How-To: Make Conductive Ink

Craft & Design Science Technology
How-To: Make Conductive Ink
Conductive Ink from Jordan Bunker

There are so many cool projects out there that use conductive ink, but where to get the ink? Now you can DIY that part, too!

Jordan Bunker of Pumping Station: One in Chicago embarked on this chemistry project and documented the UIUC process into easy-to-follow instructions.

Conductive inks have a myriad of different interesting applications. As a quick, additive construction method for electronic circuits, they are especially intriguing. Unfortunately, for a long time they have been just out of reach of the hobby market. They are too expensive to buy in decent quantities, too complicated to make, too resistive to be practical, or require high annealing temperatures (which would ruin many of the materials you’d want to put traces on).

Now, thanks to some brilliant minds at the UIUC Materials Research Laboratory, you can make your own decent conductive ink!

As with most things worth doing, there are risks.

NOTE: Please don’t do this at home unless you understand the risks and dangers and know how to avoid them. In fact, it’s best that you have a chemist or someone experienced with how to handle chemicals properly help you.

Ammonium hydroxide is nasty stuff. Formic Acid is even worse (It’s basically liquid pain. It’s the chemical in ant bites and bee stings that makes them hurt). Please respect this stuff.

See the material list, full process, and trial and error on Jordan’s post.

Drawing Circuits in Conductive Ink

4 thoughts on “How-To: Make Conductive Ink

  1. Paul says:

    Have a look at this

    is a possible engine made from a naturally occurring high crystalline high diamagnetic graphite and then have a look at this

    it is for a conductive ink that’s makes the competition look like pants.
    You can get these things really easily from
    for the ink and diamagnetic graphite. And they are cheap!

  2. Maia Donadze says:

    Met this new company at a UK maker fair, they have produced a conductive ink which I compared to Bare and it is far superior, I actually recorded 2 ohms per square, on top of this it is made from a special Sri Lankan graphite which gives the ink a beautiful metallic silver colour, also I was disappointed with Bare as when I received the conductive pen it was like putty whereas the Think Ink product was like a flowing ink, thumbs up for the Think Ink crew : )

  3. » Digital Printing, Screen Printing and Conductive Ink: Common Membrane Switch Design Technologies Compared | Membrane Switch News and Views: Pannam Blog says:

    […] There are also a multitude of tutorials for do-it-yourself conductive ink brewing, such as this one and this […]

  4. Science: How Conductive Ink Works And How To Make Your Own | Verum Et Inventa says:

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Willow Brugh has been an active participant in the hacker and makerspace community since 2008, giving her purpose towards distributed systems, engaged citizenship, and mutual aid. With heavy involvement in Maker Faire, Random Hacks of Kindness, and the SpaceApps Challenge, Willow’s main skill is “getting out of the way.” She loves seeing how ideals which thrive online, such as transparency and collaboration, manifest in these spaces and events. Willow has also been known to give candy to individuals from more traditional approaches to entice them towards these different models of engagement.

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