Fabric PCB’s are flexible, washable (hopefully) and sewable, even with sewing machines. The method we used is basically following the fabric PCB from Leah Buechley. You need a laser cutter to do this method, since the cut pieces are quite small and needs to be accurate. It will be quite difficult to cut this by hand.
We made 16 pin DIP breakout which you can mount 4051 multiplexer, or any chip which has the same footprint will fit.
As a result, it works wonderfully! ..At least for the moment. we have to check how it changes the electrical property over time with touching/wearing/washing.We will do the wash and wear test to see if it is actually useable for full scale wearable projects.
|Stretchy conductive fabric||no||folding||5 ohm|
|ShieldIt Super||no||conductive pen||0.2 ohm|
For more detail on each conductive fabric, check CONDUCTIVE FABRICS post
How to… :
– ( )
-16pin DIP socket
-solder (if necessary)
-conductive pen (if necessary)
-needle (thick one)
* we tried four kinds of. FlecTron Conductive Fabric is solderable, although, tarnishes with skin oils and changes the resistance drastically. Therefore it is not recommended material for fabric PCB.
Fuse the fusible interfacing on conductive fabric using iron.
Place the conductive fabric on laser cutter and cut it to the shape of conductive trace for your PCB design.
Make sure that the fusible side is facing up so that laser hits the non reflective (fusible) side.
Our example design of fabric PCB for 16 pin DIP breakout is here>> 16pinDip_breakout1.pdf, 16pinDip_breakout2.pdf
place double sided tape on ironing board (or wood board). This tape is used to hold the center part of the cut conductive fabric in place. This is the part, where the DIP pin goes in, and the trace has to be spaced exactly.
Now place the cut conductive fabric in shape facing the fusible side up.
Cut off the conductive fabric in between the conductive traces out by using scissors.
place the base cotton fabric on the conductive traces and iron it to glue them together in place.
cut off the edge of the conductive traces so you can detach it from rest of the conductive fabric.
fold the outer part of the conductive trace to the other side of the base fabric and glue them together with iron.
make holes where the DIP pin goes in with thick needles. Here, I am using a needle for sewing leather. This makes it easier when you insert the DIP pin legs through fabric.
Insert the DIP pin legs through base fabric and conductive fabric trace and place it on the PCB from base fabric side. The pins should be sticking out on the conductive trace side. Make sure that it does not make a false connection to unwanted conductive traces.
When all the pins are successfully inserted through fabrics, fold pins inward toward center. This is enough for stretchy conductive fabric version to make a connection between pins and fabric. FlecTron Conductive FabricFlecTron Conductive Fabric version may need a drop of solder to secure the connection. (be careful to not to burn the fabric when soldering. it helps to practice it with extra FlecTron fabric piece before doing this) Also Conductive Pen works good to make a connection between conductive fabric to pins.
Hot glue the PIN-fabric connection part to secure and protect the connection.
Original Fabricby Leah Buechley
The above trials are inspired by the original fabric lilypad made by Leah Buechley. Please visit her tutorial to get more details on her techniques.
How to make a super simple Fabric PCB tutorial (by Leah Buechley)