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  • Button Lights
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  • Shape Memory Alloy connection
  • Shape Memory Alloy Training
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  • SMA Smocking Swatch Example
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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

    Shape Memory Alloy Training

    You need to “train” or memorize the shape, in order for SMA (Shape Memory Alloy) to change its shape to what you like. There are many tutorials you can find, from heating up with blowtorch to using candles.

    In this example, I am using Flexinol 0.001 LT from robotshop (http://www.robotshop.com/en/dynalloy-flexinol-010-lt-actuator-wire.html). Perhaps it differs on which SMA you are using, but here is what I know for this particular SMA.
    You need to fix the SMA to the shape you want and heat it with 400 degrees for 8-10min in order for it to memorize the shape.

    Step 1: Fix SMA into the shape you want

    As you heat the SMA, it will move to the shape it was memorized for the last. When you buy them, it usually go to straight shape when you heat up. You will need to fix the SMA into the shape you want tightly with tools that are strong against the heat.
    Here, I would like it to be trained to coil shape, so I am fixing it onto a metal screw using knot to fix the end tight.

    Step 2: Heat it up to 400 degrees for 8-10min

    It will be ideal to use kilim with temperature control, as they can go up to 500 degrees easily. As I do not have access to kilim, I am using heatgun, which you can set to 400 degrees. I am using metal helping hand to fix the screw on the heatgun. It will get very hot, so make sure you have your setup heat safe. After 4-5min, you probably want to turn it around so it is evenly exposed to the heat.

    Step 3: Drop it quickly into cold water

    After the heating is done, quickly dip it into cold water to cool it down rapidly.

    Step 4: Take it out from the fixing tool and test

    You can now take it out from the fix. It is not necessary but you can check if the training worked. I used hot water for a quick test. Just pour hot water in a bowl and drop your SMA. It will quickly turn into the shape.

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