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Draw Circuits with Conductive Silver Ink [Science]

What if your sketch of a circuit could function as a circuit? With conductive ink, it can.

In this video graduate students from the University of Illinois demonstrate how to create conductive and easy flowing silver ink, perfect for drawing functional electronic circuits. From the video description:

Materials researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign have developed a highly conductive silver ink. In this video, Analisa Russo, a graduate student in the research group of Professor Jennifer Lewis shows exactly how to make this amazing ink, which could be used for a wide variety of hobby projects and in advanced electronics hardware.

Check out the video above to not just see it in action but watch the entire creation process from start to finish.

Conductive Silver Ink from a Ballpoint Pen [via Make]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/18/11

Comments (7)

  1. David K.

    This is really cool, I always liked the idea of conductive pens!

    Do you know how long the link tends to last on a circuit board or paper? It seems to me that it would make a rather fragile circuit that would easily rub off through general use. I was not sure if conductive ink was made for long term projects or just quick fixes that would have to be repaired later with a more permanent solution.

  2. gilteon

    Wire glue works much the same way, though it’s carbon-based, so this probably conducts better. The line on the wire glue packaging says: “Bonds low voltage electrical connections”.

  3. Bill Brown

    That was an Awesome demonstration. Fascinating and well presented. Thanks!

  4. Doug

    This might be a good way to fix remote controls that have lost their conductivity. Some of my X10 wireless controls require a very hard deliberate push to activate the receiver. A light touch just doesn’t do it any more, although the transmitter is activated. I’ve seen other remedies that use copper dust and a glue of some sort, but this is likely a lot better, if it is ever available and priced reasonably. I’ll have to look into “Wire Glue” for the same purpose.

  5. George Ronald Adkisson

    That’s how I was raised about 50 years ago with a Dad that had an FCC license…but…the Radio Shack did not have stuff put together a s much as they do today.It was more or less a requirement…to even use a Heath-kit Citizen’s band radio…that came with a license and a call number…if you passed the tests.
    Today…it’s also the stuff that the NSA uses to fool people…into actually thinking the uS government can patent the same cursive writing…make emotionally intelligent robots, take it from the Linux community, and give it to someone that got a grant from the X-foundation or something to bring the costs up.
    Everyone have a good day…I lost my pencil and magic pen holder…but I’ll find one somewhere.

  6. Robert Smith
  7. Dan McGarigle

    I suggest that on the video the background music is too loud.

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