Picture of Conductive Thread Wind-up
Got some thread but too much resistance?
Got some wire that's too thin?
Need a special fashion look to complete your eTextile design?
In a pinch to finish some soft circuitry?

Simply wind-up your own conductive thread/wire with a flick of your wrist!

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Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts
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Conductive Thread
Conductive Wire - I used Insulated Copper Wire from a former printer motor
Fringe Twister can be purchased or easily made.
Steel wool

Two other cord making tools have just come to my awareness.
They can be found at one of my favorite suppliers, Textura.
Bradshaw Rope Maker
Leonardo Rope Machine
I have not used these tools, but would like to!

Step 2: Stainless Steel Thread

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Tie a knot at the end of each strand of thread. This helps the clamps secure threads.
Place one strand of 2-ply stainless steel thread in each clamp.
Tie loose ends together and anchor to a stable surface - tie to a door knob, vice grips or have someone hold it.
Turn the crank on the fringer until the desired length is reached.
Remove strands from the fringer and knot.

Test the new thread with a multimeter.
Depending on your material choice the new thread might have a higher/same/lower resistance.

Step 3: Insulated Copper Wire

For this example I harvested wire from a printer motor.
Gain access to the motor.
Unwind some of the insulated copper thread.

Place all four wires in one clamp. Wire is too smooth to twist together in the traditional method of fringe twisting, which is one wire per clamp.

At points of connection the insulation must be removed.
I used steel wool to abrade the insulation off the copper wire.

Test the new multi-ply wire twist with a multimeter.
Depending on your material choice the new twist might have a higher/same/lower resistance.

Pros for insulated multi-ply wire: insulated, free, re-purposed, can be soldered

Cons for insulated multi-ply wire: less flexible than thread, insulated

Step 4: FAIL!

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Some things not to do....

Step 5: Options - the experimental candy store

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Many variations of color, texture, capacity and soldering ability are available when making your own conductive thread.

Experiment with everything possible to support your design theme, method of connecting circuits and end goal.

As always - test the new multi-ply thread/wire twist with a multimeter.
Depending on your material choice the new twist might have a higher/same/lower resistance.

Do you think this could be done with a spinning wheel, or do you think the wire would be bent too much by going through so many sharp turns?
Lynne Bruning (author)  whistlinpixie2 years ago
You can spin with wire as well as conductive thread!
Have at it!!!! and please send pics. :)
decora4 years ago
this just causes all kinds of happy centers to go off bursting in my brain.
Nyxius4 years ago
you should add a 1/4 in bolt and saw off the head of it. this would let you put it in a drill and keep constant pressure on it while you are winding.
Wow, that was really cool! I'm gonna need to try making one of these next time I'm at the hardware shop. Maybe spruce up my breadboard a little ;) Thanks for the instructable :)
Lynne Bruning (author)  glenn.craver6 years ago
Glad you found it helpful.
osgeld6 years ago
i think you really have something here, especially with twisting conductivity with yarn excellent !
erosser6 years ago
This is a fabulous idea! I've done some finger weaving, and this would be ideal for cording the fringes at the end. Nice work, and very cleanly executed!
Lynne Bruning (author)  erosser6 years ago
thats what the fringers were originally made for.
Lynne Bruning (author) 6 years ago
thank you for your geek nerdy graciousness and not leaving me on the dance floor all alone. omgosh...reliving middle school.
jamwaffles6 years ago
cool. shame you have no comments - you deserve more :)