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

Foxy Copper Tape Assignment

This week in Makerspace, we worked with copper tape circuits and created three items.

  1. Basic paper switch (picture 1) – I think this might be my first time (maybe second) creating a paper switch. I don’t think I’ve ever used copper tape before. Albeit simple, I was really happy when my LED light lit up.
  2. Picture with two LEDs (picture 2) – It took me a bit longer to understand how parallel circuits work but I eventually got it.
  3. 3-d paper object with 2 LEDs – This project took way longer than necessary because I made a lot of mistakes…

We had a choice between a pop-up card or origami for this project. I wasn’t sure what I would do with a card so I thought I’d do origami. My idea was to have red LED lights for an animal’s eyes, and upon squeezing its tail, the eyes would light up because it is mad at the person. I looked on Youtube and saw a cute fox origami project. I’ve not worked in origami in many years and my inexperience really showed. I spent a long time trying to create a complicated fox piece but gave up after 20 minutes. I found an easier fox to make but that still took me a while (picture 3). After I completed the piece, I penciled in (while it was still 3-dimensional) where the LED lights would go, where the break in the circuit would be, and where the battery would be placed. After unfolding it, I planned out the copper tape circuit and piece placement.

The parallel circuit path proved really easy to plan (picture 4). I taped down the entire circuit and tried connecting the break. It didn’t work and I started panicking. One of my friends told me that the adhesive side of the copper tape was not very conductive. I peeled off the copper tape very carefully and twisted it so that the non-adhesive side would touch the LED stickers. It worked! Great. I folded the fox back up and tested it. The lights worked but it appeared that the LED stickers were not facing towards the sheet of paper but away from it. I had totally forgotten about that important factor. I think I was starting to lose it at this point. I undid the fox and tried peeling all the tape and stickers again. This time, the origami paper started coming off with the tape. It became a mess and I restarted. After another 30 minutes of folding and laying out the circuit path, I finally finished (picture 5 and 6). Next time I do a project, I need to plan more carefully.

                                                       

[1] Series circuit                                                 [2] Parallel circuit                                                     [3] Easy-peasy fox

 

                                                       

[4] Path drawn and laid out                                 [5] Finished project – unlit                                  [6] Pinch the tail and it lights up