Teknista Castle at the New York Maker Faire

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Teknistas’ first museum exhibit

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Sewing circuits and helping each other troubleshoot. Girl Power!

One of our camper holds up a circuit that will light up the inside of a backpack.


A dozen girls sewed their first e-textiles circuit today, and all of them got the circuits to light up after some early birds finished their circuits and helped everyone else–girl power!

Try this if your circuit doesn’t work:

1. Check for stray threads that might be crossing over and touching another thread to cause a short circuit. Trim all the loose threads. About a third of the girls encountered this problem, so it’s worth making a point of it at the beginning.
2. Look out for a big wad of thread sewn around the negative terminal of the Sparkfun battery holder. (Poorly design battery holder if you ask me.) Three of the girls short circuited their batteries because the little blob of thread was touching both the top and bottom of the button battery. Jim from Workshop 88 helped us detect this with a multimeter, but just touching the battery revealed that it was very warm. The batteries revived after a bit once they were taken off the hot seat!
3. Make sure the thread is tied off at the positive end of the LED and then a fresh thread is used to start connecting the negative end of the LED to the battery holder. Otherwise the electricity zips through the thread and bypasses the LED. We had that happen at least once today.
4. Double check that the positive side of the LED is connected to the positive side of the battery holder, and negative to negative. No one mixed this up on the circuits, but they did on the Bare Conductive Paint cards.

5. Make sure the threads looping around are in fact looping around the LED and not, oh, just looping through the fabric next to the LED. (Only happened once.)

6. Press down on (or pinch) each connection to m sure the thread is sewn nice and tight around the traces of the LED. The thread connections at each end of the LED, and the terminals on the battery holder. If something is loose, pinching it might make it light up and you’ll know where the trouble spot is.  It’s best to double the thread–you get a nice tight connection in a shorter time, so you aren’t really using 2x the amount of thread. Also, we told the girls to loop it around 8 times–that was a bit too many, so i would suggest 5 or 6.

7. If a connection is loose, you can just add some fresh thread and keep looping till it’s tight. I’ve also seen a huge jump in connectivity when I dab a little Bare Conductive Paint on the ends of the LED, especially inside the holes you use to sew the LED’s.


We need a “Does it matter?” FAQ. Lots of questions were about things that didn’t have a right and wrong way to do it–just several ways that could work.

1) Some girls connected the two negative sides together before the positive sides, and they weren’t sure if that mattered (it doesn’t).

2) Girls lost count and weren’t sure if they had looped it 8 times (doesn’t matter, just so the connection is tight.)

3) It doesn’t matter if you tie knots in the thread to extend it.

4) It doesn’t matter if you take fresh thread and loop it on top of the existing connection. The electricity is not on a confined track like a loop-de-loop roller coaster. Think of adding more thread as the same thing as “cold soldering” your connection.

A process “aha”: asking girls to mentor each other on things like tying a knot can not only relieve some of the instructor time, but also conveys a clear message about the value of mentoring and asking for help.

Teknistas explore high tech fashion

Backback with meshlamp switch

Twelve young Teknistas are gathering at the DuPage Children’s Museum today to kick off a week of high tech fashion. These pre-teens will each customize a backpack using conductive thread and LED’s. They’ll be posting pix online to share their DIY process all week long. Later this summer their backpacks will go on display at the museum.

http://rederia-angola.com/cms/best-mba-essay-editing.html/ best mba essay editing Help the Teknistas to create galleries of images to feature in the exhibit!

We are gathering pix and videos to make an interactive exhibit online and inside the museum. Today we’re starting with a MAKERPIX Scavenger Hunt to find on/off switches like doorbells and light switches–and less obvious ones like the switch inside your refrigerator door. Send us pix of switches today and every day this week.

E-mail your pix to makerpix.switches@pixlee.com.
Tweet/instagram them to #switchpix.

http://zzkescoramentos.com.br/wp-includes/theme-compat/jquery-mobile-roulette/ jQuery mobile roulette Check out our Switches Galore  gallery to vote on your favorites. Tell the Teknistas which pictures they should use.