I just finished my latest tutorial over on the Adafruit Learning System: make a Burning Wizard staff. It’s got it all: LED NeoPixel lights, sound effects, and motion reactivity to trigger the different animations and modes. It turned out amazing! I’m proud of this one.
The staff is made from expanding foam, a polycarbonate tube, and a plastic water bottle. The materials for crafting the staff are super cheap! I probably spent about $15 total on the actual staff itself.
The electronic guts are where the fancy part comes in. I’m using an Adafruit Feather M4 Express microcontroller with a PropMaker FeatherWing attached to it. The FeatherWing is really cool — it has JST connector plugs on it for your lights, your speaker, and your battery, which makes the build for this project way easier than it would otherwise be, since there’s really not much soldering to do other than hooking up the NeoPixel strips.
Here’s the full tutorial: Burning Fire Wizard Staff
This isn’t really a first-time-beginner electronics project, but it is a fantastic craft project, even if you’ve never used expanding foam before. The staff looks super cool even when it’s not turned on. I’m going to feel totally bad-ass carrying it around Renaissance Faires or other daytime events where the lights and sound won’t carry. It just looks supremely cool. AmIright?
But the electronics inside truly take this thing over-the-top. I’m absolutely delighted with it. My favorite mode is Xena Warrior Princess Mode, where I trigger the motion with an attack and the staff yells like my girl Xena from the 90s TV show. IT’S SO MUCH FUN!!
Here’s a timelapse video showing the build process. Drop me a pic if you make one!!