We are an incredibly industrious nation, with a fine tradition in electronic innovation. One such recent innovation has come from students at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. Leo Fender developed the electric guitar… Jimi Hendrix had Electric Ladyland… well now prepare yourself for… electric paint!
Originally a submission for a student project, electric paint was the result of a group of undergraduate design and engineering students trying to print an electric circuit onto the human body. The completely safe, easy-to-use ink they developed has now been released as electric paint, via their company Bare Conductive.
The result, therefore, of the perfect collaboration between design and application, the uses for electric ink are many and varied, and will be of notable interest to electronics fans, and the people we supply here at Hi5. For instance, using electric paint as a liquid you will be effectively able to draw or print wire straight onto a printed circuit board; use the electric paint pen to fix a broken circuit; or even use the paint as a conductive adhesive, which means you won’t need to solder – perfect if you are working with materials not suited to solder. If you insulate the circuit board with acrylic-based paints, electric paint can also be used with multilayer circuits.
Electric paint has a resistance of 55 Ω/Sq @ 50 microns, and it is not recommended for voltages over 12v DC. However, the applications are immediately obvious, in terms of drawing PCB prototypes, and for utilities in fixing electronics… if only, perhaps, temporarily.
The paint dries at room temperature, and fast. As it was a result of a student project, and initially designed to use within education, the students made sure it would be perfect for the classroom and it is therefore child-friendly – solvent-free, non-toxic and water soluble – and as no fumes are released as it dries, so it will also comply with EU regs. Once dry, hey presto, it becomes fully conductive!
So, help yourself to some electric paint and start drawing your own electronics!