Design & Planning

Wonder Woman is an iconic figure who's been drawn and portrayed so many different ways throughout the last 7 decades, which gives us so much material to draw from.  I was definitely inspired by the lightning-enabled bracers from the 2017 Wonder Woman Movie Origin trailer.  Booyah.

I love doing cosplay projects largely because of the melding of tech and magic in the finished piece.  So even though it strays a bit from the Hollywood version, I wanted to display the Circuit Playground proudly on the outside of the bracers.  The added bonus here is that I can now use all the neopixels on the face of the Circuit Playground as part of the design.  

Considerations & Features

  • Must appear to have crazy orange lightning inside
  • Flashy bullet-blocking glitter light and sound effects
  • Gold and silver finish, or it's just not Wonder Woman
  • Interactive - I want to actually block imaginary bullets

Interactivity

I decided to use two different interactive sensors: sound, because a loud CRACK means someone fired on me, and motion, so the bracers notice when I make a ninja-worthy blocking move.  

I considered adding an impact or vibration sensor, but the design relies on acrylic and acrylic is notoriously NOT impact-resistant.  In fact, it likes to shatter with too much of an impact, so let's just remove the temptation.  

Melee Mode

Cosplayers spend a lot of time standing around waiting for admirers to figure out their camera phones.   For photo shoots and dance parties, I decided these bracers also need a "melee" mode, where they're constantly on.  This way they look great in photos without continuous blocking or having to keep shouting "BANG".

Comfort & Ease of Use

I need to be able to get these on and off all by myself with one hand.  I also need to be able to quickly remove and switch out the battery without disassembling the whole bracer.  

Craft foam is a great choice for the layer that goes against my skin.  It's pliable and pretty tough if it's sealed, plus it's cheap and easy to come by.  And I can get in and out of snaps one-handed, so I definitely prefer that to a button or tie-on method, even though it may not be as "authentic" looking.

Details

This was my first time using black Worbla for details.  This stuff is amazing.  It's a thermoplastic sculpting material that's made more-or-less EXACTLY for this type of project.  Hit it with a heat gun for a few seconds and it gets soft and melty.  Sculpt it into the shape you want with a few finger swipes and when it cools off you have perfect detail with a good amount of strength.  You can reheat it again and again until you get it right, and then it takes paint beautifully.

It's pretty thin so I wouldn't use it for structural elements, but our acrylic and foam will take care of that, and the Worbla does an amazing job with all the rest.

One caveat is that the Worbla will always melt at high temperatures.. so don't leave the bracers in your car in the summertime or you may come back to find that all your details have melted away.

This guide was first published on May 19, 2017. It was last updated on Sep 16, 2018. This page (Design & Planning) was last updated on May 19, 2017.