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LED Alligator Wearable Circuit

By M-Skirvin
I was asked to do a nice alligator drawing for a name badge that would be done as a circuit board kit. I was given a guide image for what they wanted to see, and I rendered the lineart.

They then took the ball and turned my lineart into silk screened lines on a custom-shaped circuit board. The leds or "light emitting diodes" can be a wide array of colors and when the kit is soldered up, you can wear it. I think it will have a button that will allow the wearer to change the patterns that all the lights blink.

This kit will be made available on the 2DKits website at [link] probably after June or July.

The reason for that timeframe is because they will first be available a Musecon. [link] One of the guests at that convention will be S. J. Tucker, a singer who is well known in SF fannish circles as being the lead in the group Tricky Pixie. One of her most popular songs is called "There's an Alligator in the House", and the 2DKits guys wanted to offer a commemorative blinkie kit in her honor. Here is a link to a vid of her singing the song: [link]

I'm a big gadget hound, and I'm not shy about digging in and doing some soldering myself, so doing this was great fun. I hope they let me do more designs for them!!

Someday, I will have to write out the tale of how I started a midwest "thing" by holding "blinkie panels" at science fiction cons where we assembled simple blinkies we could wear. I retired from it ages ago, but the 2DKit guys are now taking that idea to new heights I never would have dreamed of. I'm glad they are, and even more glad I can still be a part.
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Centaurus09's avatar
Is the board laser-cut? I'd think a custom punch would be horrendous...

(I've got to knuckle down and learn to use a PCB designer so I can do a couple of designs of my own.)
M-Skirvin's avatar
Nah. I'm sure they're laser cut. Companies that do such things are all over the place these days. I've used a different company for my own projects in the past.

If you want a short run, you might consider Express PCB. They provide the software, then you just shunt them the file, and you get circuit boards back. Shaped ones like this are more involved, I guess. The 2DKit guys have been doing blinkies for a few years and have done other shapes, but the alligator is their most elaborate yet. That's about all I know of the process. The blinkie panels I did were tens of years ago....
kunai-of-the-sand's avatar
Oh damn! Thats bad ass!
M-Skirvin's avatar
Thanks! I'll add a picture of it lit once I get one all soldered up and running....:D
jkrolak's avatar
I recently was gifted the simplest blinkie of at a convention.

Take 1 LED (green) with lead wires for positive and negative
Add 1 2032 button cell battery
Connect LED wires to front and back (positive/negative of battery)
hold in place with small decorative sticker to body.

If functioning properly LED will immediately illuminate and should last for several days of constant use.
Greatkingrat88's avatar
I just love gators :D
M-Skirvin's avatar
My sister down in Florida has them. One neighbor had one crawl up on his back porch and halfway up the back door. Not sure where the monster thought it was going, but it was a big one too, about two and a half meters long....
Greatkingrat88's avatar
Oh my. That happen often in Florida? Being the wildlife nut I am, I think it sounds awesome :D
(The most exciting things that ever happens here with animals is the horses running loose, or the occasional moose running by :()
M-Skirvin's avatar
Yeah. Gators are everywhere down there. On golf courses, under backyard lawn furniture, etc. Great efforts are taken to keep both the gators and all the water birds out of swimming pools. They have a LOT of herons, cranes, pelicans, spoonbills, seagulls, and I don't know what all. My sister gets the cranes in her yard because they love the tiny anole lizards. Every yard has hundreds of them and they are totally harmless.

I loved just prowling around her town (on the west side of Florida), photographing the birds and hunting the little lizards and trying to photograph them as they bask in the sun.

Gators can get HUGE and they are a LOT faster than people guess. Even some "experts" misjudge just how fast those huge jaws can snap shut.

My area has a lot of animals, though I get the northerly stuff. Here's a partial list:

white Tail Deer
red fox
red tail hawks
bald eagles
turkey vultures
mountain lions
moose (never seen one!)
black bears
grouse (ground-dwelling bird that drums its wings on its chest. I've heard them out in the woods. It sounds like a motorcycle trying to start...)
Skunks (testy little bastard that will make you regret you pissed it off.)
Copperhead snakes
Cottonmouth snakes
(both dangerously poisonous)

There are others, but they tend to be more reclusive. Most of these, I've seen in the wild myself, many up close, or perhaps I should say TOO close...XD

Sigh. Moose. I would dearly love to see one in the wild. I hope that day will come someday. I know there are some up in the area where I own land, but I have yet to see them. I'll keep hoping....:lol:
Greatkingrat88's avatar
They ever hurt human beings, or are people too big to fit in their diet? (I bet the older ones might, since crocs never stop growing :D)

Gators, crocodiles... they are WAY fast, anyone who has seen National Geographic channel knows that. Not very quick at making sharp turns, though. I wish I could see a real live one.

We have moose (seen them lots of times out on my forest walks *lives in a forest*), brown bears (supposedly) bobcats (seen once), wolverines, and there ARE wolves... just not as har south as I live. The scandinavian wolf population is inbred as hell, though.
We don't have much in the way of snakes, though, besides the Vipera Berus, which couldn't kill a person unless her was old and frail or really young.

Your wildlife sounds so much more interesting.
M-Skirvin's avatar
Gators usually hurt the unwary. They are reptiles that spend a lot of time basking in the sun, so they are ready to react at a instant's notice. More than once, I've seen guys walk along side one and have the thing twist its body so that it can rake with its wide open mouth. It does this to try to snag any portion of the victim or make them stumble, thus making a full on attack possible.

Anything on the inside of a gator's mouth is like a trigger. The slightest touch can set it off, and then those jaws snap shut with thousands of pounds of immovable force. But it doesn't stop there. Then, if the victim is VERY unlucky, the gator throws its whole body into a twisting bone breaking roll.

People get killed by them occasionally, but usually, it's bad injuries. Here are some typical incident statistics:

Trying to capture/lift/exhibit an alligator (17.4 % of attacks)
Swimming (16.7 % of attacks)
Fishing-related activities (9.9 % of attacks)
Retrieving golf balls (9.5 % of attacks)
Wading/walking in Water (5.3 % of attacks)
Snorkeling (4.3 % of attacks)
Pulling weeds or planting along bank (3.6 % of attacks)
Standing/walking/sitting along bank (3.6 % of attacks)

And gators are indeed monsters, aside from having 75 teeth they are huge:

According to the Everglades National Park website, the largest alligator ever recorded in Florida was 17 feet 5 inches (5.31 m), although according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission the Florida state record for length is a 14 feet 5/8 inches (4.28 m) male from Lake Monroe in Seminole County.


They have them in neighboring Louisiana too:

The largest specimen ever recorded was found in Louisiana and measured 19 feet 2 inches (5.84 m).

And yes, people get killed by them, apparently quite often, and usually by doing something stupid. Around 3 people a month, some sources say. Here is an incomplete list of some of the typical incidents: [link]

Who said dinosaurs were dead?

The moose here are legendary for both their size and their penchant for REVENGE.

One story goes that a man driving a small car on a mountain road in Maine accidently bonked a bull moose while driving at night. He got out to see if the moose was alive. It jumped up and charged. The man ran up the side of a hill next to the road and then turned to watch as the moose attacked his car again and again. Breaking windows, shoving it around, and slamming into it with its massive horns. Once the moose was satisfied that the car was no longer any kind of threat, it stalked off, its hackles still stiffly erect. The car's driver was lucky he'd made his escape when he did. He was later rescued when another driver came upon the scene and saw the damage.

Up north, a hunter was walking through the woods and found what all hunters fear most: a baby moose. Turning slowly and looking around, he saw that the situation was MUCH worse: He was standing directly between the moose mom and the calf. He tries to make a non-threatening graceful exit, but the mom finally has enough of his intrusion and gives chase. The hunter dodges through trees, hops creeks and even tries firing off warning shots, but the moose will not be deterred. At one point, he manages to elude her, and hides breathlessly behind a tree, hoping she'll lose interest and go away. Then he sees that she is methodically covering the area, sniffing and looking for him, getting closer and closer. Again he bolts, legging it for a nearby lake, moose hot on his heels.

As the hunter comes out of the trees, he can see a canoe out on the water. He shouts at them, and then jumps off the short cliff into the lake and swims like mad out to the canoe where he is picked up. He then watched as mom moose and calf patrol the shore, still looking for him.

Moose are generally considered the worst thing one could confront in the woods due to their massive size and their need to get thorough revenge.

I've seen bear scat on our land. It's easy to tell because of the size and the berry/vegetation content.

I've heard the wolves more than once. They are easily distinguished from dogs or coyotes since their howls are long and wailing. Coyotes yip and yelp, and dogs do a combination of both.

The first time I ever heard that long, multi-toned cry in the wild, I knew instantly what I was hearing. Years prior, I'd lived just a few miles from a wolf rescue center in Wisconsin so I knew the sound. But hearing it in the wild, while on snowshoes, about a mile from your car, in the woods, is a WHOLE different bunch of bananas. It was creepy and beautiful all together, and since there was no way I could get back to the car with any speed, I just kept going, following my husband, who had not noted the howling at all. I called out to him and brought it to his attention, and he was surprised. He'd never heard it before in the wild either. I told him he really needed to pay more attention to the sounds of the forest!

I think skunks are the creatures that surprise foreign visitors worst though. Surprise one or hit one with your car, and there is this explosion of noxious odor that will linger for days. Skunks have specific glands at the base of their tails that produce methyl mercaptan, a foul, pungent scent that will send all predators packing. Worse still, they can shoot the oily stuff at you and it's absolutely horrible to remove.

There are some people who love the smell of skunks, and they use it in their cars to prevent car theft. I did a little scent experiment, and found that if I simply thought of the smell as "intense" rather than "stinky", then I found it far easier to tolerate, and the scent doesn't really bother me too much anymore. I'm still not going to spray it in my car though!

As you can see, I too, am a wildlife lover!! XDXDXD
Greatkingrat88's avatar
I know how crocs kill and the IMMENSE biting force they have, if not the figures of how many die :D so thanks.
Although as I recall, the muscles opening their jaws are rather weak, to the point where you only need a rope to shut them up.
To me, the idea of having gators just wandering around... sounds so exciting.

About dinosaurs... crocodilian ancestors, I believe, evolved around the same time as dinosaurs. They're cousins, for lack of a better word. The driect descendants of today would be the birds, I think.

Thankfully, we've never had any such incidents. I did see a mother moose from afar with a calf once though, and I was VERY CAUTIOUS INDEED.
But not as cautious as I am of wild boars. Brr. We have them running all over the woods, turning up dirt everywhere... and if you've seen the dental set on a boar, you know you do NOT want it pissed off.

I hqave heard the wolf's howl, but never seen one. Too shy, I wager.

I read about the skunks. Very peacful, unless provoked, I hear.
M-Skirvin's avatar
Alligators had their own set of ancestors, some of whom look very similar to how they do now. Like sharks, alligators may be the ones that have evolved little over millennia.

Oh boy. I've never met one, nor do we have them wild here in the midwest, but I can imagine that wild boars would be NASTY. Pigs in general can be exceedingly dangerous, even the tame ones, and the further I stay from them, the happier I am. Boars would be terrifying. I have a domestic pig skull in my collection, and the teeth are surprisingly ferocious.

Yeah, wolves are really reclusive and don't interact with humans if they can at all help it. Those who have seen them, do so usually in the winter time, when they are easier to spot. Here's a few pics off some taken from an airplane flying over the upper portion of Michigan to the far far west. [link] This is way south of where my property is, but they are in the same peninsula. The guy who took the pix is the same guy we hired to take aerial photos of our property years ago. Must be fun to fly over the forests doing nothing but snapping pictures of neat stuff like that.

Skunks have attitude. They can afford it. They have the ability to make most humans run in fear. But they only get one shot with their stink weapon, so they have to be careful about using it too soon. Some people do keep them as pets, even with the scent glands intact. You can even buy one.

I think two black cats are enough...XDXD
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Centaurus09's avatar
Uh, yeah. I once had a short job with my bother-in-law on Merritt Island and got to meet all manner of wildlife upclose and personal--including a tiny gator in the ditch outside the equipment shack where I was working.

In Florida, the wildlife comes to you, and it's usually hungry.
Greatkingrat88's avatar
Hmm, sounds exciting :D
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