Instructables

Conductive Tape

Picture of Conductive Tape
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     There is conductive thread, conductive glue, and even conductive ink. But what about conductive tape? In this Instructable I will teach you how to make conductive tape out of a few common materials. After many electronic projects of holding wires together with normal tape and alligator clips, I decided I needed to figure out something that worked better. Conductive tape has small strands of wire stuck to it to make a flexible, time saving solution that sticks to your components and wires.
     Materials: Collect a piece of 18 gauge or thicker stranded wire 5" long. Also find some type of tape, scissors (not shown), and a pair of wire strippers.
     1.) First, using the wire strippers, strip the insulation off your wire completely, exposing the strands underneath. 
     2.) Next, cut a piece of tape 5" long and lay it, sticky side up, on a flat surface. 
     3.) Sprinkle the strands of wire onto the tape and press them down. Eight to ten strands per piece of tape should be enough to make a good contact. You can adjust the length of the conductive tape by cutting a longer piece of tape and wire strands.
     4.) Lastly, trim the ends of your nearly completed conductive tape to give a nice straight edge.
     To use your conductive tape, wrap the ends of the tape around your component legs. Try making the simple circuit in the picture using your conductive tape. Begin by connecting an LED to a 220 ohm resistor, noting the polarity of the LED. Next connect the wires of a 9 volt battery clip to each side of the circuit, with the negative wire on the left and the positive wire on the right. Snap a 9 volt battery into the clip and the LED should light up. Take a minute and admire your homemade conductive tape and the ease of using it in circuits and experiments.
Toga_Dan2 years ago
Have you used a circuit like this for long? Does connection get loose fast?

Still, cool idea for prototyping.
icecats (author)  Toga_Dan2 years ago
No I haven't used the tape for an extended amount of time, but the circuits that I have done seem to be strong. I suppose that if your circuit was moving a lot, the connection might eventually come loose.
randofo2 years ago
Copper tape (available at most hardware stores) is sort of that, but it has one huge shortcoming, in that, the adhesive tends to insulate the copper from whatever you are trying to stick it to.

After looking at your Instructable, it makes me think that perhaps it is possible to use acetone to dissolve stripes of the adhesive backing off the copper tape and do something similar.

Nonetheless, cool idea.
MdP1632 randofo2 years ago
I sometimes use aluminum tape, and I get around the problem with the adhesive by cutting some slits into it and folding it over so that some of the conductive side is contacting the component. I've even made a couple of quick prototype circuit boards this way.
sethcim randofo2 years ago
mcmaster has it with conductive adhesive, if you live in their service area and want to spend money. This instructable is still a great idea for when you need it right away or for free!
icecats (author)  randofo2 years ago
Cool! Give it a try.
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