Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Glowhawk: OFBC Gaiden

Update: Plume added, rebuilt using thread and pipe cleaners to keep it upright and separate strands, removed plasticard sticks and zip ties.  Also pulled the EL Wire which is being repurposed in my son's EL Hoodie.



We were only able to print a few OFBC 2.0 cases before DEFCON 26. The leftover parts would have sat in my toolbox for quite a while if not for a serendipitous mistake: I ordered the wrong color LEDs from Sparkfun. This plus a little construction advice from a seamstress helped me cobble together the glowing headgear that is The Glowhawk

My courage and thinning hair prevents me from getting a mohawk while at DEFCON, but I've always wanted one. Instead I started to create one with a networking theme. Pipe cleaners in the color of Cat6 twisted pair served as a thick mane anyone could be proud of. This was wired onto a hat as a test. It looked OK, but it was kind of stubby to wear all on its own.

The LED driver for the OFBC is overdone. A single charge can last 10 hours on the original model. I wondered how much it could handle in terms of output, and a little breadboarding showed me I could wire several of the LED modules together as long as they were in parallel. Now how to use them?

The LEDs are these 3W green modules with attached heat sink. Direct eye contact is not recommended (hence the pains we took to use momentary buttons on the OFBC). On the beer light, we diffused the over-bright light so it could be sculpted by the drink it passed through. I was inspired by a fiber optic dress I saw elsewhere and found fiber optic table centrepieces for dirt cheap on Amazon. Some hot glue joined the disassembled fiber optics to the bright LED. The mane of glowing green was born!

With this fresh take in hand, DEFCON was upon us. I packed my things and thought I might take a crack in the evening. The Richard Cheese show was the perfect venue to solder everything together. The_bozo and I found a better place to work where the hot glue gun could run safely. I transferred the existing Cat6 mohawk to a bright green John Cena hat from Goodwill. Inside the channel that ran between upturned pipe cleaners, I hot glued the modules and fiber optics. Zip ties kept the fiber bundles from flopping around too much.

I consider the Glowhawk a great success, if a tad impractical. It lasted about 2 hours on a charge, and I was able to walk around wearing it with the mobile party crew for that long before it got uncomfortable.  A photo of me wearing it hit the DEFCON Closing Ceremonies, and my son keeps trying to steal my remaining fiber optics for a lamp in his room.

Future improvements include better internal support, googly eyes to cover the logos, and a fifth plume to fill out the front. See you next year!





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