Wednesday, September 13, 2006



I saw this thing in a local craft shop yesterday. It's a device to cut patterns in pieces of paper for scrapbooking. My first thought was, "I wonder if it could cut copper traces from adhesive foil." The website makes a big deal about not having to hook it up to a computer. In fact, it looks like you can't attach it to a computer, which means you're at the mercy of the company to provide new patterns. Doesn't seem like much of a selling point to me. I wonder if it could be hacked.

nice. hack it a little bit and it could make circuits. hack the name a little bit and it actually is Circuit. at the very least it would be worth it to investigate the technology =)
I poked around at their website a bit. The thing has a usb port, but they haven't released drivers for it. I'm sure they've got an inhouse driver; they must have wrote one when they were designing it.

They do sell fonts and clip art for it on some kind of smart card, and I think they're waiting to see how that part of their business takes off. If it does well, they may not want to cannibalize that market by enabling the usb driver.

If they decide not to open it up, I suspect the easy way to hack it is to disassemble the cartridge and connect it to a 7-in-1 smart card reader, figure out their file format and directory structure, and then write your files on their cartridge.

There are some paper-based 3D printers, but compared to plastic FDM, it sounds like a pain in the ass.

The fab-lab folk are very big on using copper foil for PCBs.
More background:

In depth:

How about copper tape? You can get adhesive-backed copper tape in reels, fairly thin, suitable for soldering... They use it to hold together stained glass these days, instead of the old-fashioned lead.

They still use plenty of lead for soldering the copper, of course... observed at a stained-glass craft store:

*UPS guy staggers in after carrying tiny package up 3 flights of stairs*
UPS guy: "Did you send away for lead or something?"
Storeowner: "Yes"
UPS guy: "Oh"
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