Faraday Cage Phone Pouch

This Faraday Cage phone pouch blocks all radio signals coming in or out of your cellphone. Material costs are about $10, it takes ~ 30 minutes to build, and it can fit in your pocket!

The purpose of this pouch is to prevent access to your phone and its data (e.g. location) if and when you so choose. Before placing in the pouch, be sure to put your phone in airplane mode as the phone will drain its battery trying to find a signal.

Materials

  • Conductive fabric
    Sized to fit your phone + a top flap. For an iPhone w/ a (giant) case, I needed about 7.5″ x 3.5″.
  • Thread (regular, any color)
  • Button (any type)
    Alternatively, you can use velcro, a safety pin, or any other means to hold down the top flap.

Tools

  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Needle or Sewing Machine (preferred)
  • Safety pins (optional but helpful)

Build it! Pt. 1

  1. Measure the width, height, and depth of your phone (+ case, if you have one).
  2. Add 1″ to your phone width measurement and 2″ to your phone height measurement. Cut conductive fabric into a rectangle of that size.
    For example, the iPhone 5 is 4.87″ tall, 2.31″ wide and 0.30″ thick. Thus, you want a rectangle that is at least 6.5″ tall and 3.5″ wide.To double check your measurements, mark where you plan to cut the conductive fabric w/ a pen or pencil. then wrap the fabric around your phone. Be sure that you can fold down the top of the conductive fabric.
    Helpful tip: It’s always better to leave extra room. Measure twice, cut once, and so forth.
  3. Place phone on one side of the conductive fabric and fold the fabric over the phone. Safety pin sides together.Leave an inch or two above the phone so the top can be folded over like an envelope.

Build it! Pt. 2

  1. fw4y1vmi5p7kgsn-largeSew bottom + sides of conductive fabric together using small hand stitches or a sewing machine.
  2. Turn pouch inside-out to hide stitching.
  3. Place phone inside pouch, fold top down and mark where the button will go.
  4. Sew button on & cut a small slit in the top flap to attach.Remove excess fabric as necessary, but be sure that the conductive fabric completely encases the phone when the top flap is folded down.

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Done!

Place phone inside the Faraday Cage pouch whenever you want to cut off all radio signals coming in and out of your phone.

For another awesome version of the same concept, check out my friend’s scarf project here.

Curious as to how this works? Awesome! In super simple terms, a Faraday Cage “traps” radio waves in the wires that make up the cage. In this design, the conductive fabric threads are the metal wires that form the Faraday Cage. Due to the small mesh size (aka wires are super close together), this design will block any electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength larger than visible light. 🙂

Here’s a good overview on what a Faraday Cage is and how you can build a different version.

And here’s the Wikipedia blurb on Faraday Cages, an excellent source if you want to learn more!

Versatile Wearable LEDs

Wearables (aka Wearable Technology) are a new & insanely awesome extension of electronics. These minimalistic, versatile, and detachable lights are designed to allow for a wide variety of creative possibilities and to be accessible to makers of all ages and backgrounds.

The process takes about an hour and materials costs are less than $10 per LED strip (not including the battery). Even the pooch can have a light-up sweater!

Materials

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  • LED strip(s)
    Here’s a link to purchase the specific LED strips used in this project: 12 white surface LEDs with a forward voltage of 7.4 – 15 V and forward current of 50 mA.
    If using different LEDs, note the forward voltage & forward current and use this calculator to determine the necessary resistance.
  • Male and Female JST connectors
    The Tarot LED strips came assembled w/ male JST connectors, so those were the easiest & most practical. They work rather nicely for this project, and I recommend using them if you are new to electronics.
  • 33 Ohm Resistor
  • Switch
    So many options for switches! For this project, I suggest an SPST (single-pole-single-throw) maintaining switch (aka toggle or on/off switch). I had a DPDT slide switch on-hand so that’s what I used for this tutorial.
  • 9V battery (preferably rechargeable)
    Any battery w/ a voltage output from 7.4 -15 V works. LiPo batteries are the best (and last the longest), but are more expensive.
  • Velcro (sticky side only)
  • Optional: Custom Battery Case
    • Version 1: Two safety pins & a 3″ x 2″ piece of fabric.
    • Version 2: Strong rare earth magnet (or two).
      This is a more expensive but simpler alternative to the fabric battery case.

    Tools

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  • Soldering iron
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Wire Strippers
  • Needle + Thread
  • Scissors
  • Recommended: Epoxy
    My favorite method to make extremely permanent (+ weather resistant) electrical connections.
  • Also recommended: Multimeter & Breadboard (for testing)

Build it! Pt. 1

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FM4N54YI5DSOCU9.LARGEPrep: If LEDs lack wires, solder the male JST connector leads to the uppermost LED pads. Coat in a dab of epoxy or hot glue.
Recommended to test the circuit on a breadboard before soldering.

  1. Attach sticky-side velcro pieces to LED strips.
  2. Solder the female JST connector leads to the switch.

FQ442PGI5BSI384.LARGEIf using a DPDT switch, as in the schematic, each set of legs can control a separate circuit. Instead of connecting ground to the switch, you can also connect the LED ground to the battery ground. This allows you to control another set of LEDs (+ resistor) on the same switch + battery.
If you’re just starting out, here’s a helpful guide on switches.

FQBATSPI5BSI3EH.LARGEBuild it! Pt. 2

  1. Solder the resistor to the middle switch pin on the same side as the positive JST wire.
  2. Solder the positive lead of the battery clip to the resistor & the negative lead to the negative middle switch pin (or connect them together).
    Clip off excess wires.
  3. F4NBVIRI5BSI3O3.LARGEConnect LED strips via the JST connectors and check that the switch works.
  4. Coat bottom of switch in epoxy and/or hot glue.Be sure to avoid getting glue on the moving part of the switch esp. if using epoxy. Check that it can move while epoxy is drying.FBYXZ9RI5BSI4C7.LARGE

Build it! Pt 3 (9V Battery Case)F1UNDDJI5BSI56D.LARGE

  1. Sew your chosen fabric square into a pocket for the 9V.
  2. Place 9V battery in case and attach the battery clip.
  3. F9YO86DI5BSI77T.LARGESew battery clip + switch to back of fabric case (face switch outward).
  4. Attach safety pins to back of fabric case.

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For magnet battery holder alternative:

Some rechargeable batteries, such as NiMH (Nickle Metal Hydride), are magnetic. For these, place battery inside clothing, then place magnet on the outside to hold the battery in place.
If the battery is non-magnetic (e.g. lithium), hot glue one magnet to the battery, place inside clothing, then place another magnet on the outside of your clothing. Be sure to keep the magnet when switching out the battery!

Test & Wear!

F19M5H9I5BSI6PU.LARGEDouble check that the switch successfully turns on and off the LEDs. Attach the battery+switch to clothing by safety pinning (or magnetically attaching) the battery to a comfortable place. The velcro adheres best to soft fabrics, like sweaters, tights, fleece, etc.

Be creative and experiment with the basic module on assorted clothing and accessories for yourself, your friends and your pet(s)!

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LED Pin People

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A quick and easy way to make light-up pin people! There are endless possibilities for variations on this basic concept. This method uses magnets to serve two purposes: to hold up the LED + wire pin person and to connect the negative LED leg to the battery.

 

 

 


Materials

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  • LED
  • Coin cell battery + case
  • Wire Any type that is solid core, preferably insulating or w/ insulation. If you do use conductive wire, you can modify the design to incorporate it into the battery switch mechanism.
  • Magnet Be sure to get a strong magnet that will hold the weight of your pin person + LED. Rare earth/Neodynium are ideal.
  • Safety pin; clip off ~ 1/2 inch of the sharp end

After a variety of methods, this was the one that worked best for me. It is studier than wire, and works perfectly for a backing of the pin.

To make a simple cap for the sharp point, dab some hot glue onto the wire person or use pliers to re-use the cover on the original safety pin.

Tools

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  • Wire clippers
  • Hot glue gun
  • Soldering iron This was only used for the safety pin + positive battery connection. If unavailable, can use hot glue to hold the safety pin in place but be sure to maintain electrical connectivity.
  • Optional: Multimeter

Build it! Pt. 1: Make the Wire Person

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  1. Cut about 1 ft of wire
  2. Make a loop in the middle of the wire and twist for ~ 1 inch.
  3. Shape the arms and hands; make a loop ~ 1 inch beyond the torso and twist wires together. Wrap once around the body, then make the other arm and hand.IMG_5851
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  4. Shape the legs + feet in the same way as the arms but make them slightly longer.
  5. Position the wire person into desired motion; running, rock climbing, walking a dog, etc.

Pt. 2: Battery BackingIMG_5802

  1. Solder the clipped safety pin end to the positive battery clip lead. If soldering iron isn’t available, use hot glue to secure the safety pin end in place.
  2. Place the magnet so that it touches the negative battery clip lead. Hot glue it in place. You may need to bend the battery lead into the magnet a bit.
  3. Check connections by touching the LED to the magnet + safety pin. The longer LED leg is the positive side.

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Pt. 3: Attach the LED

  1. IMG_5768Determine where you want to place the LED.
    Maybe your pin person has accessories, like a flashlight, and it would make sense for the LED to go there. Cool! Go for it.
  2. Mark the negative side of the LED with a sharpie.
  3. Twist the LED legs onto the pin person, leaving ~ 1/4 in of each leg sticking out.
    Be sure that the LED legs are insulated (aka not touching).
  4. IMG_5770Using the battery clip, orient the LED legs so that the negative leg connects with the magnet and the positive leg rests on the safety pin.

Done!

That’s it! Super simple and tons of possible extensions with all the random stuff you can find around the house. Happy building!

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Simple LED Earrings

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Wearables are an awesome, relatively new extension of circuits. Conductive threads & fabrics make it easy to attach components like LEDs and sensors to clothing/accessories. Plus, they are a super fun introduction to electronics!

These LED earrings were designed b/c I wanted a wearable that was simple, unique, and could be built by-hand w/ available materials. Purchasing all materials adds up to less than $10, and these can be built in ~ 1 hour (although it does take some patience).

For this tutorial I’m assuming you are an electronics beginner. Regardless of your background, I hope this project inspires you to design your own wearable technology or take the basic concepts to the next level 🙂

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Step 1: Materials

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— 2 LEDs
Fun fact: LEDs on the higher end of the rainbow (red, orange, & yellow) use less power than colors on the lower end (purple, blue, & green).

— 2 Lithium coin cell batteries, 3 V
Mine are non-rechargeable and will probably last for ~20 hours. If you want to make them to last longer, use rechargeable batteries (super expensive but worth it if you want to wear the earrings long-term).

— Thread— Conductive Thread
Used to attach the LED to the battery. Alternatively, you can use wire or anything else that conducts.. like magnets!Also, since conductive thread loops tend to come undone, I hot glued all the knots to hold them together.

— 2 earring backs
— 2 clasps
These act as a switch so the LED can be turned off when not in use. I had some necklace clasps on hand which worked perfectly, but there are tons of options for switches.. all you need is a way to interrupt the flow of electricity.
–Tape
I used conductive tape, but honestly regular tape works just as well.
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Step 2: Tools

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— Hot glue gun
— Scissors
— Needle
Recommended to get a needle w/ a wide eye b/c the conductive thread has a tendency to fray.
— Optional: wire cutters
Helps w/ cutting the ends of the LEDs.
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Step 3: Build it! Pt 1: Wrap the battery.

Screen shot 2014-11-26 at 2.11.34 PM

Wrap the battery w/ 1.5 – 2 feet of (normal) thread. To make it easier, tape the beginning end of the thread to the back of the battery. Leave at least 6 inches of thread at the end.

When finished wrapping, loop the end of the thread under the band and pull tight. Repeat this a few times, then make a knot. Tape the end/thread band down.
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Step 4: Build it! Pt. 2: Attach earring back.

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Loop the 6 in. tail of the the thread band through the hole in the earring back. Use the needle to loop the thread under the band & pull tight, kind of like sewing a button. Repeat at least ten times, or until the thread runs out, then tie a knot.
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Step 5: Build it! Pt. 3: Attach the Positive LED Leg.

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Tie 6 inches of conductive thread to the positive (longer) leg of the LED. Loop the conductive thread through the bottom of the battery thread band and pull through, leaving the LED ~ 1/2 inche (in.) below the battery. Pull the conductive thread down, so it is only touching the front cover (positive side) of the battery.

Loop the conductive thread around the battery thread band at least five times, then tie a knot. Hot glue the conductive thread knots w/ the littlest amount of glue to help hold it in place.
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Step 6: Build it! Pt. 4: Attach Clasp.

Screen shot 2014-11-26 at 2.17.42 PM

Attach the clasp (aka switch) to the back of the battery w/ ~ 6 in. conductive threadin the same way the earring back was attached: thread the end of the earring back through the thread band on the battery, above the tape, and pull it tight. Repeat at least five times. Tie a knot and hot glue the thread to hold it in place.
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Step 7: Build it! Pt. 5: Attach Negative LED Leg.

Screen shot 2014-11-26 at 2.20.26 PM

Tie the other end of the clasp/switch to 6 in. conductive thread. Tie the end of the conductive thread to the negative, shorter leg of the LED, leaving ~ 1/2 in. from the bottom of the battery. Hot glue the knots.

Connecting the two ends of the clasps helps w/ finding the right length.. or you could use a ruler 🙂

Be sure that the LED legs and the respective thread/wires do not touch; otherwise the battery is shorted and the LED won’t turn on.
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Step 8: Done! Woo!

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That’s it! Clean up the mess that is hot glue, snip the ends of the conductive thread and, if you’re not going to put them on right away or take photos, unscrew the clasps.

And have fun dazzling your friends and all that good stuff 🙂
Note: The reason the green one isn’t as bright is probably because the battery was quite bit older.