Going through all the files, working on a BOM and the instruction manual finally got to me today. So I took a break from it all and had some fun.
The last couple of runs I've made have been a tad hard to get off the stainless steel plate. So I cut a square out of regular cooking aluminum foil and taped it down on the plate. Then I stuck that in the machine and made a thin layer of ABS fibers. I stopped it at that point and taped a really thin piece of bare copper wire across from one side to the other and taped that down. Another layer of ABS was then laid down across everything to finish it off.
This is NOT the conductive fibers I talk about now and then, but it's something to try anyway. I'm waiting until my next monthly stipend gets here so I can order some supplies to do the good conductive fibers, so I figured this will keep me happy until then.
In the end it came in about .02 mm thick.
To make sure I could find the center of the wire I made a loop in it and left it sticking up in the center of the plate. A small piece of tape kept the bare wire in the loop from getting irredeemably covered. As you can see in the pics it made a tent of the ABS as it got covered, but that turned out easy to get rid of with a sharp knife and a little bit of heat from a heat gun. It laid right down.
I like the way electrostatic keeps some
of the loose fibers at the end sticking out. They go down with a
quick shot from the heat gun.
Mildly surprised at home easy it came
off the aluminum foil. Much better than the SS plate. Anyway, the
foil could be used again if I cared to. It came off it that clean.
Something to keep in mind.
So how did it turn out? Pretty good, if
you ignore the hole I burned in it soldiering a LED to the wires in
the center, only to find out the LED was no good. I took the LED back
out and quit while I was ahead. Didn't really want to show it off
with more holes in it, but then again I didn't want to show it with
ANY holes at all, but that ship's sailed. I did a continuity check
and the wires were fine. They were also well coated and I couldn't
short them out when I balled up the mat. Yep, I could still ball it
up and straighten it back out. That, of course, is great for
wearables and stuff like that. Kind of a different take on a flexible
circuit board, for that matter. You could make as many layers as you want, running wire's willynilly all over the place. Want a 28 layer flexible PCB board? No problem! Gotcha covered.
So what have I proved? Well, I can make water proof PCB boards, for one thing. Wearables has been done to death, but this brings in a lot more materials to it, so that's something. It also showed stopping a run, adding things and then restarting works just fine. A bit of heat and everything's good to go.
And, if nothing else, I got some more experience with the machine and had some fun. Can't beat that. Tomorrow I'm sure it will be back to manuals and parts lists, but the the machine's slowly teaching me what it can do, and it's fun to play with it and learn.
Now if only that monthly stipend would come early, I could really make it strut it's stuff. :)