I’m obsessed with paper circuits.

Today I got an early start because I was meeting up with a friend for book chatting and coffee, which was a great way to start the day.  Then I popped in to school just to pick up packages, including a set of circuit stickers, and then stopped on the way home to buy some glue and a blank Moleskine for hacking (how perfect that pocket in the back is for the battery and clips!).  I spent all afternoon and night playing in my new journal.

What I learned:

-I read that cutting the copper tape in half makes it easier to make shapes with it.  Tested this out, and found it to be true, plus that makes the tape last twice as long.

-I learned how to make a slide switch, which is super fun.  This can create an animation effect, which I want to play with (I just figured out the slide switch a bit ago, so haven’t “used” it yet besides just creating it with one LED and then with three).

-About circuit stickers: When I have tried with surface mounts to put lights of different colors in the same circuit, I often run into trouble with inconsistency in whether or how much they would light up.  The circuit stickers haven’t had that problem–I can put red, blue, and yellow together in one circuit and they all light up great.  I’m still using surface mount whenever I’m not doing that, because the stickers are pricier, but it’s nice to know that I have a reliable option for that kind of thing.  And the lights are really nice.  The stickers seem to stick well.  What has been VERY useful is the instructions in the sketchbook, which are available free online on the site linked above.  I highly recommend downloading it just for getting concepts, even if you aren’t actually printing/using the pages.

-I made a pressure sensor with conductive fabric.  The sticker kit came with some velostat, and that made me wonder if the fabric would do the same thing, and it sort of does.  I actually haven’t tried the velostat yet–I suspect it works better in some way.

It was a really enjoyable day.  I intended to go to bed over an hour ago because I am exhausted, but then I felt like I had to try one more thing.  This is my life right now: always one more thing to try.  Not a bad place at all to be.





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2 responses to “Obsessed

  1. Pictures! Pictures! Also, this advice on soldering surface mount LEDs was just posted on Catherine C’s FB page: “scuff up the copper tape with scotch brite pad or sand paper to get off oxidation and pre-tin it with solder. that way you’ll know the tape will take solder and you’ll know nothing could have kept solder from flowing under it. Most important soldering tip: when you go to solder things together, there needs to be a small blob of fresh molten solder on the tip of the iron to increase the heating surface area, otherwise you slow cook the whole thing with proximity and cover the surfaces in burnt before you can get solder to flow over them. if the tape doesn’t work you could try hammering out some wire flat and gluing it on with 5 minute epoxy, or run it under tape if it needs to be wiggly.”

    Tuck it away in your back pocket just in case…

    • Very useful. Thanks! I haven’t been having any trouble with my surface mount connections, so haven’t needed to solder, but when I tackle that again (I’m sure I will), I will use that advice!

      No pics because LEDs just photograph so terribly! But maybe I’ll add a few anyway in next post. It’s annoying, though, because what looks really cool (to me, at least) in real life looks like an over-bright blob in photos.

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