Archive for November, 2011


Tron Costume Complete!

Et voila! My home made custom designed Tron costume!

Your Tron Legacy costume is almost complete. For the gloves, just get some basic black gloves from a DIY / electrical store, and cut out completely the two middle fingers, and partially the little finger, leaving a ring for the little finger. I also cut a strip down the crotch of the wetsuit and stuck on a velcro fastener so I could go to the toilet without taking the costume off.

I wasn’t satisified with the security of the disc on the holder, so I duct-taped some larger flat magnets onto the Tron disc, and it now sits on there very securely.

And now the considerations of wearing the costume:

  • It takes 15 minutes to put on, and 15 minutes to take off
  • You have to be completely naked to put it on. No underwear, no jewellery
  • You get really hot indoors, and you sweat
  • Wearing a wetsuit for hours makes your muscles ache
  • It’s not waterproof, drunk person proof or council estate proof
  • You can’t do anything that involves bending too much as the foam panels will break off. Sitting on a chair, walking and grabbing/replacing your disc are pretty much all you can do in it

Otherwise, enjoy the costume, and send me photos.

This is probably the most time consuming part of the process. Basically I cut out lots of ‘panels’ on foam, bevelled them out to run wire along them, then put a hole at each end of them for the wire to stitch in and out of the wetsuit. Avoid elbows and knee-caps, but make sure to leave slack on the wire inside the wetsuit in these places. I also made special panels that housed the wire in a coil for the back hoops. 3m of EL wire is enough to run from the neck (where it will attach to the battery) down the arm, back up the arm, down the back to the back hoop coil then down the leg. So I used one wire for each side. Again, don’t forget to leave slack in areas inside the wetsuit where there’ll be a lot of bending.

For the waist hoops, it’s much the same process as making the vest. You’ll need a splitter to connect them inside the wetsuit, then run the wire up so its connector comes out of the neck of the wetsuit.

Vest

Most of the EL wire would be thread through the wetsuit and glued down onto small panels of the foam. But the larger EL strip components are too fragile to risk bending. So I decided to attach most of the EL strips to a vest, that would attach on top of the wetsuit. The items to attach to the vest are:

  • 2x 40cm EL strips
  • 2x “L-shaped” EL strips
  • 2x EL hoops
  • 1x 3m EL wire

I cut out a waistcoat-shaped area from the sheet foam and used relfective tape to mark where these areas would be. I then cut out a shoulder/back brace area and attached that to the front area. The back brace would eventually be glued to the back of the wetsuit, then, once the wesuit was on, I would pull down the front part of the vest over my head, kind of like a seat belt on a rollercoaster. Threading the wires through the vest took some patience, as did creating the bevels for the EL wire to sit in. Once I glued down all the components, I labelled all the wires and attached the back of it to the wetsuit.

Finally, add small velcro patches (around 5cm x 2cm) to the sides of the back brace, and to the bottom of the front part of the vest. This may seem like a lot of work. Well, it is, but if you want your Tron costume to look smart, and tight fitting like in the film, this is the best option.

Right, you’ve got the materials, and you’ve made your very own Tron disc. You’re half way through making your very own Tron costume. Now we need to add the main lighting to the suit. I wanted to make my costume resemble Sam Flynn’s costume as much as possible. That meant examining lots of footage from the film as well as photo stills and behind the scenes footage. In the end, there were some aspects of the costume used in the film that would have been very difficult/expensive to emulate, but the overall effect was achieved.

First, I mapped out the design of the costume as seen in the film. Then, I mapped out a configuration for the various EL strips and EL wires that I had, that roughly fitted the design. Bear in mind all wires needed to be connected to the battery which is held around the upper back area.

Here is the configuration I used:

  • 2x 40cm EL strips down the chest (32cm would be fine but my supplier only had 40cm ones so I used black duct tape to hide parts)
  • 2x EL “L-shaped” strip along the breast
  • 2x EL hoops above the breast
  • 2x EL hoops at the waist
  • 1x 3m EL wire for the chest and back
  • 1x 3m EL wire for the left arm, back hoop and waist
  • 1x 3m EL wire for the right arm, back hoop and waist

Note: these circuit diagrams were drawn before I decided to add the two “L-shaped” EL strips to the costume.

After a lot of testing the battery in the disc runs out. It uses 6 little watch batteries which aren’t easy to replace. I wanted to wear this costume out, and if I ran out of batteries, I wanted to be able to go to the nearest shop and buy batteries to stick into the disc, without having to open it up with a screwdriver.

The only place to fit a 9V batttery is at the top end of the disc. This is where the break in the inner “C” ring of the disc is. Currently that’s where the speaker and sound chip are stored. The 9V battery will not fit completely into the disc but will stick out discreetly. Open up your Tron disc again and cut out the speaker and the chip it’s attached to. Tape up exposed wires. Now heat a screwdriver tip or a sharp knife over a candle, and cut away the plastic that held the speaker and chip. You will also need to cut a small way into the disc rim on both halves of the disc. Make sure you only cut away a hole that in the end makes a tight fit for the 9V battery.

Next, unscrew the battery door, remove the original 6x watch batteries and replace the battery door. Now open up the disc and disconnect the wire we ran from the circuit board to the battery neg line, and instead connect it to the battery neg line on the 9V battery clip. Next, connect the battery clip’s pos line to the disc’s original battery pos line. Run the battery clip wires neatly along the disc down to where the 9V battery will slot in. I used a lot of electrical insulation tape to cover up exposed wires.

Attach a 9V battery to the battery clip, tape it up so it’s black, and test. You’ll find your Tron disc now shines about twice as bright as it did with the original watch batteries. Close the disc and push the taped up battery in. You may have to cut a little more around the disc rim in order to get the battery to fit perfectly.

Note: You will now have to make a small notch on the battery disc holder so that the disc fits on with the battery protruding out of it.