Fab 11

This month (August 3-9) we participated in the 2015 Boston FabFest! We put on workshops during the Fab Kids events throughout the week, and met some amazing people.


So many creative minds were at work and it was incredibly rewarding to see what circuits and projects everyone came up with. We presented a series of projects using circuit scribe and our modules to create a paper city. The kids were able to build and light up houses, create a pressure sensitive driveway/street lamp circuit, put together a contour map, and much more.

For the record, boys were allowed at the workshops!

For the record, boys were allowed at the workshops!

Watching people use circuit scribe for the first time is one of the most rewarding parts of our job.  It’s really excited to see how everyone experiments with the pen differently.


We sat down with Fab Kids organizer Eileen McMahon to talk about this year’s event. Read on to see what she had to say!

What makes for a successful kids' workshop?

Engaged and happy kids are the sign of a successful kids workshop to me. It means that the activity is appropriately challenging and intrinsically interesting to them and that it’s been well scaffolded so that they understand from the get go what they can do. And of course when when they are are excited to share what they created with their family you know it’s been a success.

What inspired you at this year's Fab Fest?

There were lots of inspiring things at the Fab Fest. I loved the Nerdy derby, (which reminded me of winning the soap box derby in the 3rd grade when my brother was too sick to race), the DIY Insect Forest and Electoninks electric cityscapes and the projects the kids made with Chibitronic’s peel-and-stick circuits.

What is the Fab Foundation's mission?

The Foundation's mission is to “provide access to the tools, the knowledge and the financial means to educate, innovate and invent using technology and digital fabrication to allow anyone to make (almost) anything, and thereby creating opportunities to improve lives and livelihoods around the world. “  So we have three different over lapping foci – education, which was exhibited in abundance by first time fabbers who came to FAB Fest Boston and the new graduates of the Fab Academy who took Neil Gershenfield’s MIT course and learned " How To Make (Almost) Anything” from their native countries. Secondly its to build capacity of services for fab labs around the world  (https://www.fablabs.io) and lastly to develop a business economy around digital fabrication which you can learn more about by visiting Fab Economy ( http://fabeconomy.com/).


We were so fortunate to host workshops and be a part of such an incredible event! We look forward to staying involved with the Boston Fab community and continuing to inspire makers of all ages.

Featured Artist: K-Fai


K-Fai Steele is an artist from San Francisco by way of Philadelphia. She uses technology as a way to explore drawing, writing, and storytelling. She is also interested in how libraries and museums can be places for youth to learn technology, and how a more creative, inclusive approach can engage youth who don't have access to or aren't interested in traditional engineering and computer science. In an effort to explore that idea, she writes and draws children’s books about non-traditional characters who discover their own learning pathway through using technology as a tool for self-expression.

K-Fai was also one of our Kickstarter backers!  We learned about her work when she sent us a video of a Circuit Scribe project she made using the light sensor, motor, and a watercolor sketch of a dog.  We recently collaborated with her to create the chicken greeting card, which we plan to make available to customers later this year. We recently had a chance to chat with her about her work and her inspirations:

What are your favorite tools when creating/making?

I always start with a big piece of paper and one of my favorite things to draw with. I want as little as possible to frustrate me and get in the way of the idea or the thing I’m trying to communicate. Even when I think about circuits, I’m always drawing them out before I take out any components. I definitely problem solve through a pencil before I even go near a breadboard.

What was your inspiration behind the Electroninks chicken greeting card?

I was asked to make this card sometime in November or December. I’m originally from New England, and my dad heated (and still heats) the house with a wood-burning stove. Every time I go back (usually around the holidays) that stove is going, and everyone, including the cat, are vying to cozy up to it. I had moved to San Francisco in October, and was feeling particularly far from the winter and that fireplace and that sense of coziness when I was drumming up ideas for images with LEDs.

What inspires you in general?

I think I never strayed far from my childhood love of picture books, cartoons and stories where animals were proxies for humans. I think you can express so much more with, for example, Sam Eagle from the Muppets, versus an adult male actor who is taking himself really seriously. I spend a lot of time observing things (in museums, walking around the city, looking at people, looking at books in the library, looking at people’s curated collections on the internet) and then making things (drawing, writing, electronics, recently ceramics). There aren’t enough people in the world who are making creative art with technology, so when it’s done well (Daniel Rozen, Jie Qi, IDPW, loads of things out of F.A.T. Lab) it’s better than a million Maker Faires.

You gave a TEDx talk on The "Maker Movement" in libraries, why is it important to have makerspaces available in libraries?

The library was one of the most important places to me when I was a kid: I knew that little occult shelf in the children’s section inside and out, and it fed my imagination like gasoline. In retrospect, it was a really important resource for my family because it was the only free, guaranteed-to-be-open place we could go where I could have learning opportunities that were aligned with the things I was interested in. Libraries today are one of the only places where people can go to access free information and free internet. They’re one of the only equalizers we have left. It makes so much sense for them to offer opportunities for youth to learn about digital media and creative technology.

What can we do as community members to help our youth lead the making process?

Volunteer, or join a group. So many libraries, museums, and nonprofits are looking for help. It’s also a great learning opportunity. The biggest challenge I find in starting a maker program is that people don’t think they have enough expertise. Just jump in. It’s fine (and really good for you) to learn something entirely new, and I think it’s important to acknowledge in front of kids that despite being an adult, you don’t know everything.

What techniques can teachers use to increase individualized learning for kids?

Pay attention to the things your students are interested in that fall outside the spectrum of what they’re learning. Design your curriculum so that there’s enough latitude for them to explore those interests and weave them into classroom assignments. Life isn’t about separate subjects and disciplines anyway, right?


Project Ignite

We are very excited to announce that our partner Autodesk has launched a new learning platform! Project Ignite is a new tool for students to learn design and making skills in and out of the classroom, in a fun and exciting way.

Project Ignite brings together 3D printing, 3D design, and electronics, which are all hot topics in education today. The site truly gives students the tools they need to utilize their creativity.  We are excited to be partners in this project, and to offer our kits and custom curriculum through the Project Ignite site.


Below is an excerpt from Autodesk’s press release:


“With Autodesk’s long history in education, it understands first-hand how young learners have the potential to change the world when given the right tools and inspiration. The Project Ignite learning platform adds to Autodesk’s comprehensive free* offerings in education by delivering a unique package of technology, learning content and services created specifically to bring the Maker Movement into the classroom…The Project Ignite learning platform additionally offers classroom bundles, which include hardware such as 3D printers and electronics kits along with professional development and training services, to help educators get up and running quickly.”


A mini version of ‘City Lights’ presented at the TEDx Cambridge exhibition on June 18.

The City of Lights Project (pictured above) is a collaboration between Autodesk and Electroninks, and you can find instructions on how to create your own through the Project Ignite website!  The project utilizes both Tinkercad and the Electroninks circuit simulator.

The site offers options for educators, schools, educational partners, as well as parents and families, giving everyone an opportunity to benefit from the platform’s many features. The more we inspire children to create, the more they can do:


“The ability to take risks, learn from failure and solve problems is critical to prepare students for the challenges ahead,” said Samir Hanna, vice president and general manager, Autodesk Consumer and 3D Printing. “When learning includes making, designing and creativity, students have the freedom to explore different ways of engaging with content and each other. Project Ignite provides the collaborative and hands-on environment needed to energize educators, increase student engagement and inspire design thinking in a simple and fun way.”


Project Ignite’s homepage, where anyone can sign up to learn and create!


Autodesk’s full press release can be found here.


Happy New Year From Electroninks!

One year ago here at Electroninks, we counted down to the new year with the end of our Kickstarter campaign. This year, we are so happy to have delivered a finished product to our backers and to brand new customers as well! We'd like to thank all of them for their support this past year. We’re really looking forward to a productive and exciting 2015!

BMW commercial

A few days ago, we had our own interesting New Years surprise, brought to our attention by a Twitter follower. BMW is using Circuit Scribe in a beautiful new advertisement, airing in Germany! A friend translated the end of the commercial for us:

“...no matter how we drive into the future, the most important thing is to whom.”

What a great message!


We want to hear from you in 2015!

We’ve really enjoyed seeing your Circuit Scribe creations via email and Twitter - but we want to see more! Soon we will designate a new area of our website for user content. Send us your high-resolution photos and project descriptions to info@electroninks.com, and we’ll feature our favorite projects on our website or in our catalog (with credit given to you, of course!).

A little more holiday fun

Finally, we’d like to share one more fun holiday project. One of our favorite parts of going home for the holidays is playing with old childhood toys; Circuit Scribe integrated really well with one of them!

How we made it: Circuit Scribe ink, like most gel inks, will smear when we try to use it directly with Spirograph (TM) gears. Instead, we drew the patterns with pencil and traced over them with the conductive ink. Voila! Some simple and fun conductive artwork using a vintage toy.

We'd like to wish all of you all a happy, healthy, and creative new year!

-The Electroninks Team

New location, new website, new blog!

Howdy, everyone!

Last week our CEO Brett Walker moved our headquarters from Champaign, IL to Austin, TX. Now all of our ink manufacturing and pen filling will be done from our new facility in Austin.  We are currently using the Austin office to fulfill the rest of our Kickstarter orders, too.  Last week we shipped off about 500 Maker Kits to international backers and plan to have all kits shipped by Christmas!  Our backers can be on the look out for tracking emails within the next few weeks.  We are 96% complete for all kickstarter orders and we have around 400 total shipments left.  As you can see below our (new) shipping office is packed with kits. The last step is to receive the workbooks, put them and the pens into the kit, and ship them off. 

Winter Art

One of the beauties of conductive ink is that if you can think it, you can draw it. You're not limited to straight lines or simple connections like you would be using wires.  In fact, you can turn your circuit into art!  Click here to download a winter themed circuit that you can trace with Circuit Scribe!  Here's a photo of our example:

Social media

Let us know what you think of our new website and blog!  We plan to use this site to keep everyone up-to-date with fun projects, product updates, and news.  If you don't already follow us on Twitter, you can also find us at @Electroninks!  We love when people tweet at us and send us photos of their circuit creations.  Check out this holiday-inspired creation!

Thank you!

Finally, we just want to thank you all sincerely for joining us in the experience of making our products a reality over the past year.  It's been an amazing experience seeing Circuit Scribe transform from a prototype to a real product and hearing positive feedback from our customers and collaborators.  We can't wait to see what 2015 brings! 

Happy Holidays!

-The Electroninks Team (Analisa, Michael, Val, Brett and Nancy)