Glove HandBlaster
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Glove HandBlaster

by iraytrace on Thu May 30, 2019 8:44 pm

GloveBlasterWiring.jpg (111.39 KiB) Viewed 167 times
I have a project I wanted to share.

The video description can be found at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZhJZmMJbpja3cxJ28

I have a writeup of how it was built, but I am not sure where the best place to post this would be. Here is a fair bit of it.

The Story
We have all used our thumb and index finger to pretend to shoot something. Numerous people have made their own sci-fi "gun" for cosplay. However, I wanted to take this to the next level. I wanted to create a "gun-less" blaster. When I point my finger and flex my thumb I want lights and sound. In addition, I want to be able to get lights and sound when I raise my hand to use my psychic powers.

I settled on a Circuit Playground express as the platform of choice. The size nestles in the palm of my hand very neatly. The buttons make for easy controls that I can press simply by curling my fingers into my palm.

In the simplest form, this can all be accomplished with these:

Terramar Thermasilk Glove Liner: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000J ... UTF8&psc=1
Circuit Playground Express: https://www.adafruit.com/product/3333
LED Sequins: https://www.adafruit.com/product/3377
A Lithium Ion Polymer battery such as: https://www.adafruit.com/product/1578
2ply conductive thread: https://www.adafruit.com/product/640

If you want a bigger contact pad, consider using: https://www.adafruit.com/product/1244
The stitching will last longer with 3ply conductive thread: https://www.adafruit.com/product/641

For the louder version, you want to add:
External amp: https://www.adafruit.com/product/2130
External speaker: https://www.adafruit.com/product/3968

Wiring the glove
Turn the glove inside out and lay it on the table. Then place the circuit board face down and lay your hand on top. Adjust the position of the circuit board until it rests neatly in your palm. At this point I marked the inside of the glove with a tailor's chalk to get the position right. I cut out a hand from cardboard to hold the glove shape while I did the stitching.

Hot Glue Is Your Friend
I had some trouble with the conductive thread not wanting to stay tied tight at the ends. I found a spot of hot glue worked wonders to keep the threads in place. It make the threads stay in the holes of the circuit playground express nicely.

Thumb Trigger
First run a thread from the left hand 3.3V pad up the inside of the thumb at the side of the thumbnail area (red line on thumb in diagram). To avoid having this power lead contacting things inadvertently, I ran the conductive thread up the fabric inside the seam of the glove wherever possible. I took only one or two tiny nips of fabric with the thread the palm area on the way to the seam just to keep the thread in place. This limits the exposed thread in the palm area. Remember, anything you grab with this hand is going to get 3.3V.

On the side of the thumb you want to make a number of stitches to create a mesh of exposed thread to form the contact area. Alternatively, use the thread to stitch a small patch of the 5mm wide conductive ribbon in place. This should be on the part of your thumb that contacts the knuckle of the middle finger when you "fire" your finger gun.

Index Finger LED
On the index finger you need to run a thread from A4 along the back of the finger to give power to the power (+) side of the LED sequin. This is the red line on the index finger. Running this thread to the back of the finger keeps the power away from things you grasp with your hand. Once again, minimize the stitches in the palm area. Use the thread to stitch the sequin to the inside of the finger (turn it inside out to make it easier). The ground (-) thread I ran down the back of the finger between the index and middle fingers. Once again, I ran this in the excess fabric inside the seam of the glove here to limit external contact. This line connects to the ground next to A4 on the circuit board.

Middle Finger Trigger
The final conductive thread runs from the side of the first joint of the middle finger to A3. This should start at the place where your thumb naturally touches when your "fire" your finger gun by curling your thumb. Just like on the thumb, you want to make multiple stitches or stitch conductive ribbon in place to make an expanded contact area. I recommend running the thread over the back of the knuckles and between the ring and pinky finger to get to A3. One again, minimize stitches in the palm area.

Once the stitching is done, you can turn the glove inside-out to connect the usb cable and program the board.

To power it, I place the lipo battery in the palm of my hand under the circuit board or in the elastic wrist strap of the glove and connect it to the board. At this point you are ready for laser blaster finger fun. If you want to play all day

Pressing the A button will change to the next sound.

Pressing the B button (ring finger on left hand works nicely) it will light the neopixels on the board bright blue, "charging" your psychic power. When you let go of the button they start to swirl in the pattern given by the neopattern.ppm image, and the "idle.wav" sound plays.

Ramping it up
The on-board speaker is enough to hear the sound, and is cute when walking around just "shooting" random con attendees. But for serious "live action role play" you need more volume.

Version 2.0
The first step to getting louder is to substitute a bigger speaker.

However, this requires careful surgery. I took a rotary tool and carefully ground off the on-board speaker on the Circuit Playground express. Then I soldered wires onto the pads and connected one of these: https://www.parts-express.com/peerless- ... --264-1508

Yay! More volume! This can be stitched to the back of the hand quite nicely. I ran actual insulated wires out the wrist cuff and onto the back of the hand for this. I used regular black thread to hold the speaker and wires in place. However, for some sounds this lacked lower frequencies.

Version 3.0
For better sound I tried a number of speakers. I settled on: https://www.adafruit.com/product/3968

I also added an in-line .6ohm resistor, as the speaker measured at about 3.7 ohm not 4 ohm. If you get weird cut-outs in the sounds without it, this is your problem.

At this point mounting to the back of the hand isn't really an option. The glove fabric is too flimsy. So I stitched this into a nylon mesh wrist strap https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000Q ... UTF8&psc=1
For easy mounting and on / off.

I got fed up with the wires breaking off the circuit board, so I also gave up on the on-board amplifier. I soldered wires to Vout, ground, A7 and A0 to drive an external PAM8302: https://www.adafruit.com/product/2130 This I ran along the bottom edge of the circuit board and encased it in hot glue to give it some strength. Voila! No more wires coming loose.

If anyone wants the code, or has suggestions of a better place to post this, let me know.

Posts: 28
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:21 am

Re: Glove HandBlaster

by adafruit_support_bill on Fri May 31, 2019 5:37 am

Great project! Thanks for posting.

Posts: 81897
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:11 am

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.