Monday, 9 November 2015

Makerspace - Electric Textiles

I am a Maker. I love all kinds of arts and crafts and so I have developed a lot of skills through my making. I am a curious person so in order to make sense of how a Makerspace may be best utilized in a school, I needed to explore some projects myself.

I love textiles. I can weave, sew, knit, crochet, knot and print and paint on textiles. My next challenge is to learn how to embed technology into my textiles. I am also curious to learn more about this to encourage more girls to work on Makerspace projects, although these kinds of projects could be also of interest to boys. Instead of a flower, you could make a robot.

Just last weekend I tried to create a circuit in fabric. One of the greatest challenges here in Jakarta is finding the resources needed for these types of projects. I decided to start with a simple circuit that requires using a coin battery, battery holder, a switch and some LEDs.

I was able to buy some conductive thread and some tiny LEDs. The first thing I did was test the LEDs with the thread and battery. I was not able to buy a battery holder for the coin battery. I know that using a AA battery is not a good idea as the power could burn out the little LEDs. I decided to break open an old toy to get the battery holder and it worked just fine.

Equipment Needed:
felt - various colours
sewing thread
conductive thread
needle nose pliers
3V coin battery
Battery holder
metal press stud clasp

Sew your felt picture. You can do this by hand or on a sewing machine. You could even just glue the felt together with fabric glue. Next check all your electric parts.

Check the positive side and negative side of the battery. Put the battery into the holder so that the wire brackets touch the matching + or - Note that the positive side also runs around the edges.

The LED has a long and short side. The long side indicates the positive.

Bend the wire on the LED to make a little loop to sew through. Simple pointed pliers will do.
Here is the bent LED ready for sewing.

Test your LED, thread and battery to make sure it works. Make sure you connect the thread securely to your battery case. I placed it under the small screws and tightened them.

Next you can start sewing the circuit.

It's a good idea for students to draw a diagram for their circuit to work out where the positive and negative connections will be sewn. This diagram is showing that placement for just one light. The other lights can connect to the circuit. They don't have to go all the way back to the battery.
Use the metal snaps as a switch. Make sure that you sew the positive connections but leave one break for the switch. This will allow you to switch your lights on and off.

Here is the finished project. 

No comments:

Post a Comment