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Make Conductive Glue and Glue a Circuit

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This is an instructable on the best conductive glue I have been able to make that uses easy to obtain materials, glues well to most materials, is quite flexible and has a low resistance. Unfortunately for me, it uses a rubber or plastic mixture that I do not know the chemical composition of, so I cannot patent it.

There are many kinds of conductive epoxies, glues, and rubbers available. Unfortunately, they are for the most part quite expensive.
So, for more than four years, I have been trying every possible combination of likely elements, compounds, and solvents that I could get my hands on, in order to make my own truly affordable conductive glue. While I have found several that have excellent low conductivity, they tend to be quite brittle and have a tendency to crack. The conductive glue presented here does not have these problems.

Because this glue is quite flexible and you can vary its resistance, it has potential for different kinds of paint on sensors for robots or other devices. It should be possible to paint on strain gauges on the outside of a regular glove and use it for virtual reality or other control possibilities. Touch sensors and membrane switches can be painted on various flexible or rigid surfaces.

It can be used to paint on wires and resistors and as a glued solder joint. It can also be used to paint on strain gauges, temperature sensors, electromagnetic shielding, antennas, and push-button switches. I suspect, that with more experimentation, it may be possible to use it to create capacitors, diodes and transistors.
 
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Sitherus4 days ago

very helpful. As you may know when flowing schematics the wires in real life are always so much more tangled and messy but now they don't have to be.

tstirling20 days ago

I wonder if a mixture of copper filings and graphite might give you a lower resistance while keeping the ductility you achieved with this mixture…?

MY DREAM COME TRUE !!!!!!!!!!!

PS:can it be used for genral soldering

Machine3 months ago

If it really is that good, then you should be able to make the product commercially then why don't you? It could be made to dispense from a tube with a dispenser that enables a thin circuit to be laid down.

Did you try using more than 1-1/2:1? Perhaps it would be even better.
olrob2 years ago
I am trying to connect to the + and - of a battery cell. These are calls I obtained by taking apart battery packs (14.4 V and 18 V). When done properly the tab which is welded to the battery posts is obtained and one can solder to the tab. Sometimes the tab comes off and I have nothing to solder to for connections.
Could i use the conductive glue you have explored to connect a copper tab to a battery post?
The glue needs some strength and low resistance and carry some amps of current.
Thanks, olrob
mikey77 (author)  olrob2 years ago
Sorry.

This glue has too much resistance to carry large amounts of current.

With amps it will start to smoke.
olrob mikey772 years ago
Thanks Mikey77. when I measure a 1" tab that is welded to a + or - post I get 1.4 ohms from one end to the other with alligator clips on each end. Does any of your trials have a resistance near 1.4 ohms?

A 14.4 V Craftsman NICD battery pack delivers from 1.2 to 2.2 amps (quality & price). It contains 12 1.2 V cells in series. NiMH cells can produce 3.2 to 4.5 amps at 1.2 V. Li-Ion cells are rated at 3.6 V and 2.6 amps each.
One of my applications is a Skil Twist battery powered screwdriver. It uses 2 NICD cells in series for 2.4 V and 2 amps in an intermittent operation. I would guess that each screwing operation would have 30 seconds on and 30 second off.
My Craftsman 14.4 v power screwdriver would work about the same (2 amps for 30 seconds).
Would your lowest resistance mixtures still smoke with a 2 amp 30 second cycle?
Thanks again.
cgosh olrob1 year ago
IMHO, trying to use makeshift materials as a conductor for high-current circuits is a mistake. I found that my local Batteries Plus store makes custom battery packs by spot-welding tabs to their rechargeable batteries. If your tab has fallen off, see if they'll put it back on for you.

This instructable has tremendous value for low-current devices in creative uses. I've had great luck with Circuit Writer pens from Mouser and Radio Shack, but they're expensive ($20), have a small quantity, and dry out in about a year.

If you want to try your luck, consider adding surface-mount LED's, capacitors and resistors directly to the pins of a mini-DIP package. I once did this with a 556 timer, using bits of adhesive tape barriers to create power rails and conductive zones.
olrob olrob2 years ago
I see that 3M™ 1181 EMI Copper Foil Shielding Tape has excellent conductivity (.005 ohm) and it's solderable. A small piece of the tape could be bonded to a battery post and a tab could be soldered to the tape. Their conductive acrylic pressure-sensitive adhesive is the key. Have you tried anything like that?
Thanks
Unfortunately, this method won't work. While the tape itself is capable of carrying the required current, the problem comes from the adhesive side acting as an insulator. The only way to connect to the copper tape from the adhesive side is to clean off the glue and scrape away the oxide-like material just beneath it. Even then, it's difficult to get the tape to contact the battery with enough force to make a good connection.

Getting foil tape to make a good, strong connection to a flat surface is a challenge on its own... especially when higher currents are involved. One of the best ways to do this would be to use a small spring taped to the end of the battery, then slip the tape or wire under the spring to remain tightly fixed against it.
olrob mikey772 years ago
Did you try grinding a silver spoon (knife, fork) and collect the silver particles? There are a number of silver epoxies around with excellent conductive properties. I was inquiring about one that I could buy for $25 for 5 grams but that weight corresponds to about 2 dabs ( two trials) with a dab of the epoxy between a cell post and a copper strip which is very expensive.

It's like soldering with no heat. :P
Guavaman2 years ago
I have two keyboards that were damaged by water spills and was looking for a (cheap) way to fix them when I came across your article.

Being cheap, I first tried a variation of the conductive glue idea using filed aluminum from a soda can aand clear paper glue, but it yielded 0 conductivity. I was forced to spend $2 on the lubricating graphite and try again, still with the Pentel brush glue as the base. It worked, but very weakly. The resistance was so high 2 AA batteries could barely make it through to light up an LED. I then tried wood glue as the base but came up with 0 conductivity.

Sadly, my attempts at being MacGuyver all came up very short. I went out spent $8 bought some black liquid elec tape (Blue Magic brand) and tried again. YET AGAIN the conductivity was very poor, although slightly better than with the clear paper glue. But it was still too weak for a the chip in the keyboard to detect the signal. Unless I'm doing something terribly wrong, the graphite just doesn't seem conductive enough for almost any purpose to me.

My last attempt involved gluing a staple to the keyboard membrane over the bad trace which looks like it is allowing slightly more current through. I have to wait for it to dry and see...

Any of you thinking you can use this in place of solder, think twice.
Luziviech2 years ago
Umm. I want to make sum conductive adhesive, too, but i dunno where to get Performix as i'm outta USA, nor do i know what i can use instead. Second problem i got is: what is the graphite for and how do i dose it? I came along sum other howto ( http://smackaay.com/2009/01/13/making-a-conductive-adhesive/ ) and so i got sum useful glue plus the mentioned iron filings, but yet no idea for the graphite's use and its amount.
I would really appreciate, if you could help. Though knowing instructables, i came here via your website and i'd say that the pict of your trials with different materials are proof enough of your competence, so maybe could you even give a comment about the benefit of the alien howto?

Greetz,
Luke
motleyjust2 years ago

Nice I can use this. Thanks.

The link http://www.Inklesspress.com/electronic_parts_2.htm
for smaller spools conductive thread doesn't work.


this should work with other plastics and epoxy resein right?
Yes, but you will have to try your own formulations. I have tried with pva school glue and an organic-solvent-synthetic-rubber glue, but this late one is more hard to handle because it cures to fast. I have tried epoxy resin also and it performed very badly.
Have you tried hot glue?
No, but I guess it will not work. I cannot even imagine a way to do it, maybe you will have to make your own sticks with metal powder heavily embedded on it.
You could make a mold of the glu gun sticks, melt the glue, mix in the graphite in and mould it back into shape
how well did the school glue work?
It works well to make paper circuits, check it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2l9fKVTICw
xile62 years ago
I didnt read all the comments but has anyone tried metal shaving? I work on cars and ive grind down some pipes before. And im left with this metal dust. So couldnt i use that alone with the glue?
Agentfern xile62 years ago
You probably could, i dont see why not.
Exocetid2 years ago
Excellent Instructable and you "did an Edison" in your search for a solution to a common problem. Bravo!
What are you using for this circuit, where is you diagram? Interesting instructable, but it could use a little more explanation. However, if you have included these things, they are so buried in words it's nearly impossible to find them. ie: clarification, please!
thetapeworks.com doesnt supply liquid tape anymore...
buytape.com does though, and its run by the same people

btw, love this idea!!
Thanks.

I have made the correction.
no problem
pietzeekoe2 years ago
How a bout conductive ink so you can draw and maybe even print circuits.
(removed by author or community request)
 probably a decade counter or similar linear device with a built in oscillator.
Oh wait it's a picaxe...
Definitely not a decade counter because it only has 8 pins. But pretty sure your right on the latter.
Kaisei132 years ago
I am going to be using your glue for an upcoming project. Do you mind if I refer to this instructable?
mikey77 (author)  Kaisei132 years ago
Please do.

And let us know if you discover anything interesting.
jkachursky2 years ago
Does anyone know if this could be used to create a gel battery?
ponyballs12 years ago
VOAH
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