Putting It All Together

This week in class was the conclusion of our three weeks at the Champaign Urbana Fab Lab. In this week’s session, we got to learn how to use sewable electronics by sewing small LED lights into our embroidery designs. I was excited to see how this worked exactly because the concept of adding LEDs to textiles can create endless possibilities in the wearable technology space. I was also excited to see how adding lights would make my embroidery cooler.


(Above: Picture of embroidery with LEDs on)

To start, we were given a quick lesson in circuitry and given the task of drawing out a diagram of our design and where we wanted our lights to go. I chose to add LEDs to the eyes of the bison and drew my circuit accordingly. Next were shown how to use steel conductive thread to sew the LEDS into the design and connect it to the battery holder. It was really important to make sure that the conductive thread looped through the LEDS and battery holder multiple times to ensure that it had a good connection. I have had plenty of experience sewing before but it was actually pretty difficult to thread the needle I was given and to pierce through the tough embroidery. I also had to think a lot about how I was going to hide the conductive thread in my design not only so that it did not look bad but that the positive and grounds did not touch at all or else the LEDs would not turn on.


(Above:  picture of box put together)

Overall, I am pretty happy with the way it turned out even though I was given different color LEDs. It was neat to get that hands-on experience with e-textiles and I already have a couple of ideas that I am thinking of pursuing on my own. It’s a bitter sweet feeling knowing that our time in the Fab Lab is coming to an end. I have learned a lot of new skills and have learned an even bigger appreciation for what the Fab Lab does for this community.  I hope to be able to use the Fab Lab for our final project and even for some side projects that I have. Hopefully I can even start my own maker space back home when I start working full time.

One thought on “Putting It All Together”

  1. Hey Norman ,
    Great summary of the class and explanation of the elements within digital embroidery. I really enjoyed putting everything together and adding one more skill to the growing “maker” toolbox. I also was frustrated by how difficult it was to thread the needle and get through the canvas (especially when sewing through the embroidery on top of the canvas). I think we’re all a bit sad to be done in the FabLab (for official class meetings) because it’s such a neat and inspirational space. I hope to be able to go back and work on a few personal projects too before I graduate. It’s great that you’re already looking to the future and to creating your own maker space as well, it’d be neat if you were able to create that!

Leave a Reply