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

Copper Tape Project

Patrick Hurtado

Quote Paper Circuit

For my in-class quote paper circuit, I chose the classic quote: “A man, a plan, a canal, Panama”, of which the picture I drew for it was the Panama flag. To activate the flag LEDs, one needs to pinch down on the switch on the top of the flag to complete the circuit.

Quote Side
Panama Flag, with top left blue star and bottom right red star being changed to repectively colored LEDs.

3D Paper Circuit

For my copper circuit implementation, I chose to forgo paper material and chose to go with cardboard for my project. I was never good at origami and don’t have the finger dexterity to work with the fragility of paper. I also wanted to make to make a robot, and cardboard is the most robotic like structure I could use.

Copper Circuit Design

The original design of the robot included two LEDs as the eyes and two LEDs as a form of “fingers” for the robot, much like ET. In order to maintain voltage across the circuit, the eyes were chosen to be yellow, while the fingers would be red. The pairs LEDs are also done in parallel in order to use just one battery to power the entire system.

Design for Copper Circuit.

Robot: The Head

The design for the robot effectively became two parts: one parallel circuit for the head of the robot, and one parallel circuit for the body. The head consists of two yellow LEDs as eyes in parallel, as well as the switch used to turn the robot on and off.

Robot: The Body

The body of the robot takes a more lax form than the head. While the general setup is the same, I chose to make the wires free form, not having them taped down unless necessary. This was to add a more rundown look to the robot. I also wanted the robot to have squiggly arms, and so the wires did that job done well.

Robot: The Hat

The hat of the robot is the switch for the system. When it is inserted, it connected the battery in the head to the rest of the system.

Challenges and Reflections

One of the biggest challenges when working on this project is the wires themselves. Since I wanted them to be freeform, I found difficulty in testing the circuit to make sure everything was connected properly. Ensuring that the robot and hat were able to stand was also an issue.

When reflecting, something I would definitely change is design itself. I would have definitely liked to have taken more time to add more LEDs in the system, as well as design it so the inner wires had a greater effect than they currently do. I also would have added legs of some kind. Ultimately, I am happy with my idea and the execution, particularly with the hat-as-switch mechanism.