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Sew a Soft Circuit Touch Sensor

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Picture of Sew a Soft Circuit Touch Sensor
Let us sew a circuit that responds to touch.

This tutorial shows how to make a Soft Circuit Touch Sensor.
When pressure is applied to the sensor an LED lights up due to the variable "touch" pressure.

level: beginner. You will need basic sewing skills, and will learn basic electronic circuit.


MATERIALS

fabric base. new, used, or fused recycled plastic fabric from our technique on Instructables !

conductive fabric. copper taffeta from Less EMF

conductive thread. Less EMF

foam. recycled from packing materials
 
embroidery thread. Thread Art

3v coin cell battery.  DigiKey

battery holder. Digikey

LEDs. Super Bright LEDs or Radio Shack is good for local pick up in the US


TOOLS

sewing needle

needle nose pliers


scissors

and

a finger to press the sensor !

 
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Step 1: Basic Circuit pattern

Picture of Basic Circuit pattern
Here is a sketch of a basic circuit [left]
and the sketch of the pattern we will make [right].

The touch sensor will be the "switch" of our circuit.
When you touch it, the LED will turn on.

Let's begin !

Step 2: DESIGN ! CUT conductive material for the sensor

Picture of DESIGN !  CUT conductive material for the sensor
touchsensor0.jpg
Circuits like to connect, but sometimes need help...

Cut two conductive copper taffeta squares with tails.
The large square here will be used for the sensor.
The small square "tail" is to sew the conductive thread onto.




Step 3: CUT foam

Picture of CUT foam
The foam regulates the touch sensor button.

This is the barrier of the sensor.

Cut it larger than the conductive fabric.

Cut holes out of it about the size of your finger tip.

Step 4: LAYOUT the sensor

Picture of LAYOUT the sensor
The sensor is like a foam sandwich.

The conductive fabric is like two pieces of bread with foam in the middle. The foam prevents the two conductive surfaces from connecting until they get pressure.

Make sure the tails never touch !

[ from left to right ]
sensor top
copper with tail
foam with holes cut in it [middle]
copper with opposite tail
sensor bottom
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