Steel Wool and USB Light Graffiti Rig

Mears using his USB Light Graffiti Rig

If you want to create light graffiti, one of the most spectacular things you can do is create a flaming circle, or even an orb. Though these shots may look difficult, with the right equipment it’s not really that hard – just swing a light and/or steel wool around during a long exposure photograph.

But how to make your rig? Dale Mears wrote in with his solution, seen in the pictures below, and in his following explanation:

According to Mears you’ll need:

1 metre galvanized steel cable (I used 1.8mm approx 99p per metre here in the UK)

Two terminal block connectors (strip the plastic off)

Handle (decathlon skipping rope handle works well)

USB chargeable flashing dog collar (strip off the rubber tube) eBay £3ish [something like this from Amazon]

Electrical tape

Epoxy resin adhesive


Mears further elaborates on how to combine these elements:

Take a terminal block connector and using a knife remove the plastic casing and you will have a small metal cylinder with two screws. Loop the cable and feed through the terminal block making sure to tighten both screws extremely tight to secure.

Feed a handle onto the other end at the desired length. Using the second terminal block tighten the screws to lock onto the steel cable. Use epoxy resin to seal the block into the handle securely.

Then take your USB dog lead remove the coloured tube and you are left with a nice copper wires circuit which can be easily wrapped around the steel cable and taped into place using electrical tape. Make sure the charging port is accessible and the button can be reached easily to turn on and off.

You should have a lovely rig set up which will guarantee great results with no more batteries needed!

It’s really a neat rig, and as seen in his photo above as well as the ending shot, he’s able to get some really great images using it. This could be a great rig to copy, or perhaps one to inspire your own personalized setup!

All images here are courtesy of Mears, AKA “DM Photography.” Be sure to check him out on Twitter for more interesting photos and video!