Stick on copper traces...

Frequently asked question on the subject of designing, creating, producing printed boards, veroboards or perfboads and on point-to-point construction techniques.

Stick on copper traces...

Postby rwebbart » 10 Dec 2011, 09:31

Wanted to say hello and thanks. I've lurked around here for a year and finally joined. I've learned a lot from you fine folks and hopefully this little tid-bit will be found useful by someone else.
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I made the traces with copper tape normally used in making stained glass. You can take a hobby knife and slice it into strips small enough to just cover one set of holes in your perfboard, or if the circuit is small enough, you can just use it as is, but it will double the size of the board. That wasnt a problem for this project. I hate doing point to point because of the time, and I dont have any vero around, so I got creative.

It's $5.99 for 36 yards!!!! Thats enough to do about a trillion Bazz Fuss pedals.

I've thoroughly tested it and it seems to work. Voltages stay whee they are supposed to and its easier than point to point. Just takes a few minutes up front to apply the strips.

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deltafred (11 Dec 2011, 03:59), modman (16 Feb 2013, 19:32), RnFR (13 Dec 2011, 06:24)
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby phatt » 10 Dec 2011, 14:50

Good on You, :thumbsup
I love it when people are forced to be inventive ,, some great ideas come from that.
One Q, How does the heat from soldering effect the glue?

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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby Hides-His-Eyes » 10 Dec 2011, 14:52

Nice technique! And you can use it for shielding guitars too.

It'd be amazing if someone made this stuff in 0.08" width; then you really could just make your own PCBs by hand fairly easily.
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby rwebbart » 10 Dec 2011, 16:00

phatt wrote:Good on You, :thumbsup
I love it when people are forced to be inventive ,, some great ideas come from that.
One Q, How does the heat from soldering effect the glue?

Phil.

It held up really well. No problem actually. I thought about putting a squiggly line of hot glue across the bottom when i was done just to make sure it stayed down, but so far so good.
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby DaveKerr » 10 Dec 2011, 16:17

How thick is the adhesive on this stuff? Is it conductive?
... multiple LFO waveforms (saw up, saw down, triangle, square); a more flexible envelope with attack/release controls as well as inverted envelope. I am afraid it will have more knobs than the TGP annual convention - frequencycentral
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby rwebbart » 10 Dec 2011, 16:24

DaveKerr wrote:How thick is the adhesive on this stuff? Is it conductive?


Its super thin stuff, and the adhesive is clear to the point that you can see the copper through it so well, you can barely tell you're looking at the sticky side. So far my voltages are all what they should be at all points, and the adhesive is only on the copper. you dont have to spray the board or manually glue it down. Its like a big roll of pin-striping material. Just copper instead of vinyl.

Its made to solder/heat on anyway I think. I believe its what the stained glass folks do their patterns then heat and do their "lead" lines or whatever they are called.
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby deltafred » 10 Dec 2011, 16:55

rwebbart wrote:Its made to solder/heat on anyway I think. I believe its what the stained glass folks do their patterns then heat and do their "lead" lines or whatever they are called.


IIRC you wrap it over the edge of each piece of glass then get a bigass soldering iron and solder all the pieces together using plumbers solder. (Not that I have ever had the urge to make stained glass windows or lamp shades you understand)
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby rwebbart » 10 Dec 2011, 16:59

deltafred wrote:
rwebbart wrote:IIRC you wrap it over the edge of each piece of glass then get a bigass soldering iron and solder all the pieces together using plumbers solder.


That makes more sense. Either way, I guess its designed to handle heat.
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby jubal81 » 10 Dec 2011, 21:59

That's a really creative idea. Thanks for sharing?
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby phatt » 11 Dec 2011, 14:16

rwebbart wrote:
phatt wrote:Good on You, :thumbsup
I love it when people are forced to be inventive ,, some great ideas come from that.
One Q, How does the heat from soldering effect the glue?

Phil.

It held up really well. No problem actually. I thought about putting a squiggly line of hot glue across the bottom when i was done just to make sure it stayed down, but so far so good.



Brilliant,, Do we have a medal for best invention of the month?
If we did you would get a vote from me. :applause:
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby SpencerPedals » 11 Dec 2011, 16:27

Indeed the coolest new DIY pedal idea in a while. Congrats! Heading out to my workshop in a bit, where over the summer I have been saving some thin slivers of various woods: spalted maple, birches, swamp cedar, etc. I'm thinking some of that combined with this technique could yield a very cool looking "pcb". Similar to what Boris did with blind copper rivets. Perhaps a mixture would be even better.
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby DaveKerr » 11 Dec 2011, 17:36

rwebbart wrote:
DaveKerr wrote:How thick is the adhesive on this stuff? Is it conductive?


Its super thin stuff, and the adhesive is clear to the point that you can see the copper through it so well, you can barely tell you're looking at the sticky side. So far my voltages are all what they should be at all points, and the adhesive is only on the copper. you dont have to spray the board or manually glue it down. Its like a big roll of pin-striping material. Just copper instead of vinyl.

Its made to solder/heat on anyway I think. I believe its what the stained glass folks do their patterns then heat and do their "lead" lines or whatever they are called.

The question about conductivity was relative to the idea of using this stuff for shielding - overlapping rows of this to shield a cavity might need to have some bare wire soldered across the layers if there's no continuity. This is a really neat repurposing of material - what was the source?
... multiple LFO waveforms (saw up, saw down, triangle, square); a more flexible envelope with attack/release controls as well as inverted envelope. I am afraid it will have more knobs than the TGP annual convention - frequencycentral
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby rwebbart » 11 Dec 2011, 18:33

Thanks guys. Ive always made my living as an artist/photographer/animation and sourcing alternative materials for projects has always been a part of my life.

Now I understand you conductivity question. The answer is, I dont know, but ill test it tonight. If you look at the places in the pic where my "traces" overlap (at the T shapes) you will see where I just put a dab of solder to make sure the juice had a path to flow. But when I get home tonight ill check.
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby mictester » 11 Dec 2011, 21:23

rwebbart wrote:Wanted to say hello and thanks. I've lurked around here for a year and finally joined. I've learned a lot from you fine folks and hopefully this little tid-bit will be found useful by someone else.
Image

I made the traces with copper tape normally used in making stained glass. You can take a hobby knife and slice it into strips small enough to just cover one set of holes in your perfboard, or if the circuit is small enough, you can just use it as is, but it will double the size of the board. That wasnt a problem for this project. I hate doing point to point because of the time, and I dont have any vero around, so I got creative.

It's $5.99 for 36 yards!!!! Thats enough to do about a trillion Bazz Fuss pedals.

I've thoroughly tested it and it seems to work. Voltages stay whee they are supposed to and its easier than point to point. Just takes a few minutes up front to apply the strips.


This looks brilliant!

Where can you buy it? Is it available in Europe? Is there anyone in the USA that will send me some in exchange for BBD or something?
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby deltafred » 11 Dec 2011, 21:27

mictester wrote:
This looks brilliant!

Where can you buy it? Is it available in Europe? Is there anyone in the USA that will send me some in exchange for BBD or something?


Just what I thought, look on Ebay, there is loads.
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby mictester » 11 Dec 2011, 22:41

I've just bought a big reel of the stuff. It also looks great for RF prototypes that I have to build from time to time.
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby earthtonesaudio » 12 Dec 2011, 01:50

This is a great discovery/idea. Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby rwebbart » 12 Dec 2011, 14:59

I didnt get around to testing it last night, but from what I've read this morning, the adhesive IS conductive on most brands AND they sell it in thinner sizes than what I have.

I think my next project, im just going to split it down the middle and use it on a blank (un-drilled) board material and drill out my own holes. I dont have a local source for blank un-drilled PCB material, so can I use a small plastic sheet or is there a better material out there that is non-cunductive, rigid, and thin?
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby culturejam » 12 Dec 2011, 15:16

Now this is a damn good idea. :thumbsup
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Re: Stick on copper traces...

Postby deltafred » 12 Dec 2011, 15:49

rwebbart wrote:... but from what I've read this morning, the adhesive IS conductive on most brands AND they sell it in thinner sizes than what I have.

... so can I use a small plastic sheet ...


I wouldn't rely on the adhesive being conductive but a dab of solder at junctions, as you have already done, would be all that was required.

It would depend on the melting temperature of the plastic sheet and how long you held the soldering iron on.
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