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MZ_MAKEcation_Badge2010.gifKen Denmead, editor of the GeekDad blog, and author of the book Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share, posted one of our favorite projects from the book, Electronic Origami, on the Make: Projects platform. It’s a starter origami project where you build a simple paper box with a built-in LED circuit, drawn with a conductive ink pen.

This would be a fun MAKEcation project to do with your kids. If you do any electronic origami, inspired by this, please tell us about it/link to photos in the comments below or in the project notes of Make: Projects.

The project started with the musical question:

How can we make origami even geekier?

I was browsing the aisles at my local electronics warehouse one day, looking at parts and pieces, and I noticed a very interesting item called a CircuitWriter pen. If you remember those glitter pens that everyone loved to use in junior high school, this is the same idea. But the material is actually silver, in a suspension of acetone, resin, and a few other chemicals with big names. The idea is that you can use it to draw basic electrical circuits or fix broken traces without having to etch or solder; the pen’s ink works just like the thin conductive material on a circuit board, and will conduct electricity.

And that got me to thinking: what else could you draw on to make a circuit? What about paper? Could you draw a circuit on paper, and say, run an LED from a battery? And, if you could do that, what could you then do with the paper? All of which led me to this project.

Electronic origami on Make: Projects

Geek Dad book site

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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