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Wiring an LED inside a solid mini


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Has anyone had experience with wiring a solid-cast mini?  IE, one that doesn't come in pieces on a sprue.  Here's the mini.  You can't tell from the picture, but the sword blade and flame effect are translucent.  The idea would be to wire a tiny yellow LED into the hilt so that it lights up.  I'm thinking that I'll have to dismember him to get the wires in there.

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Here's how I'm thinking of doing this.  Red represents the cuts, blue is the holes I'll drill to get the wires in, yellow is the LED.

image.png.5bfda6cab1827b376fec0e982030c9fc.png
Do you think this will work?

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I think it largely depends on your patience, steady hands, and tools you have available. 

Your proposal looks sound, the hardest part is probably going to be threading the wires through the 90 degs in the hand and the shoulder. 

 

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Not sure about the back side of the mini, but it might be easier to bring the wire out the elbow, cut a groove down the cape, then go back into the mini on one of the legs. Less cutting required, but it would require putty work to cover the groove. 

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5 hours ago, kristof65 said:

Not sure about the back side of the mini, but it might be easier to bring the wire out the elbow, cut a groove down the cape, then go back into the mini on one of the legs. Less cutting required, but it would require putty work to cover the groove. 

 

 This might be a more efficient way to go - trying to drill that kind of channel through the body with so many angles is going to be really tough.

 

Is he hard or soft plastic?

 

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15 minutes ago, Mad Jack said:

Is he hard or soft plastic?

 

It's a Wizkids Deep Cuts mini, so it's one of the PVC-based plastics. Not as soft as Bones, not as hard as polystyrene, but more towards PS on the spectrum.

 

Given the cost of it (MSRP ~$15) it must be a fairly good-sized mini. Should be plenty of room to run wiring in. Might be able to hollow out some of the chest cavity.

Edited by ManvsMini
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12 minutes ago, ManvsMini said:

 

It's a Wizkids Deep Cuts mini, so it's one of the PVC-based plastics. Not as soft as Bones, not as hard as polystyrene, but more towards PS on the spectrum.

 

Given the cost of it (MSRP ~$15) it must be a fairly good-sized mini. Should be plenty of room to run wiring in. Might be able to hollow out some of the chest cavity.

 

It's one of the larger giant size minis in their line up. That particular minotaur is very big according to Pathfinder rules.

 

*No more then regular large base sized minos. It's just a special type of mino. I guess the sword & armor bump into the 15 dollar category. The pricing of this wave is kinda confusing. Some large minis like the nightmare are still 4.99, but the zombie ogre is 8.99 & then there is this guy at 14.99. :rock:

 

Came across this pic, showing what it might look like:

 

38763193025_ccfe5fb9eb_b.jpg

 

Good luck!!

 

 

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I think I would try to lop the head off to allow you to drill down through the torso and across into the arm. I would then thread both ends of the wire from the neck. You might also consider cutting off the pommel and drilling into the hand from there, for both accessing the wire from the neck and inserting the LED.

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22 minutes ago, DocPiske said:

I think I would try to lop the head off to allow you to drill down through the torso and across into the arm. I would then thread both ends of the wire from the neck.

 

If that was done, wouldn't there still be the need to drill through one of the legs, as I imagine the battery and on/off is going to be in the base? I can see how taking the head off would make access easier to the arm, but still there is a need for drilling downwards, yes?

 

Not trying to poo-poo the idea, genuinely interested in how to do this, as I've never wired a mini before, but have seen fantastic results (been a long time since I wired anything).

 

Also, would a short section of small diameter fiber optic cable be possible for this instead of an LED bulb?

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1 hour ago, ManvsMini said:

Also, would a short section of small diameter fiber optic cable be possible for this instead of an LED bulb?

I don't think a fiber optic could make the sharp bends needed through the hand. 

I could be wrong, though - I haven't dealt with fiber optics for a number of years. 

21 hours ago, strawhat said:

I don't know if anyone else does it, but Green Stuff World does make a conductive paint that you can use in place of normal wiring.

Conductive pens have been around for awhile*, so I'm sure that there are plenty of options out there, if you know where to look. 

I would be concerned as to how the conductive ink/paint would hold up to and interact with regular paints. 

*

Spoiler

I know this, because back in the 90s I modified a company time clock with a prank circuit that would give employees a minor shock if you drew a pattern on the back of their time card with conductive ink. :devil:

 

Edited by kristof65
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I have actually done similar before...   

 

You will want to cut his arm off at the shoulder, under the pauldron, and leave the elbow intact.  It will probably be much easier to hide this cut, and also it's much easier to pull the wires through the shoulder then. 

 

The conductive paint is an option, but it tends to be thick, so be careful or it will show up through the topcoat.

(I have the GSW paint, I just haven't tested it yet)

 

What size LED will you be fitting?

 

A 3 or 5mm LED may be a bit too big to fit. 

A rectangular one may fit better since it's flat.

Alternatively, you may use a SMT LED with presoldered wires. 

(My usual choice)

But don't be surprised if the effect is rather... weak. Many types of plastic or resin are rather bad conductors of light. 

(I'm looking into using optical fiber made from PMMA plastic for some effects. Maybe embedded in the edge of a sword... The glass stuff is just too dangerous to work with)

 

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  Okay, so I eyeballed this guy in the store this afternoon...

 

His cape is a separate piece, glued on, which you shouldn't have any trouble popping back off with a bit of wiggling.

The way the cape hangs, any cutting or drilling you do on his back won't be visible from a normal viewing angle, so take advantage of that to make your job easier...

 

 This is my personal take on this job:

 

  I'd suggest one cut at the wrist to detach the hand, and then drill one hole down through the back of his shoulderblade to his elbow, then another up through his wrist to connect with the first - don't drill parallel to the line of his arm, though... Drill from the back of his shoulder to as close to the inside angle of his elbow as possible, and then do the same with the wrist: the intersection of the two holes will have a less acute angle that way and make it easier to thread the wires through. You might consider a cut at the elbow if you still can't get the wires through the tunnel.

 

Once you bring the wires out through the back of his shoulderblade, just dig out a groove along his shoulders and curving down the right side of his back and down the back of his right leg (no hard angles to navigate) to just above his ankle - once you put the cape back on, the groove (and anything you do to cover it) will be hidden by the cape pretty much the entire way.  Drill down through the back of his ankle into the right foot and base to bring them out through the bottom of the mini to your power source.

 

 Now, I personally use a Dremel tool with a really small engraving bit for digging out a channel like this, and on a plastic mini it'd go through the material like using a lightsaber, but if you're using a knife your best bet might just be to make a single somewhat deep cut along the path of the channel, then make another parallel cut at an angle so that you carve out a triangular cross-section.

Once you're done placing the wiring, if you want to you can take the piece(s) you removed and carve off most of the material on the angle, leaving basically just a flat cover for your channel, which you can then just glue or greenstuff back on over the wires.

 

 The base of the minis is somewhat thin, so you might want to put him on an additional base if you're going to have a battery hidden in the bottom of it.

Alternately, cut a hole in the base and build a greenstuff rock over it to provide a hollow for the battery.

 

Edited by Mad Jack
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