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    Content by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson
    E-Textile Tailor Shop by KOBAKANT
    The following institutions have funded our research and supported our work:

    Since 2020, Hannah is guest professor of the Spiel&&Objekt Master's program at the University of Performing Arts Ernst Busch in Berlin

    From 2013-2015 Mika was 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

    Sewable Surface Mount LEDs

    If you want to include LED lights in your projects, one of the classic options used to be to wind the legs of a through-hole LED around the tip of a pair of needle-nose pliers, making rings that could then be sewn. Another option introduced by Leah Buechley, was to solder tiny metal crimp beads to the ends of a surface-mount LED, making it sewable. But by now there are some more options out there and this posts tries to collect different solutions for sewable LED lights.

    Homemade Solutions for Sewable LEDs

    Solderable and Sewable Extensions

    An easy solution for surface mount LEDs is to solder a strip of very flexible wire, or even a solderable conductive thread (like the ones from Karl Grimm), to the ends of the LED and you don’t even need to make it into a loop. Simply leave a 2-3 cm long lead and the stitch around it with another (non-solderable) conductive thread. Or you could also sew with the solderable conductive thread and attach the LED afterwards!

    Solder LED to Flexible PCB Breakout

    Unfortunately the spacing between the strip’s holes is slightly narrow, so it can be hard to solder on a surface mount LED without covering one of the holes. A solution to this is to cut the strip diagonally, giving you a bit more space between the holes.
    Flexible PCB strip from Plug and Wear >> http://www.plugandwear.com/default.asp?mod=product&cat_id=95,101&product_id=116

    Leah Buechley’s crimp bead LEDs

    >> http://web.media.mit.edu/~leah/grad_work/diy/diy_tank.html

    LED Bead Jig

    >> http://www.instructables.com/id/LED-Bead-Jig/?ALLSTEPS

    Commercial Sewable LEDs

    StarBoard Flexible LED Strip

    Various colours from Sparkfun >> http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10637

    LilyPad LED (standard)

    Various colours from Sparkfun >> http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10045

    LilyPad LED Mirco

    Various colours from Sparkfun >> http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10753

    Fabrickit LED Brick

    >> http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10412

    Aniomagic Lightboards

    >> http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10840

    Commercially Available LEDs

    Surface Mount LEDs (1206)

    Various colours from DigiKey >> http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?Detail&name=160-1737-1-ND

    Surface Mount LEDs (Axial)

    Various colours from DigiKey >> http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?keywords=516-1402-ND

    Square through hole 4 pin LEDs

    Bright white from DigiKey >> http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?&keywords=CP41B-WGS-CK0P0154-ND

    5mm LEDs

    Various colours from DigiKey >> http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?Detail&name=C566C-BFS-CS0W0451-ND

    4 Comments so far

    1. Lilypad Accelerometer Dancing Skirt on December 13th, 2011

      […] Everything you need to know about wearables can be found here at HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT […]

    2. emma on August 10th, 2012

      led lighting products

    3. […] and whites. I should also mention there are other options and ways of making your own. Check out here and here for some ideas, or just google “making sewable LEDs”. (3) A sewable battery […]

    4. […] Conductive Thread: use holes or curl legs of long lead components so they can be sewn. See “Homemade Solutions for Sewable LEDs” […]

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