Programmable RGB prop for use in a cosplay competition , based of the character Gengi from Overwatch
This project started off in an interesting manner. We were approached by someone who knew of our prototyping services, and was hopeful that we could help recreate Genji’s blade from Overwatch for him to use with his costume. While never having played the game, we were fans of it, and the sword design, in particular, had us eager to see how far we could push the build.
With this project we decided to put in a programmable RGB strip, to allow us to give the sword the ability to change colors, and display programmed animations.
However to do this we would need to fit in a microcontroller, battery, switch, and several other electronic components into a tight space.
Our first step was to create a 3D Model of the sword, using the original artwork for reference. We did this as due to the tight spaces requirements, every meticulous detail needed to be planned out to ensure that everything would fit properly. The model even included the electronic parts we were using such as the battery and microcontroller.
Once the model was ready we began our build, the first iteration was scraped halfway as we had overestimated the space required. The second model too was scrapped as we deemed it too difficult for the user to change the batteries. Finally, on our third try, we made 2 changes that helped us to solve both issues with the previous models.
Firstly, we discarded the idea of using pre-made battery holders and decided to build battery tabs into the handle itself to save ourselves some space.
Secondly, the batteries would now be changed by removing the pommel and swapping them out, a much better method than the original idea of having to open the whole hilt to get access to the batteries.
Once everything had been installed it was time for coding. We installed a total of 3 modes and 3 colors into the blade. A low brightness setting for conserving battery life, a high brightness setting for when taking photos. And finally a shimmer animation, whereby a bright patch of light would travel through the blade at regular intervals, mimicking the shine if a blade’s edge.
We designed the blade in such a manner that the microcontroller’s data port was left accessible. This way, we could add in more animation in the future.
After the dust settled, blade was handed over to Keith and he had a very successful run with it at Gamestart 2016. It held up very well and we even surprised a few other cosplayers when it was demonstrated that the sword could stand up to being hit against a wall with no damage.
As always we accept commissions for any form of prototyping job such as proof of concept prototypes, fabrication jobs, functional prototyping for production, etc. Please feel free to contact us if you'd like to have something built or have any queries about how we can help you with your idea