Circuit Board Design Journal




A Circuit Board Design Journal made from a reclaimed circuit board, a piece of scrap wood, and scrap paper.

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Step 1: Select the Front Cover

Find an appropriate circuit board to use as a front cover for your journal. Remember that the cover will determine the dimensions of your journal.
In this case, I used a circuit board that had been etched but not soldered.

Step 2: The Pages

Select the type of paper for your journal. In this case, I used 8 sheets (32 pages) of graph paper and 8 sheets of plain paper. I got the paper from an artists' recycle store.

Step 3: The Back Cover

Select the back cover material. I used a piece of scrap board, from Tech Shop, that needed stabilization; the knot in the board limited number of applications for which the board could be used. Cut the board to the same size as the circuit board. For this cover I stabilized the knot in the board with Superglue. To make the stabilization even stronger, I could have filled the crevices with sawdust before applying the glue.

Step 4: Finishing the Back Cover

I sanded the back cover and sprayed it with polyurethane.

Step 5: Holes for Stitching

Put the covers together and make holes for the cover binding (stitching). In this case the cover was 6" down the side and so I made 3 sets of two holes a half inch apart centered on points 1, 3, and 5 inches from the top edge. I drilled the holes with a Dremel drill press. I drilled holes just big enough for my sewing needle (discussed later) to pass through and centered on a point .13 inches from the edge. I do not work for or own stock in the Dremel Company.

Step 6: Preparing the Pages

Cut paper to size 2 times the size of the cover. In this case, my cover was 4" x 6" and so I cut my paper into 8" x 4" sheets.

Step 7: Paper to Pages

Fold the paper to page size. Then spread the pages back out to mark the center fold to align with the cover holes. when I folded these pages, I wanted them to lie flat. I stuck folded sheets between two pieces of wood and squeezed the dickens out of them in a vice. This worked.

When marking the holes in the pages, I used the cover as a guide and marked the folds with a pencil. You want the holes marked in the crease. I kept all eight sheets together. One group of sheets is called a signature. I had two signatures; one made up of 8 sheets of graph paper and one made up of 8 sheets of plain paper.

Step 8: Holes in the Signatures

Make holes in the signatures for your binder thread.

Step 9: Parts Start Coming Together

Bring the pieces together for assembly. Note two new items: the cord for sewing together the binding and the hooked needle.

The cord was purchased at the Artist's recycle shop and a spool of it was 50 cents. There was enough cord on the roll to do maybe 100 books. I asked the clerk if the cord was strong enough to bind books and he said yes. I got some bees' wax for 50 cents at the same shop and pulled the chord through the wax bar several times. The bees' wax strengthens the chord and makes it easier to pull through holes. If you don't think your cord is strong enough, double the cord and pull both -- together -- through the holes.

The hooked needle will help you in binding the book. When you want to make a knot between two signatures or between a signature and a cover, you can run the hook sideways and push the needle up on the other side of a cord, grab the needle, and complete your knot without having to retrieve the needle from between the parts ~ this instruction will make more sense once you start binding the book.

The left over bees' wax can be used to lubricate zippers, making back packs and winter coats more user friendly.

Step 10: Now We Are Talking

Start sewing your book together. This is the tough part. You can sew it together to accomplish different things: you can get it to open flat, bind it tight to make it durable, or even bind it so that you can easily replace the pages. Type in Coptic binding and Youtube will take you to a lot of book binding demos. Please find the one that is easy for you to follow. Some choices are:

Be patient, but finish. I parroted the binding video but didn't match the knots exactly, and my book came out okay.

Two notes about needles. I used, used straight needles, using them to make holes in the signatures and for learning to tie knots. I bought a new curved needle because I couldn't readily source a used one. Remember, the holes in your cover need to be large enough for the needle to pass through and no larger.

Step 11: That's a Wrap!!!

Once you are done with tying the binding, you are done. I hope you enjoy your book.

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    21 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Too innovative dude


    3 years ago

    Nice! That isn't a salvaged circuit board right? It looks new

    I am a scrounger (forager) and I often rummage (pick) through discards, junk, castoffs, and "mark-down" bins. I have to watch it as I don't have much room. It's not so much that I enjoy getting a bargain -- I do -- but rather, I love using things that others think are nothing but junk. Identifying potential and breathing utility into junk are just the best. I have other obligations but still I need to spend time time on this type of project as it gives me a perspective that helps in every aspect of my life.

    Words could never begin to express the happiness that I get from each of your comments. Thank you. It is fun to work on projects like this. Please try one if you haven't yet done so. I had a teacher, now diseased, J. Thorne, who encouraged me to do things and he was a very good part of my life. Thank you Mr. Thorne, "wherever you are!"

    Thank you for your comment. I am slow in getting back as I couldn't get the hang of making comments but I kept after it. It was a lot of fun to make and it is more durable than I thought it would be.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I really dig the look of this project, it is something I would see myself using. Now I just to find an unused circuit board! Nice job TTT!

    1 reply

    Thank you for your comments, trans4mation. It is fun to put one together and I have received comments about it from strangers who first want to know what it is and then how to make it.

    Thank you -- I always wanted to be cool. Maybe now, I can throw away my argyle ties and my Henny Youngman records.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Really cool & creative way to recycle old PCBs. Have you thought about entering the "Green Design Contest"? Cause this is exactly what the contest is about! You'd get my vote, for sure. ;)

    1 reply

    5 years ago

    Be sure to use boards manufactured after 2006 if you are reusing one. ROHS came into effect since 2006 and you don't want leaded solder on your journal.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    If you're concerned about the lead you could also coat the board in clear spray paint. However as long as you don't lick the boars the lead shoudn't be an issue at all.