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

Paper Circuits – Craig Santo


“I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

The above drawing uses 2 LEDs in parallel – yellow and red. Though they require similar voltages, I needed to add a resistor (approximately 42 ohms) to the yellow LED’s path in order to get the red LED to light up.

3D Object

I’ve failed at origami the few times that I’ve tried, so I wanted to force myself to learn something here. With a friend teaching me how to do it, the results turned out pretty well.

Though the second crane (the one I’m holding) turned out better than the first, I actually ended up using the first one. The way it folds was useful in designing the switch mechanism.

My final design has two parallel LEDs (blue) in parallel with each other, both in series with a yellow LED. Because blue LEDs require ~3-3.3V, I knew I would likely need two batteries in series.

In principle, my circuit design was simple – two batteries link up to a yellow LED, which then links up to two parallel blue LEDs – no resistors necessary. What made this project difficult was its geometry. Wiring everything up without destroying the bird was challenging, and it definitely didn’t come out unscathed – there are plenty of folds on it, and the tape-job I did on the batteries could’ve been cleaner.

My wiring could definitely be better from an aesthetic design point – if I had more confidence/experience, I may have tried my initial design. I suppose it would also be possible to further incorporate copper wire into the pattern, given that dead-ends have little-to-no effect on a circuit.

However, over-all, I’m happy with the final product – I had to do little in the way of circuit debugging, as everything largely worked the first time around.

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