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Electronic origami from Geek Dad

Electronic origami from Geek Dad

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

6 thoughts on “Electronic origami from Geek Dad

  1. Leesam says:

    Looks a little easier than the EMS version:

    1. Gareth Branwyn says:

      Somebody else pointed out the EMS Labs’ version too. I’d totally forgotten about that. I’m going to add this to the Make: Projects page. One of the cool things about it being a wiki is that anybody can go in and add stuff like this.

    2. oskay says:

      We’ve also done the conductive ink thing:

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn
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