2. Transfer the drawing to the
You can attach lightwire to almost anything. We
mounted our eye to a sheet of foamcore board.
To transfer the drawings, we taped them onto the
board, then followed along each line with a stylus,
making an indentation by pushing down into the
board. Then we filled in the indented lines with
different colored pencils for each frame.
3. Measure and cut the lightwire.
For each eye image segment, hold the corresponding color of lightwire along its line to measure out
the proper length, then cut it to size, adding about
6" of extra length. Label each segment with tape to
identify it, for example, “eyelash/frame 1.” Group the
cut segments together by frame: common or 1–4.
For elements like the eyelashes, which are laced in
and out of the board, follow the wire’s path back and
forth with a piece of string, holding it along the way
with bits of masking tape. Then measure the lightwire
against the string and cut it to length plus 6".
Apply copper tape
Solder wrap wires to copper tape
Solder short lead to
center wire and long
lead to copper tape
NOTE: Lightwire can’t be folded or bent too
tightly. For corners, use separate segments or
thread a single segment out the back, loop it,
and bring it back to the front at a new angle
through an adjacent hole. To black out short
sections, cover the wire with tape or heat-shrink.
4. Attach the leads.
Before mounting, each segment needs to be connected to its 2 lead wires (Figure E). Our leads came
from cutting open a network cable, which contains
matched pairs of wires in 4 colors. This is helpful for
color-coding our 4 animation frames. (Five colors
would be even better, to include the common frame.)
Here’s how to connect each segment to its leads:
» Strip off about ¾" of the lightwire’s outer vinyl
sheath(s) at one end.
» Tease away the tiny wrap wires, then stick a cuff
of copper tape around the sheath, right behind
where you began stripping (Figure F).
» Bend the wrap wires back over the copper tape
and solder them to the copper tape.
» Scrape off the phosphor layer to completely
expose about 2" of the tip of the core conductor
wire (Figure G).