Oh no! It's "insert holiday" and you've forgotten the card AND the gift! But before you run out to buy a store-bought card and generic chocolates, you remember you have some Chibitronics laying around and trusty Instructables.com!
Well you're in luck! This is a great little project that is sure to bring a smile to whomever you give it! This card is the perfect last minute gift because it is super customizable and doesn't take much time or material. I had all of the supplies already, so the project only took about an hour.
This project is also a great way to explore and make with simple circuits! Chibitronics has made it very easy to learn basic circuits through paper electronics! This was my first time and I am definitely excited to keep exploring how I can use these stickers in my work!
I can't wait to see what everyone makes with this project! Make sure to comment and share your projects! I am excited to see all the variations of the Chibitronics Robot Card!
Step 1: Gather Supplies
This project doesn't require more than a couple crafting supplies and a couple of electronic supplies.
1. Cardstock paper (2 sheets) One sheet will be the cover (laser cutting cover is optional) and the other will be the inside message. I wanted my card to be typical postcard size when folded (3-1/2in x 5in) so I purchased 2 sheets of 8-1/2in x 11in cardstock paper from ARCH Art and Drafting Supply.
2. Chibitronics - two red LED circuit stickers (found here)
3. Chibitronics - one Twinkle circuit sticker found in the Effects Pack (found here)
4. Coin cell battery
5. Copper tape (~18in long)
6. Not pictured: Tape
7. Not pictured: Small amount of tissue paper or semi-transparent sketch paper. You wont need much at all, maybe an inch square piece; this is merely a diffuser for the light.
If you're looking to buy these electronics individually Chibitronics has everything you need! And if you're looking to learn more and do more, they also have a great Circuit Stickers Intro Pack ($10) and the more advanced Chibi Lights LED Circuit Stickers STEM Starter Kit ($30) I found the best thing about using these products is the helpful resources and easy-to-learn tutorials!
Step 2: Cut Design
Because I have access to a Universal Laser Cutter, I decided to engrave my design rather than freehand draw it. Following a stock image I found online, I drew this silly robot in Rhino 5 for Mac and printed it straight from there. In the drawing, red line work signifies cut and blue line work is to raster/engrave. The design came out perfect using the cardstock settings: Red- x, x, x and Blue- x, x, x.
While I laser cut my design, this is by no means necessary to creating your project. If you don't have access to a laser cutter, simply draw your design and use an X-Acto blade to cut out the heart-shaped eyes!
Step 3: Map Electronics
Now that you have a cover card with heart-shaped cutouts, tuck the other piece of cardstock inside and outline the position of the hearts. Tape your diffuser paper to the inside of the cover paper and set the cover aside.
Finish tracing your components, the twinkle sticker and the battery cell, and trace the LED's so that the light is in the center of the heart shaped cutout.
Next, draw out the circuit. The best way to map out a circuit is to follow the positive+ and negative- signs as they move from source to components. I like to use two different colors so I know what current each line is carrying; in this case, green is neg- and pink is pos+.
So starting with the battery cell, which is placed neg- face down, the circuit travels to the neg- point of the twinkle sticker and hits the neg- edges of the LED lights.
Do the same thing with the positive side. We'll be folding the pos+ onto the battery, so start your map to the side of the traced battery cell. Travel up to the pos+ point of the twinkle sticker. At this point, lift your pen and start again from the signal point of the twinkle sticker. Connect to the pos+ edges of the LEDs in the same order you connected the neg- edges.
(( I realized when I got to the next step that the pos+ map I drew here was wrong. Go ahead and follow the written instructions and reference the copper tape images in the next step.))
Step 4: Add Battery
While most tutorials reference a folded corner to connect to the power, there are many ways of completing a circuit and attaching batteries to paper electronics! Chibitronics even shows how to use magnets to hold a battery cell in place in this tutorial! We'll be using a hybrid for this card.
Simply cutout a small rectangular piece of paper that is the slightly wider than your battery (roughly 1-1/4in wide). Align the folded piece to your traced battery, fold the rest around the creased edge and tape! The result is very similar to the folded corners without taking away from your card!
Step 5: Add Copper
You're almost there! Next, trace your drawn circuit with copper tape! As shown in the picture, start your
This works best when its with one long piece of copper tape rather than a bunch of short pieces. Gently fold the corners to keep the piece together.
The Chibitronics stickers have conductive backs, so once the copper is in place, place the stickers on top of the tape.
Finally, add your battery! I used a binder clip for these photos and to test my circuit, but once everything is set, you can secure any part of the circuit with normal scotch tape.
Step 6: Explore and Make!
And with a little note, you have a customized, handmade last minute gift and card!
I've always found homemade gifts so highly received because they are so customizable! I happened to see this message online somewhere, and I thought it would be a cute Valentine's Day card.
Your Chibitronics Robot Card is a great way to explain basic circuitry. A power source, the battery in this case, sends out a current to the components it is touching. The twinkle sticker acts as a pre-programmed switch, alternating on/off to create that twinkling effect. When the circuit creates a complete loop, from the negative- power source, to the twinkle sticker, to the LEDs and then back through the LEDs, to the twinkle sticker, and reconnecting to the power source as a positive+.
Chibtronics - I'm curious to see
Circuits - There are lots more simple circuit tutorials out there! For more information about basic circuitry, AllAboutCircuits.com explains how circuits work and ExplainThatStuff.com has a great index of components and their role in making circuits run!
Make sure to comment and share your projects! I am excited to see how all the Chibitronics Robot Cards turn out!