Sewpads for Flex Modules

Prototyping concepts of rigid-flex Flex Modules designed for sewing in to fabric

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We will be producing simple single layer PCB that the Flex Modules can solder on to for sewing. Flex Modules are dense tiny rigid circuit board modules with consistent pad placement. With Sewpads you get something close to a rigid-flex version of an ARM based Lilypad or FLORA, but flexible and with directly sewable pads. Once the designs are stable, we may produce a run of Flex Modules that are rigid-flex from these prototypes.

Utilizing flex PCB, we will produce Flex Module variations that are easy to sew utilizing a sewing machine. We will attempt to design direct sewable water resistant rigid-flex variations as well as provide for a snap button removable design.

If there is enough interest, we may make them available for purchase on Tindie as well.

We are sourcing better conductive thread. We are working right now with the stainless steel thread most wearable makers use. We also have some silicone covered wire coming from China to test with as well. We are hoping that the design will be both hand and machine sewing compatible if we find a good conductive thread that goes can fit in a needle. The 32AWG silicone wire will lay in a bobbin and can go through a very large machine needle (yet to find one though).

Any software related will be released under BSD or MIT license. SAAS or cloud based software will be AGPL.

Creative Commons License

  • 1 × Copper clad Kapton

  • Added Instructions

    Chris Hamilton08/16/2015 at 22:05 0 comments

    We made the soldering video, but we are not yet selling sewpads. To be complete, we have added instructions below on how to do a toner transfer based etch of your own sewpads.

  • "Panelization"

    Chris Hamilton08/12/2015 at 19:28 0 comments

    We have laid out most of the designs (the ones currently used by our Flex Modules today) into a single 'letter' sized sheet. So we should be able to produce Sewpads fast enough for selling. We assume demand will be low, so we will keep just a few of each in stock.

  • Update on tinning

    Chris Hamilton08/06/2015 at 08:07 0 comments

    We used MG Chemicals Liquid Tin on our last batch with great success. We will be applying it on our future Sewpads and other hand etched boards. This should limit corrosion and improve solderability.

  • Cindy posted on medium a hand etch how to

    Chris Hamilton07/22/2015 at 10:24 0 comments

    Cindy posted some pictures and explanations on how she did the etching for our sewpad prototypes.

  • Making our first batch

    Chris Hamilton07/20/2015 at 06:42 0 comments

    We will be making these by hand initially. That means no soldermask or silkscreen on the boards for now. The initial run is coming along as I am writing this. I'll try to put up pictures of Cynthia making them.

    We might make a few batches and sell them as an option to the Flex Modules on Tindie. It will take some effort to solder, but sewing should be a cinch (you can sew straight through the board). The boards may be coated with a silicone conformal coating to improve washability.

    We recommend using 5mm or 8mm button snaps solder on to the top and sewed into the material. This would allow for board removal before washing the garment.

    Always remove batteries before washing!

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