Aug 31

Weaving with Light Pt. 1

This is the first in a series of posts regarding a recent project which integrated handweaving, fiber optics, and electronics. It’s a part of a costume for a cosplayer at work, but I’ll be discussing my part of it.


For those who can’t wait, here’s what the project looks like in the dark:

Handweaving with fiber optics viewed in the dark

Handweaving with fiber optics viewed in the dark

And in the light:

You can still see the glow, it's just not as bright.

You can still see the glow, it’s just not as bright.

In the Beginning

I recently started a new job; when one of my co-workers heard I am a weaver, she approached me with a challenge: to weave fiber optics into a fabric so that it would have an otherworldly glow. Originally the idea was for a Patronus from Harry Potter; we pivoted to a ghost from Ghostbusters.

I spent some time researching on the net; I have only found a couple of other instances of handweavers making fabric with embedded fiber optics. So it’s pushing the envelope in that regard 😉

Just the Facts

  • 200 fiber optic strands, 2m in length
  • 32 bright LEDs
  • Over 100 solder joints
  • 5v input
  • 640 mA draw
  • 2 watt resistor
  • “Skirt” is separated into 8 strands, each 4″ wide
  • 6.25 fiber optics/inch
  • Two types of cotton thread used for fabric structure
  • 30 hours loom time
  • 10 hours prototype
  • 15 hours research and shopping
  • 25 hours constructing wiring and LED Harness
  • LEDs are swappable
  • Two power busses to distribute to LEDs
  • Power regulator has a fan.
  • Almost everything (except fabric) can be swapped out and/or replaced.

I know this is something of a tease, but I’ll write more soon!

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