Introduction: Electronic Bracelet

This instructable details the creation of a bracelet made from scrap electronic components. I work at an office where components are periodically scrapped when newer circuit designs are released. The scrapped IC components for this bracelet were rescued for art purposes before they found their way into the recycling bin. The featured integrated circuit in the middle of the design was recovered from a circuit board repair. 

Step 1: Tools and Parts

The tools for this project include:
  • Soldering Iron - not essential as the whole project could be done using wire wrapping techniques. I started off with the soldering iron so a lot of the joins were made with the soldering iron.
  • Side cutters - for trimming component leads
  • Long nose pliers
The supplies
  • Jewelry wire - I raided this from my daughters supply. Looks to be about 1/64" thick and is silver coated which makes it easy to solder
  • 10 x 8pin DIP integrated circuits
  • 1 x Feature IC - anythng in a bigger package will do to define the center of the bracelet. You could also use the smaller dip packages all the way round for a different style.
  • 8 x 100nF decoupling capacitors ( look like blue beads ) (http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12401429)
  • 4 x 1/4W 10% resistors any value will do - we are using them for cosmetic puposes
  • 2 x 1N1418 Diodes (http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062587) - look like glass beads

Step 2: Center Piece

First cut the jewelry wire with the side cutters so that you have two pieces the same diameter. I used my daughters arm as a gauge. You will need to adjust the size to match the recipients wrist size. The wire is very elastic and it takes a lot to permanently deform it.
The center piece was placed in the center with the wire running underneath the chip between the legs and the plastic body of the IC. A small dot of solder was used to fix the chip to the wire at each end.
Then the same process was applied to the second piece of wire. You should end up with the center piece fixed to two roughly parallel hoops.

Step 3: Making the Sides

The first components to be added after the center piece are the two resistors - one on either side. The resistor leads were bent around the jewelry wire and then held in place with a small blob of solder. The legs were trimmed and then re-soldered to cover the trimmed ends. This is done to prevent copper corrosion on the exposed cut.

The wire was then bent inward until to match the width of the 8 pin DIP IC. The jewelry wire is run up under the IC so that the wire is between the body and the pins of the IC. The long nose pliers are used to fold the legs over the wire keeping the IC attached to the wire.  

Step 4: The Band

The arm band for the bracelet is an alternating sequence of IC and capacitor. This was done to add a sense of realism to the "circuit" as it is typical design practice in electronics to place a decoupling capacitor near the power pin of each IC in the circuit. For the bracelet, this is purely decorative.

The capacitors can be placed into the bracelet by looping the capacitor leads over the jewelry wire and trimming off the excess wire. Initially I soldered the capacitors but after a while, found it easier to keep them in place by wrapping the leads around the jewelry wire. 

After all the ICs and capacitors are in place, make sure the pins of the ICs are all soldered to each other to stop the ends from poking into the skin of the wearer. 

Step 5: Clasp

The last step in the making of the bracelet is to fashion a clasp. The end was squared off on the one side by bending the wire at right angles and then soldering the bent piece to the straight piece as shown in the pictures. The other side of the clasp was made by bending he ends at right angles and then making tight loops on the ends. The clasp works by lightly pressing the free ends together to slip into the rectangular end.

Step 6: Finally Done

Some final pictures of the completed project.  I used light sandpaper (360 grit) to take off any sharp points and make the bracelet comfortable to wear. 
There are a lot of other ideas for this type of bracelet. For example, using resistors or diodes instead of ICs for more of a techno beading design.
I hope you found this to be a useful guide. 

Comments

author
stizzz (author)2017-01-26

Beautiful! Literally, wearable electronics. :)

author
louie cevasco (author)2016-02-11

cool definitely going to make this.

author
Ploopy (author)2015-07-17

Cool!

author
redsunmtm (author)2014-02-04

yes, the servers went down, i lost all my site and have to re do it, but here is my first site (2002) where oldest objects where done (i started doing that since 2000)

author
redsunmtm (author)redsunmtm2014-02-04

i fogot the adress:http://eclipse-online.info

or the first try off my new site but the charging time is really long (that's why i mooved to another place, but then i lost all)

http://mich.comuv.com/index.php/medias/recyclage

author
cgrrty (author)2014-01-20

Very well Love it

author
redsunmtm (author)2013-06-27

hi, good one, take a look here:
http://redsunmtm.gheberg.eu/index.php/sculpture
i am doing this kind of scrapping for years now

author
MidnightMaker (author)redsunmtm2013-06-28

Nice work on your site. The chess set is my favorite

author
redsunmtm (author)MidnightMaker2013-07-01

thank you !
it was also one of the longest to finish, because of the plate: it was made with only grafic cards chips (a lot) and all playable parts are in ceramic chips (eeprom)
(just in case, the direction of the site is eclips3.info now...)

author
foobear (author)2013-06-09

It actually looks really good. I could see a man wearing that. There is not much jewelry that men will wear, so that is a rare compliment.

author
MidnightMaker (author)foobear2013-06-09

Thanks!

author
seudafed (author)2013-06-04

Very nice! Much more stylish than the one they gave me to wear around my ankle :)

author
MidnightMaker (author)seudafed2013-06-07

Thanks - and a lot lighter too!

author
agis68 (author)2013-06-04

i made one but with copper wire not silver....cool

author
MidnightMaker (author)agis682013-06-07

Post some pictures - I'd like to see them!

author
elbowmanufacturing (author)2013-06-04

This is lovely, thanks. I tried to make electronics jewelry and in the past and never quite captured the look I knew it could be. I'll make on or two of these for sure. Respect for the realistic touch with the supply bypass capacitors, that's the kind of detail I love.

author

I appreciate the comments

author
ygupta1 (author)2013-06-03

this totally matches with my geek shirt and personality! thanks!

author
MidnightMaker (author)ygupta12013-06-07

Glad you liked it!

author
Penolopy Bulnick (author)2013-06-03

Very fun idea! Love the look :)

author

Thanks!

author
Kuberkoos (author)2013-06-05

I factored in our humidity, times of sunrise and sunset, as well as the greenness of my neighbors lawn, and the heat-sink come out to 5.473Kgs or 11lb 16 oz. I think I'll let this one go. Thanks for all the help, MidnightMaker, clazman and Lazerdave. The Instructible community is truly a friendly, helpful crowd!

author
MidnightMaker (author)Kuberkoos2013-06-05

I think you are supposed to divide by the square of sunset time. That should reduce the heatsink down to a couple of grams which makes this totally feasible.

author
Kuberkoos (author)2013-06-04

Wanna make one for my wife......Seeing that she's really hot; do you think I will need to add heatsinks, and how would I calculate the size of the latter? :-)

author
MidnightMaker (author)Kuberkoos2013-06-04

I don't remember the formula exactly but it can be approximated by V=H * T where V=Heatsink volume, H= Hotness on a scale of 1 to 10 and T is the universal constant of hotness in imperial units.

author
clazman (author)MidnightMaker2013-06-04

love it!! ; )

especially the universal constant "T"! clever. I would have ued Kc instead (where "c" is a subscript)

Again very good!

author
LaserDave (author)MidnightMaker2013-06-04

Dunno if you were just playing along, but Kuberkoos was referring to his wife as being "hot".

Your time spent formulating a nice helpful answer, after retrieving and verifying the formulas was, sadly, for nothing. It was rather mean to waste your time, but he probably found it funny.

Keep up the good work.
~D

author
MidnightMaker (author)LaserDave2013-06-04

Yip, just playing along. The formula was made up on the fly - not in any text book I ever read :-)

author
LaserDave (author)2013-06-04

What a great idea!!!

Not only does it show that you are an electronics junky (pun not intended) but it's a piece of art! This is one of the best-looking geek-ware examples I've seen.

While it's great the way it is, I'd like to add a couple of suggestions for you or those who'd like to build one for themselves. These are not criticisms, merely suggestions for inspiration.

- Some silicone rubber or some type of epoxy could be used on the underside to protect the skin from the solder metals and the sharp(ish) joints and corners of the parts.
A determined builder might embed the whole thing in an epoxy resin, and add a joint on either side for flexibility, perhaps with a tiny length of ribbon cable. It would prevent further oxidisation of the shiny solder joints, and it would offer protection from mechanical and moisture damage.

- The centerpiece chip could be one of those older EPROM devices with the clear window in the middle to show the intricate die inside with its many ultra-fine gold wires. Simulating a jewel, it would be a fantastic conversation piece since it reveals what's inside the otherwise invisible world of the microchip.

- The closure "clasp" could be a USB jack and plug, you could use the plug side as a flash drive (jump drive, thumb drive) that is always with you, impossible to lose.

- If the flash drive idea resonates with anyone, there is a very good use for it -
You can keep all of your information and medical history on the drive in case of an accident.

- The project could also contain "hidden" features like blinking lights, laser diodes, TV remote using a tiny microcontroller, digital watch, heartbeat/pressure/temp monitor, car entry or access control transmitter (keyfob type), ultrasonic mosquito repellant, etc. ...powered by a couple of rechargeable coin batteries via the USB plug.

These are just a few friendly ideas that come to mind. Hopefully it will provoke thought and innovation in others. This bracelet project has enormous possibilities for creative types. Hundreds of applications are just waiting to become a reality using today's tiny parts and microprocessors (ok, microcontrollers) that cost just a buck or two. Such an arrangement could be reprogrammed whenever a new application comes to mind.

Peace!

author
MidnightMaker (author)LaserDave2013-06-04

The ultrasonic mosquito repellent would be a big seller down my way. Good ideas that will be helpful to many!

Cheers!

author
Istarian (author)2013-06-04

Seems pretty wasteful to just be chucking what might be still working components into the bin. I wish someone would make something like this that was an actual working circuit.

author
MidnightMaker (author)Istarian2013-06-04

I view the components as "jewelry beads". I have no use for them other than for craft work. To an electrical engineer this may appear wasteful because the IC represents tangible function to be unlocked through flow of electrons.

For the non "electronic enthusiast", they are intriguing plastic and metal devices that have strong visual appeal and can be used in a variety of non-intended ways.

author
SoakedinVancouver (author)2013-06-04

Lead! Do you spray the end product, to stop the lead from touching your bare skin?

author

No but thanks for the input. You can use RoHS compliant or silver solder as others have suggested. You can also avoid the use of soldering all together and use wire wrapping techniques

author

Wirewrapping techniques is a good idea, showcasing an older way of doing things...

I wonder if conformal coating is "safe", it would give a nice purplish hue to the whole bracelet... Now, where is that MSDS?...

author
счеренков (author)2013-06-04

I think it's not very useful, there is present lead.

author

You can use RoHS compliant or silver solder as others have suggested. You can also avoid the use of soldering all together and use wire wrapping techniques

author
mgalyean (author)2013-06-04

Having been an electronic hobbyist and former radio repair tech in the military I about certain you want to make sure you get all the lead-based solder off the components where they will contact the skin and should use jewelry silver solder to build the piece, not electronic type solder. Unless it is lead free I suppose. Lead poisoning is cumulative and not pleasant as it lowers one's IQ among other things.

author
MidnightMaker (author)mgalyean2013-06-04

Thanks for the input. Lead Free RoHS solder or jewelry solder would work fine.

author
Ploopy (author)2013-06-04

Cool

author
Orngrimm (author)2013-06-03

If you solder: Be sure you use lead-free solder... ;)