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Picture of Tron Legacy Sam Light Suit

Tron legacy was a Disney film released in 2010 as a sequel to the classic original 1982 film that was a pioneer in computer generated graphics and visual effects. The film reprised key elements from the original including the iconic light cycle races and the glowing lines of light of the costumes.

I have mixed feelings about the film, as many do; it is visually stunning. The light suits and lightcycles in particular are in my opinion up there with the very best film costumes and vehicles of all time. The soundtrack by Daft Punk is fantastic and fits with the visuals seamlessly. Unfortunately I was left feeling somewhat disappointed that the story doesn't fully match up to the visuals.

Whilst much of the film is CGI, there are significant, and important elements that weren't, and having an interest in practical effects, these really appeal to me. Key sets were built fully practical, and incorporated the iconic lighting (End of the Line Club, Flynn's arcade etc.), and importantly the light suits and other costumes were completely practical. I was therefore inspired to try and create a real, practical light suit myself, and so embarked on the significant task of working out how...

I started my costume build by deciding that as others may be interested, I wanted to be able to create more than one costume. I therefore decided to put effort into creating drawings, patterns and moulds to be able to produce multiples of parts. I also wanted to experiment with some techniques and materials not familiar to me, and this gave me a good opportunity.

My vision for the costume is not to produce something fully screen accurate to the film, but neither to create something simple but Tron like. Rather I would make something that to a general observer looks like the film versions, but is of a far better quality than cheap Halloween costumes, is durable, and most importantly has real functioning lighting. It would be very difficult to replicate the cast foam latex method used in the films without a serious budget and a lot of time, and so I chose to use a laminated flexible flat foam method instead.

It has always been my desire to make the costume fully lit, not relying on retro-reflective tapes as others have done. I therefore considered a wide range of options for lighting, but settled for the more expensive, but lower work option of using a kit of pre-cut electroluminescent shapes (from EL wire craft). This ties in with an easier ability to make multiple costumes.

The project started with an information gathering stage- there is a lot of information scattered around out there. My key reference sources are listed later.

The second stage was to do design work before starting builds- this started with the identity disks.

I have primarily used Draft Sight software for design, this being a free CAD program similar to Autocad that I'm familiar with in my day job, allowing me to produce accurate dimensioned drawings and patterns. Downloads of these drawings are available in PDF format for those interested.

Step 1: Step 1: Materials

Picture of Step 1: Materials

EL Tape
There are many possible suppliers of EL tape and sheet to manufacture the light up elements. Many of these will be selling the same products, manufactured in China, and so I find there is little to differentiate between suppliers, with the notable exceptions of EL Wire Craft in the UK and E-Luminates in the US. Both sell full sets and components pre-cut to the correct shapes.

EL Wirecraft

Electro Luminescence Inc


The foam in this project is cross-linked Polyethylene, commonly known as XLPE. In Europe, the common brand name is Plastazote, manufactured by Zote Foams. In the US it is available under the brand name Minicel, manufactured by Sekisui Voltek.

The foam is sold by density as well as dimensions and colour. In Europe the most widely available is Plastazote LD45, for the US L200 is the most common. These two aren't directly comparable; Minicel L200 is most similar in density to Plastazote LD33 and Plastazote LD45 is most similar to Minicel L300.

Other manufacturers produce similar XLPE foams and these will also be suitable for costume use if you find them. XLPE is chemically different to EVA foam that makes its way into a lot of costume use. EVA is commonly used for floor mats, camping mats and yoga mats although not all.

Manufacturer Websites

UK Plastazote stockist

Connectors- JST RCY Series

Pin Contact SYM-001T-P0.6 (reeled), BYM-001T-P0.6 (loose)

Socket Contact SYF-001T-P0.6 (reeled), BYF-001T-P0.6 (loose)

Pin Housing SYR-02TV

Socket Housing SYP-02TV-1

Other Parts Required

Evostik 528

3M 76 adhesive

Cotton lycra zip back, full length catsuit

Black calico

Hi-Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) sheet



Low profile hook and loop fastener

Plastidip Matt Black Spray

Hot-melt glue


Silicone mould rubber (Smooth-on mold max 20 or similar)

Glass fibre continuous strand matt

Polyester lay-up resin

Polyester gel coat

18mm MDF

Spray primer

Spot putter/ filler

Gloss spray paint

Clear silicone sealant

Workshop consumables

disposable gloves, wet & dry paper, masking tape, double sided tape, knife blades, solder etc.

1234567guy6 months ago
Can you modify the size if you are a kid?. LIke for example the torso.
superpants (author)  1234567guy6 months ago
You could- The main issue will be that the kit pieces are a fixed size.
_Gyro7 months ago
This is absolutely awseome. thanks for sharing
superpants (author)  _Gyro7 months ago
Perfect DIY7 months ago
cool! can you move easy in that?
superpants (author)  Perfect DIY7 months ago
It's not too bad- no dancing the conga or doing squats, but as long as you stand up it's OK. Worst bit is pulling on the legs without damaging the EL panels. If I did it again, I would also split the EL tape where it goes over the elbows.
Awesome costume! Now I just need a motorcycle to modify.
superpants (author)  DIY Hacks and How Tos7 months ago
Great idea!