Has anyone used carbon powder to make trace lines for adding lighting elements

Discussion in 'Tips & FAQs' started by Jadriancz, Dec 28, 2018.

  1. Jadriancz

    Jadriancz New Member

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    We have all seen those electrical conductive paints (50 ml for $20 and up.).
    Well I was thinking this could be made easily and much cheaper since carbon is a conductive material.
    You can purchase activated carbon pellets (40 oz bottle for about $10 US) from pet stores which are used in filters for fish tanks.
    Using a spice grinder to turn it into fine powder. (You now have 1182 ml for $10)
    (Make sure to do this in a well ventilated area using filter masks as the dust is toxic and flammable).

    Mix with glue and paint the lines on the interior side to the lighting locations on the model and attach the leds and battery wiring.
    The glue helps bind it into the paper fibers.
    Could also use caulking for flexibility as needed.
    lyter1958 likes this.
  2. DJPinter

    DJPinter Trusted Confidant

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    You’d have to be careful with the voltage. Too much would produce heat and a pile of ash that used to be your model.
  3. ennder

    ennder Member

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    I used graphite powder from pencil lead for weathering, back when I built plastic models.
  4. spaceagent-9

    spaceagent-9 Right Hand Man and Confidant Moderator

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    they even have conductive colored ink pens, something like a silver laundry marker, there are videos on youtube.
  5. Jadriancz

    Jadriancz New Member

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    $10 + ^ for 5 ml compared to 1182 ml you can make as needed.
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  6. Jadriancz

    Jadriancz New Member

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    Possibly, but I dont think most led wiring setups for paper models would exceed its capabilites or come close to it. I am not an electrical engineer myself so not sure.
  7. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator Moderator

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    Get your Ohm meter out and measure the conductivity. It's all Ohm's law from there on out. LED's need very little forward Voltage to turn them on, and very little current, depending on how bright they are. Automotive Headlight LED's use a lot of amps. :)
  8. Cybergrinder

    Cybergrinder Member Extraordinaire

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    Personally I will stick with thin wires :)
  9. Gandolf50

    Gandolf50 Researcher of obscure between war vehicles... Moderator

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    You can get copper tape used for stained glass work, and tap into it as needed. There is also fabric wire which you can weave into shirts and clothing and add the LED's ( it is actually transductant wire or something like that)... There are lots of ways to get a model lit up without grinding carbon!
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  10. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator Moderator

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    I have noticed that people are using wires that are far too fat for these LED's. One wire you may want to consider is wire sold to wrap coils (Magnet Wire). The wire is coated, so it doesn't conduct, but are almost hairlike, allowing really easy removal of the insulation, which is usually clear, or translucent colored, soldering, and running the whole collection of wires into a harness without worrying about short circuits. Twisted pairs could be used to carry more current, but your wiring options become much more concealed, even allowing for socket to be made so you plug your LED's in, instead of soldering them. :)

    https://www.amazon.com/Metal-Alloy-Magnet-Wire/b?ie=UTF8&node=310354011
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