I had at the moment.
Step 2: Tools
Soldering iron Tools for cutting wires, perfboard, component legs and respirator Computer with appropriate cables Arduino IDE software or similar (I used Visual Studio 2010 with Visual Micro)
Step 3: Align the key components
Make holes to the respirator where you want blue LEDs to come through. The respirator I had, had perfect hollows for that. Turn over the respirator so that it forms a bowl and put the LEDs into the holes you just made. Cut the perfboard into the right size, so that it will fit in the respirator afterwards. For that you can lay the respirator on top of the perfboard and draw the shape of the respirator on the perfboard with a marker. Be extra careful not to make contact between the respirator and marker while using this method! Lay the shaped perfboard on top of the LEDs so that the legs of LEDs will come through the holes of the perfboard. This is the most difficult part of the project because it is not easy to get all the 12 legs come through straight. Patience is the key here. Bend the legs slightly so the LEDs will not fall off the perfboard. Take a note of the good distance between the perfboard and the respirator. This is really important. I failed on doing that with my first LED. You can notice this on the pictures.
Step 4: Connect the electronic components
Solder the legs to Arduino if needed. Put Arduino in the center of the perfboard. Solder a few legs to Arduino to stay firm. Plan and place all the resistors. There should be enough room left for the ground and control wires. Try to place the resistors as far from Arduino as possible. Put resistor's one leg just to the next hole from LED's anode (+) (longer leg) so that it will be easy to solder those legs together. Bend resistors' legs so they don't fall off. Solder LEDs, resistors, control wires and ground wires one by one. For the control wires choose Arduino pins D2 to D12. It really doesn't matter which LED's wire goes to which pin from those because we can set them all up in the code afterwards. Solder the battery clip.
Step 5: Code and test
Connect Arduino to your computer. Download the code and open it with your IDE. Adjust the pin numbers in the code according to your design if needed. Run the code.
In the first pattern LEDs are turning on and off one by one. Starting from upper right and ending at upper left, showing a circular clockwise movement. If you don't see the rotation then check the pin numbers in the code. If the pin numbers are correct, check the electronics for any shorts or loose ends.
Step 6: Finishing
Once you have successfully completed the electronics part, it is finally time to wear it.
Insert electronics inside the respirator. Push LEDs through holes. Attach a battery. Put the respirator on and go into a dark room with a mirror to feel proud of yourself and enjoy some cool blinking lights :)