PCB Circuit Wall

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Do you have lots of old electronic stuff and don't know what to do? Make a Circuit Wall.

This is my first instructable, hope you like it.

I had a storage room almost full with non working old computers, fax machines, monitors, TV's, photocopiers, printers, cellphones, cash registers, calculators, electronic typewriters, and all sort of electronic appliances from diferent years.

Sometimes I salvage some the parts for my projects, but it was a lot.

One option was to sell them all for $50 USD and get back my storage room for other purposes, but I couldn't just let go this precious stuff.

So I decided to make a mural, with only PCB's from all this devices.

Many of the PCB's have LED's so why not give them some power?

Materials list:

Lots of PCB's of various sizes with components

1/8" MDF boards (I used 36" x 24")

Thin Copper wire AWG 22

Insulated copper wire

Wall screws (Type of screw will depend on the type of wall to be mounted)

5V power supply (Cellphone charger, USB)

Power switch (Optional)

Tools:

Drill and drill bits

Wirecutters

Nose Pliers

Solder iron and solder

Pencil

Step 1: Gather the PCB's

First get as many PCB's as you can, many friends or neighbors, will be happy to donate old electronics for your wall. When you finish it, you can show them and say "look... this was the printer you gave me"

Spread them on the floor and arrange them by sizes so it can be easy to find the PCB you need.

Step 2: Make the Puzzle

Meassure the size of the wall where your mural will be mounted, and divide that size in how many 36" x 24" MDF boards, you will need.

You can use any board size you want. I chose that size because its easy to handle and not so heavy to lift when all the PCB's are mounted on it. Also bought them in this size an Home Depot, so the can fit my car trunk.

Start with one MDF board and arrange PCB's on it so there are no gaps between them.

Some gaps may remain, but they can be filled later with spare electronic components.

Try to leave 4 1/2" x 1/2" gaps near the corners of the MDF board, so you can drill the holes for the wall screws. The holes I've made for this screws are 3/8"

You can leave some part of the PCB's to protrude out of the MDF board, just consider a space for them on the MDF board that will be next to them. This PCB's will occupy a space on 2 MDF boards.

The boards are just placed over the MDF to define it's final position.

When the board is full take a picture to remember the place of each PCB.

Check which PCB's have LED's that can be powered later.

Step 3: Drill 'em

Drill two 1/16" holes on each of the corners of each PCB. The holes must be about 1/8" to 1/4" appart from each to other.

This will be the anchor point to hold the PCB on the MDF board.

I used a drill press, but they can be drilled with a hand drill. Just fix the PCB on a press or a clamp.

Make at least 4 anchor points on each PCB.

You can use more anchor points on larger PCB's like motherboards or TV boards with heavy flybacks or transformers.

Many PCB's have holes near corners, so you can make just another hole near this holes.

Step 4: Solder Wires for LED Power

If some of your PCB's have LED's, you can power them to add extra bling to your wall.

Analyze your PCB so you know where to solder the leds on the back of the PCB.

Most of the times the LED's are connected to a resistor to limit power and not blow the LED.

You can take advantage of this resistor and use it, or you can add extra resistor.

I've used the included LED resistor on the PCB almost on all the PCB's. On some PCB's I used a 100 ohm resistor that I had available.

Solder the wires, test your connections and power it. Be sure to place a mark on your positive/negative wire.

Step 5: Mark and Drill the Board

Place the drilled PCB back on it's place over the MDF board and mark with a pencil through the anchor points holes so you can easily see where to drill the board.

This time I used a hand drill because my drill press is too small to allow drilling near the center of the board.

Drill the holes with a 1/16" to 1/8" drill bit.

The holes must be small enough so both anchor point holes don´t touch each other making one big hole.

Also remember to make an extra holes if that PCB have wires for powering the LED's.

Step 6: Fix the PCB's

With the PCB's and board holes drilled, now you can fix the PCB using copper wire.

I´ve tryed fixing the PCB's with hot glue with no success, so chosed copper wire and worked great.

You can also fix them with bolts and nuts if you want.

Cut 1" or 1.5" wire pieces an bend them in "U" shape.

Place the PCB over the MDF board holes and pass the wire through the anchor holes.

If the PCB has LED wires, remember to pass them trough the center hole you've made.

Twist both wire ends with a nose pliers.

Make sure that is tight enough so the PCB don't move and not too tight to break the copper wire.

Connect all the LED wires on the back of the MDF board using aditional wire pieces.

Leave one positive and one negative wire on the bottom of each MDF board.

Step 7: Mount on the Wall

With your boards complete, drill at least 4 holes near the corners of the MDF boards. I used a 3/8" drill bit.

These wil be your wall mount holes.

I used 1/4" screws with plugs on a brick and stucco wall, but it wil depend on the type of wall you're mounting the boards.

Screw the bolts at about 80% so they remain a bit out of the wall. The you can hang the boards on them.

Tight the remaining 20% of the bolt to leave the board well fixed.

You can fill the gaps between PCB boards, with spare components, these can be just glued on the MDF board.

Also you can hide the wall screws gluing some spare capacitor on it.

Solder the main wires of each board to a common positive and negative wire respectively and this common wires will be soldered to the power supply, in my case a 5v cellphone charger.

You can add a switch on the main power wire. Also you could use some switch of the PCB's board to act as power switch.

If the wall is near a computer you can solder a USB plug and connect it to your computer USB so the wall LED's will turn on whe your computer is powered on.

Hide the wires on the back lower side of the boards. I used white wire so it can not be easily seen on the white wall.

Power on and enjoy the view :)

Some friends said that this mural look like an aerial view of a big city, lots of buildings.

3 People Made This Project!

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91 Discussions

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NancyGump

1 year ago

WOW, Amazing wall!!

I want to make such a wall and I am gonna to make the boards from PCBGOGO to have this dream came true.

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ohoilett

2 years ago

I love this. Great job.

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Chitlange Sahas

2 years ago

That is the best use for my pile of circuit boards ! Well done:)

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Miss Dee

2 years ago

That is one of the coolest things I have ever seen, combining technology and art, .awesome woek!

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farsys

2 years ago

is a dream come thru :D

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oba fo

2 years ago

My kind advice. Just stay with the photo, print it for a wallpaper. Arrange the led's and voila!

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lazzara55MikB

Reply 2 years ago

PCBs, (printed circuit boards) may contain up to 10 internationally recognized toxins:


  1. Lead (Pb)
  2. Mercury (Hg)
  3. Cadmium (Cd)
  4. Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+)
  5. Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
  6. Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE)
  7. Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  8. Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP)
  9. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  10. Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)

HOWEVER #1: If the PCB is marked "RoHS" (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) it can be considered safe to handle.

HOWEVER #2: I like the artwork. Applying an acrylic spray will seal the PCBs and preclude particulates (toxic and otherwise) from being released into the air. Also keeps them out of landfills -- an environmental plus.

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DmitryP2lazzara55

Reply 2 years ago

It can be dangerous only if has high warming -- in home it can be in case of open flame or (much smaller) sunlight. I would not recommend to do this thing if you are afraid of toxic death on fire.

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lazzara55DmitryP2

Reply 2 years ago

These products cannot be sold in some places (e.g., California) without toxicity declarations, even if they aren't blazing, which itself is unlikely as most PCBs are happily UL-rated against flammability (UL-94V0). But the toxic generator isn't combustion -- it's oxidation. Oxides from the toxic metals release as dust into the air at room temperature. So, yes: Every living room has electronics, but not in this kind of concentration nor so-directly exposed to air flow. An acrylic spray would act as an air barrier to mitigate oxidation, add a pleasing aesthetic and make the Circuit Wall easier to vacuum.

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SrečkoLMikB

Reply 2 years ago

Sometimes I inhale some bits of them (really), but I never inject them, since I don't like needles. I tried cooking, but it doesn't soften them enough.

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fashlaSrečkoL

Reply 2 years ago

Also tried cooking them :D Try microwave them

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DiwiakJaredDiS

Reply 2 years ago

agree, there are still some carcinogenic substances evaporating, I better prefer it for disposal. (is this right sentence for this??)

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fashlaJaredDiS

Reply 2 years ago

I thought that too, but every electronic home device has this kind of PCB's inside, and they are not sealed

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MarceloG19

2 years ago

It's nerdly beautifull!

I love it!

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qewt

2 years ago

genius idea!

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Mark 42

2 years ago

This would make an interesting backsplash.

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lbrewer42

2 years ago

Great look! Hmm... now I am thinking about drop ceiling tiles...