Example Projects
Workshops
Actuators
Connections
Power
Sensors
Traces
Circuits and Code Wireless

Conductive Materials
Non-Conductive Materials
Tools
Techniques
Traces
  • Etching Flex Circuits
  • Lasercut Fabric Circuits and Traces
  • Fabric Ribbon Cable
  • Printed Copper Traces
  • Isolating Traces
  • Knit Breadboard Circuit
  • knitted stretchy cable
  • Laser- and Vinylcut Solder Masks
  • Machine-Sewing Solderable Traces
  • Non-Stretchy Traces
  • Plated Fabric Traces
  • Plotted Flex PCB
  • Screen-printed Copper Paint on Fabric
  • Circuit Sewing Tips
  • Stretch Conductors
  • stretchy cable
  • Stretchy Traces
  • Vinylcut Copper & Fabric PCB
  • Washability Tests
  • About
  • Newsletter
  • Shopping Local

  • SEARCH
    Content by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson
    The following institutions have funded our research and supported our work:

    From 2013-2014 Mika is a guest professor at the eLab at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee

    From July - December 2013 Hannah was a researcher at the UdK's Design Research Lab

    From 2010-2012 Mika was a guest researcher in the Smart Textiles Design Lab at The Swedish School of Textiles

    From 2009 - 2011 Hannah was a graduate student in the MIT Media Lab's High-Low Tech research group led by Leah Buechley


    In 2009 Hannah and Mika were both research fellows at the Distance Lab


    Between 2003 - 2009 Hannah and Mika were both students at Interface Cultures
    We support the Open Source Hardware movement. All our own designs published on this website are released under the Free Cultural Works definition
    Traces

    Vinylcut Copper & Fabric PCB

    Using a vinyl cutter to cut the traces of a circuit design out of copper foil with adhesive backing. The copper traces can then be transferred to a base to make a flexible circuit. Additionally a solder mask can be lasercut (or also vinylcut) from fabric with adhesive backing and applied to isolate the traces and only expose the copper where one needs access to solder the components.

    Step-by-Step

    The circuit used in this example was designed in Eagle by Nathalie Krueger of the Design Research Lab at UdK Berlin.

    Prepare your vector graphics files. One for cutting the traces of the circuit from copper tape. Another for cutting your solder-mask from fabric or tape with adhesive or iron-on backing. If you designed your circuit in Eagle you can export an image, open it in Illustrator, trace and expand the image to create vectors for cutting. Black = circuit traces. Orange = solder mask.

    This circuit was cut on a Graphtec CE6000-60 viny cutter using the Graphtec’s Cutting Master 3 Illustrator plug-in.

    Remove all the copper that is NOT part of your circuit. You can do this either before or after transfering the copper to some sticky (but not too sticky) tape.



    Transfer the copper traces of the circuit to a base medium of your choice. Think about picking a material or fabric that will not melt or burn under the heat of soldering on the components.

    Your transferred circuit should look something like this.

    Solder any breaks before fusing solder mask.

    Fuse solder mask.

    Mika’s Review

    Using a Roland CAMM 1 GX-24E vinyl cutter and Cutronic Foil from TechSoft to make a simple multi-vibrator circuit following this schematic.

    Cutting went straight forward. I used Pen Force as 80 gf and speed is set to 1cm/s (lowest). The result is very clean.


    Pealing off the unwanted copper foil was easier than I thought. Occasionally I had to use pen knife to support the separation, overall it is cut very cleanly. Then I sticked a wide piece of masking tape from front side to transfer the foil from its backing and still keep it in place. Then stick it to a backing fabric (I used white cotton non-stretchy fabric) and press the copper bits so it sticks to it good.

    Soldering components on this copper foil is very easy. It sticks to solder very well, and connection seems strong enough. (we can do some washing test later). At the end, I’ve pierced popper through copper foil and fabric to make a connection to other parts, and it seems to work well as a connector.

    References

    >> Jie’s Vinylcut Fabduino

    Jie Qi’s I/O paper >> http://fab.cba.mit.edu/classes/MIT/863.10/people/jie.qi/jieweek14.html
    Jie’s Flickr set >> http://www.flickr.com/photos/jieq/sets/72157625670797923/
    Ed Baafi’s Fabduino >> http://fab.cba.mit.edu/classes/MIT/863.10/people/Edward.Baafi/assignment5.html

    >> Simon’s Instruction

    Great post by Simon de Bakker on FashioningTech
    http://www.v2.nl/lab/blog/cutout-circuit-board

    >> Nadya’s Instruction

    Instructable by Nadya Peek on vinyl cutting copper foil circuits
    http://www.instructables.com/id/How_to_make_circuits_with_a_Roland_CAMM_mign_cutte/

    >> Hannah’s Vinylcut Tilt Sensor

    Supplies

    Cutronic Foil for PCBs >> http://www.techsoft.co.uk/products/materials/knife-cutting/cutronic-foil-pcbs.asp
    3M 1126 Copper Foil with Conductive Adhesive Tape >> http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/3MElectrical/Home/ProductsServices/Products/?PC_7_RJH9U5230GE3E02LECIE20OES1_nid=781VJDMC6Lbe870G8G819Fgl
    >> http://search.digikey.com/scripts/dksearch/dksus.dll?pname&WT.z_cid=ref_octopart_dkc_buynow&site=us&lang=en&name=3M1126D-ND
    3M #1126 copper tape with conductive adhesive 6”x 36 yds @$225.18/roll from Budnick Converting >> http://www.budnickconverting.com

    5 Comments so far

    1. Kit-of-No-Parts on January 9th, 2012
    2. Elliott Miscovich on May 1st, 2012

      Thanks for that awesome write-up! Bookmarked and dugg!

    3. Circuit Diagram Art on January 16th, 2013

      [...] I like the simple stuff though I think: [...]

    4. web site on February 10th, 2013

    5. web page on February 11th, 2013

    Leave a comment