For the build night we have received a big pack of Chibitronics parts, but somehow when we gathered to hack, we could not find any of the copper tape that is essential for the projects to work (ie. the wiring). Had to think quick, and while someone run off the electronics store for some replacement copper, we came up with some alternative ways to work with Chibitronics pieces.
Step 1: Magnetic Mounting
If the goal is prototyping a circuit with Chibitronics, it helps a lot if the parts are not stuck together on first try (as it was designed). Instead, we used a bunch of small magnets and a metal surface (paper cutter, VCR housing, the magnet sheet from a Circuit Scribe kit...)
The magnets held together the wiring and the pieces. For this small magnets were the most suitable. For small circuits they work well, though they get troublesome after half a dozen circuit elements. Contact is not always great, smaller pads need more tweaking in alignment and magnet placement so you can know that if the circuit does not work, it's the circuit's problem, not because the wires actually do not connect.
- Quick to set up, quick to modify
- Can work with multiple wires (layering)
- Can be tricky to make good contacts
- Magnets close to each other might move and stick together. In a good case this causes an open circuit. In a bad case this can be a bad short circuit
Step 2: Aluminium Foil Wiring
Instead of copper wire, we have tested out standard kitchen-grade aluminium foil. It works pretty well, and could easily replace copper wiring with pieces of cut foil.
- Cheaper than copper
- Easy to cut into shape or modify a strip to fit the required shape
- Very light
- Easy to tear
- Does not keep shape, so cannot easily have one wire going over/above another wire, so better keep wiring in 2D (copper is more sturdy for this "2.5D" wiring)