Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Copper Tape Card – Andrew Holler

This week the INFO490 Makerspace class made copper tape crafts. I thought I had an idea of what this was about before attending lab. I’ve seen videos on various social media sites of circuits and electronics that are made by taping. I was definitely expecting more of the classic circuitry feel from the projects but was pleasantly surprised by how different copper tape circuitry is. I imagine these would be (and are) a fantastic, cost-effective education tool for any age learning about electronics and circuitry. It takes little background knowledge and results are quick. Personally, this week had me a bit worried because I was very crunched for time. I’ve been busy with some tough assignments and yet found time to successfully complete a makerspace project.

The concept behind copper tape circuits is seemingly simple. Connect the positive side of a battery to the negative side using the tape. In between the loop you can put any sort of component that you wish to receive power from the battery, just make sure to create a +- loop. Challenges arose when I attempted to put LEDs in a circuit series instead of parallel. In series, if one of the LEDs fails it will break the circuit and none light up. Conversely in parallel, if one fails all the others will still work. I also found that copper tape circuitry requires a fair amount of dexterity with tape, folding, and tight spaces between paper. My final bear project had some issues due to a lack of said dexterity. I could see this being a fun and cheap hobby at home but, I haven’t and don’t see myself working on it at home.

As I mentioned before, I was crunched for time. An upcoming artificial intelligence deadline was constantly putting pressure on me. I decided to follow the tutorial posted to complete my copper tape card and it helped me finish surprisingly quickly. I ended up customizing it for myself a bit and I used the silhouette cutters to make trees and a bear. I even ended up using the negative cutout of the bear as a background instead of throwing it away. I had trouble when it came to the LEDs lighting up and it was very finicky. It was also hard to see the lights with the classic LEDs. Using the sticky ones probably would have produced better results. With more time I could probably perfect the connections and lighting of the bear.

I had fun with the quote card assignment, too. Firstly, no, I am not that talented at drawing. How did I draw these decent looking hands? The answer lied on my phone, or at least the paper did. I laid it on my phone and traced a zoomed in picture of the hands. It was a fun, clever way of getting the “Love” part of the quote I wished to convey and I liked the results. The “light” part of the quote came in with the lights lighting up the darkness when you touched the hands together as shown. It’s probably what I’m most proud of in this learning block. Another week of making down. Can’t wait for 3D printing!

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” — Martin Luther King Jr.