Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Illinois Informatics and School of Information Sciences
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Copper Tape Origami Pikachu

For this week, I created three different simple circuits using copper tape and different LEDs.

I started with a basic copper tape circuit with a switch. It was basically taping over pre-drawn lines, but it helped me understand how the tape worked, and made me familiar with using copper tape.

Basic Copper Tape Circuit

Then, I created a simple light up card using parallel circuits. Again, this made me more comfortable with working with copper tapes.

For my assignment, I immediately thought of making Pikachu from Pokemon. Since we were working with electricity, I think this is a natural connection.

I looked up an origami Pikachu tutorial online, and made a prototype version. The paper I used was too thick, and therefore it was difficult to make.

Initial Trial

For my second prototype, I used a bigger, and thinner paper so that it would be easier to fold. It was easier to make, and looked nicer. Then, I unfolded everything back to a square, and laid out the circuit. The positioning of my LED’s made it difficult to create a parallel circuit. I ended up having to tape over the copper tape with regular tape, then apply copper tape over it to create a parallel circuit. I folded everything back up, and checked that it was lighting up.

Then, I started preparing the final version of my assignment. With a new piece of paper, I carefully made another Pikachu. Then, I marked the sides that were visible with a yellow color pencil. Then, I unfolded everything, and colored in the marked sides, and drew on the face and ear tips. Then, I re-laid the circuit with copper tape, and tested the circuit. I folded everything back, and tested the lights once again.

This was a fun experience, and definitely challenging. I was quite worried that the circuit might not work out while making my second prototype. Making a parallel circuit seemed almost impossible, as I needed the circuits to run on top of each other. I was able to circumvent the problem by applying normal tape over the copper tape, and running another copper tape on top of the normal tape.

I also could not create a typical switch that I learned in lab. Instead, I had to use the battery itself as a switch. I applied normal tape around the battery, making the bottom part lifted up slightly by the tape. Then I could activate the circuit by pressing down the battery to make a connection with the copper tape.

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