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DIY Electronic Circuits, wire and connectors

DIY reproduction of the Roland Handsonic touchpads controller made with metal adhesive tapes for connectors ans wiring (PapierLogik 2007)

Most electronicians design their circuits using breadboards: this hardware support enables to temporarilly build and test a circuit and its componenst over a standard format.

Once this stage is performed and the electronicians wants to produce a finite version of his circuit, he will usually design a PCB circuit and he will permanenty solder the components onto a dedicated circuit printed over specialtey materials.

While such methods are among the mostly used and performing process for professionnal electronicians who can also make use of a variety of development softwares for designing highly complex circuits to be mass-produced with professionnal equipments, the steps for producing circuit are often a severe limitation for DIY and low-cost electronic developments as they require an access to specific equipements and knows-how. These process also lead to highly durable but very lowly environmental-friendly industries, especially when recycling electronic wastes is concerned.

Our goal here is to circumvent these drawback by providing more accessible and eco-friendly solutions for designing custom circuits and even serial productions, using affordable tools such as those provided in public fablabs.

Useful Resources

Most Resources can be easilly classified from their cappacity to conduct the electrical energy. Metals are the best conductors while plastics, papers or other materials such as ceramics or textiles are usually insulators

Organic resources such as cotton or cellulose will have an electrical conductance that varies with the relative humidity in the air, because water is moderately condutcting electricity and will bond to these materials.

DIY Wiring

No need for building anything here, as wires can be found around everywhere, especially into broken or out-dated electronics. 5V electronics project can be made with the slighttest wires of any kind to start praticing.

Conductive yarns, slightly less conductive than metals have also been widely used, especially to connect wearable textile electronics.

Once you get more experience with building hardware devices, you will then be interested in getting more deeply into parameters of importance when chosing the appropriate wiring solution, fo instance in terms of structure and size as well as regarding the metal composing the core (most often copper).

DIY Connectors

A variety of connectors can also be hacked from old computers for instance, and soldering still remains a must to quickly but permanently connect electrical parts together.

Low-cost asian DIY solutions such as male/female connectors for breadboards can also be widely found on the internet.

It is also possible to build up custom connecting solutions, and once again, the internet is full of such examples.

DIY Circuits traces

PCB used to be for long the only substrate for the production of electronic circuit paths onto which components are being soldered. While not neing especially challenging to produce, it takes some experience and lab resources to design and draw the circuit, but also to generate the final circuit from a full metal coated PCB.

DIY solutions have also spread these last decades an circuits can now be printed with relatively conuctive inks onto various substrates, while conductive yarns or other metal conductive adhesives can be sewed or laminated onto an insulating substrate to produce manually relatively simple circuits.