For an upcoming project (more details on that soon) I am required to make an electrical connection between Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint and a wire that leads to an Arduino. I had a bit of a mad idea; if the paint was magnetic and I attached a magnet to the end of the wire then surely I could make a magnetic, click-together electrical connection.
So I tried it. I bought some Magnetite to mix with the paint (inspired by Navid Gornall’s example). I also soldered a neodymium magnet to the end of a piece of wire. When the paint had dried I tested out this solution. It was OK. Not great. It was magnetic but not very. I tried a few different ratios and here are my findings:
1 part Magnetite : 1 part paint = good magnetism, dries very fast, doesn’t bond/stick well to the surface it is painted on to.
1 part Magnetite : 2 parts paint = OK magnetism, bonds/sticks well to surface
1 part Magnetite : 3 parts paint = Poor magnetism.
Whilst I was in mad-scientist mode I wondered whether Sugru would mix well with electric paint. This way I could paint the design onto a surface, wait for it to dry and then adhere the wire to the paint using my conductive Sugru. I can tell from the smell of Sugru that it is not water based and Electric Paint is so it seems like a bad idea. Well it was. It sort of worked but it was so messy. It also did something strange to the Sugru causing it to set in about an hour (usually 12 hours).
Neither of these solutions will be appropriate for the upcoming project but I’ll bare (pun?) them in mind for future uses of Electric Paint.
I also mixed magnetite with Sugru to make it magnetic. It worked well. I now have a magnetic little Sugru ball stuck to my desk lamp. Time well spent.