This instructable details the creation of a bracelet made from scrap electronic components. I work at an office where components are periodically scrapped when newer circuit designs are released. The scrapped IC components for this bracelet were rescued for art purposes before they found their way into the recycling bin. The featured integrated circuit in the middle of the design was recovered from a circuit board repair.
Step 1: Tools and Parts
The tools for this project include:
- Soldering Iron - not essential as the whole project could be done using wire wrapping techniques. I started off with the soldering iron so a lot of the joins were made with the soldering iron.
- Side cutters - for trimming component leads
- Long nose pliers
- Jewelry wire - I raided this from my daughters supply. Looks to be about 1/64" thick and is silver coated which makes it easy to solder
- 10 x 8pin DIP integrated circuits
- 1 x Feature IC - anythng in a bigger package will do to define the center of the bracelet. You could also use the smaller dip packages all the way round for a different style.
- 8 x 100nF decoupling capacitors ( look like blue beads )
- 4 x 1/4W 10% resistors any value will do - we are using them for cosmetic puposes
- 2 x 1N1418 Diodes - look like glass beads
Step 2: Center Piece
First cut the jewelry wire with the side cutters so that you have two pieces the same diameter. I used my daughters arm as a gauge. You will need to adjust the size to match the recipients wrist size. The wire is very elastic and it takes a lot to permanently deform it.
The center piece was placed in the center with the wire running underneath the chip between the legs and the plastic body of the IC. A small dot of solder was used to fix the chip to the wire at each end.
Then the same process was applied to the second piece of wire. You should end up with the center piece fixed to two roughly parallel hoops.
Step 3: Making the sides
The first components to be added after the center piece are the two resistors - one on either side. The resistor leads were bent around the jewelry wire and then held in place with a small blob of solder. The legs were trimmed and then re-soldered to cover the trimmed ends. This is done to prevent copper corrosion on the exposed cut.
The wire was then bent inward until to match the width of the 8 pin DIP IC. The jewelry wire is run up under the IC so that the wire is between the body and the pins of the IC. The long nose pliers are used to fold the legs over the wire keeping the IC attached to the wire.
Step 4: The band
The arm band for the bracelet is an alternating sequence of IC and capacitor. This was done to add a sense of realism to the "circuit" as it is typical design practice in electronics to place a decoupling capacitor near the power pin of each IC in the circuit. For the bracelet, this is purely decorative.
The capacitors can be placed into the bracelet by looping the capacitor leads over the jewelry wire and trimming off the excess wire. Initially I soldered the capacitors but after a while, found it easier to keep them in place by wrapping the leads around the jewelry wire.
After all the ICs and capacitors are in place, make sure the pins of the ICs are all soldered to each other to stop the ends from poking into the skin of the wearer.
The last step in the making of the bracelet is to fashion a clasp. The end was squared off on the one side by bending the wire at right angles and then soldering the bent piece to the straight piece as shown in the pictures. The other side of the clasp was made by bending he ends at right angles and then making tight loops on the ends. The clasp works by lightly pressing the free ends together to slip into the rectangular end.
Step 6: Finally done
Some final pictures of the completed project. I used light sandpaper (360 grit) to take off any sharp points and make the bracelet comfortable to wear.
There are a lot of other ideas for this type of bracelet. For example, using resistors or diodes instead of ICs for more of a techno beading design.
I hope you found this to be a useful guide.