Cardboard + wire wrap for simple circuits -- any reason why not?

Thread Starter

wsprague

Joined Sep 22, 2015
16
Hi all,

I am beginning my electronics journey, and would like to build some semi-permanent circuits mostly just for educational reasons.

Is there any reason not to use corrugated cardboard as a backing material instead of breadboards? I want to use wire wrap sockets, poke holes through the cardboard, and doing the wrapping like normal on the back. A little hot glue and duck tape whenever necessary to add more structure.

Any reason why not? It seems cheap and easy and a good use of found materials. I hate soldering, and I won't use it for RF stuff.

Plus it might work with electrically driven paper robots. Like maybe the following http://www.amazon.com/Paper-Models-That-Move-Papercraft/dp/0486477932

Thanks!
 

#12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,210
Paper absorbs moisture. It's no good for high impedance circuits. Besides that, I would prefer something more rigid. The more wiggle, the more prone to damage.
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
Hi all,

I am beginning my electronics journey, and would like to build some semi-permanent circuits mostly just for educational reasons.

Is there any reason not to use corrugated cardboard as a backing material instead of breadboards? I want to use wire wrap sockets, poke holes through the cardboard, and doing the wrapping like normal on the back. A little hot glue and duck tape whenever necessary to add more structure.

Any reason why not? It seems cheap and easy and a good use of found materials. I hate soldering, and I won't use it for RF stuff.

Plus it might work with electrically driven paper robots. Like maybe the following http://www.amazon.com/Paper-Models-That-Move-Papercraft/dp/0486477932

Thanks!

It will work, even for RF. In high school, we used little brass nails into a piece of rigid Polyurethane foam. Then wrap hookup wire around the nail heads and resistors/capacitors the same way. Transistors were tacked with solder.

Good luck and show is.

By the way, if I'm wrong, your only cost is your time. It will be fun to try and show off when you finish a simple one compete.
 

SLK001

Joined Nov 29, 2011
1,548
I agree with #12's rigidity comments. Also, poking holes in the cardboard can be problematic, since they must be 0.100" on center and in straight lines. Maybe a perfboard made out of phenolic material, or even fiberglass would work better for your needs.

If you are truly embarking on a career in electronics, then you need to learn to embrace soldering. You probably don't like it because you lack the proper equipment.
 

Sensacell

Joined Jun 19, 2012
2,568
It would work- but you will have irritating troubles that will make you hate the decision.
It's a clear case of "false economy"

1) Connectors - when ever you need to mount a connector, it will be weak and floppy, unplug it a few times and it will get worse.
Connections will break from the flexing, etc.

2) High impedance circuits will malfunction- humidity makes it worse.

3) High voltage- the circuits will collect dirt and start leaking... leading to fire.
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
It would work- but you will have irritating troubles that will make you hate the decision.
It's a clear case of "false economy"

1) Connectors - when ever you need to mount a connector, it will be weak and floppy, unplug it a few times and it will get worse.
Connections will break from the flexing, etc.

2) High impedance circuits will malfunction- humidity makes it worse.

3) High voltage- the circuits will collect dirt and start leaking... leading to fire.
Have you tried it? That is like shooting down the guys that wanted to make transistors and saying that high purity silicon was expensive and not available and vacuum tubes are so engrained in manufacturing that silicon will be a false economy.

Why would you shoot down this idea before it is even attempted? His risk of failure, as mentioned above, is almost zero if he started with a blinking LED with a 555 timer. His biggest risk is developing a new Prototype assembly method and will be known as the "Sprague method".
 

magnet18

Joined Dec 22, 2010
1,227
Maybe a perfboard made out of phenolic material, or even fiberglass would work better for your needs.
Is that not what perfboard is usually made of?
If you are truly embarking on a career in electronics, then you need to learn to embrace soldering. You probably don't like it because you lack the proper equipment.
+1

and to answer OPs original question, it will work for about anything a breadboard would work for, until the cardboard degrades, as long as you don't need it to be durable
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
Also, paper from a humid room does not conduct. Duck tape does not conduct as far as I can measure (although people love to say it does - apparently nobody measures it - or they are confused with Duct tape made of aluminum and the OP wouldn't be so dumb - I hope). Glue from a hot glue gun is not conductive and contains no salt. Humidity absorbed from the room into any of these materials will not cause conductivity without an electrolyte - the humid air is like distilled water and is a pretty darn good insulator. I like the idea. I want to see it in action.

I think a nice rigid wirewrap socket would make a great punch for cardboard. Now that I mention it, I will post an attempt below...


Ok, correlated cardboard works except. You need a wirewrap IC socket with nice straight pins. Any pins that are slightly off center will get way more out of alignment by the time they reach the other side of the cardboard. Other wise, a complete success. Use a pressure plate as you press through the cardboard to prevent the IC socket's pins from puncturing your thumb.
 

hp1729

Joined Nov 23, 2015
2,304
Hi all,

I am beginning my electronics journey, and would like to build some semi-permanent circuits mostly just for educational reasons.

Is there any reason not to use corrugated cardboard as a backing material instead of breadboards? I want to use wire wrap sockets, poke holes through the cardboard, and doing the wrapping like normal on the back. A little hot glue and duck tape whenever necessary to add more structure.

Any reason why not? It seems cheap and easy and a good use of found materials. I hate soldering, and I won't use it for RF stuff.

Plus it might work with electrically driven paper robots. Like maybe the following http://www.amazon.com/Paper-Models-That-Move-Papercraft/dp/0486477932

Thanks!
Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
 

Lestraveled

Joined May 19, 2014
1,946
I once built a single vacuum tube novice ham transmitter on a wood board with 8 penny nails driven in it for terminal posts. It was pretty scary, but it worked. My advise, spend the bucks and buy some perf-board.
 

#12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,210
Also, paper from a humid room does not conduct.
It depends on the circuit you are doing. In one place I worked, I had to use a hot air gun to take the humidity out of the FR4 circuit boards or they wouldn't pass their specification requirements. I'm talking about Ph meters and PPM oxygen sensors with fet input amplifiers. Strange stuff like Teflon standoffs and guard rings.:eek: Not what a beginner does on a piece of lumber or cardboard.

However, I do have a split 15 power supply I built on a 1x4. It's still my go-to supply for audio op-amps.:p
 

AnalogKid

Joined Aug 1, 2013
8,488
The only thing I can think of is that reworking a wire wrap connection is a big pain. Of course, if you are uncomfortable or inexperienced with soldering and desoldering tools, you might feel that ww is better for you. Go for it.

ak
 

Lestraveled

Joined May 19, 2014
1,946
I love wire wrapping. The new kids seem to turn their noises up at it. It is still the fastest, highest density prototyping method out there.

AK
The only reason reason a WW rework would be a problem is if it wasn't done correctly in the first place.
 

#12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,210
I have never done a wire wrap, but I do appreciate all that extra wire when I need to solder in a repair.:D
 

Sensacell

Joined Jun 19, 2012
2,568
Have you tried it? That is like shooting down the guys that wanted to make transistors and saying that high purity silicon was expensive and not available and vacuum tubes are so engrained in manufacturing that silicon will be a false economy.

Why would you shoot down this idea before it is even attempted? His risk of failure, as mentioned above, is almost zero if he started with a blinking LED with a 555 timer. His biggest risk is developing a new Prototype assembly method and will be known as the "Sprague method".
I love making things. Making them out of the right material is part of the joy.
Choosing the wrong material causes frustration and irritation.
Sure, it would work, but why steal the joy? It's always demoralizing when the project you are investing hundreds of hour in starts to disintegrate because you chose the wrong material fundamentally from the start.
 

Thread Starter

wsprague

Joined Sep 22, 2015
16
Sure, it would work, but why steal the joy? It's always demoralizing when the project you are investing hundreds of hour in starts to disintegrate because you chose the wrong material fundamentally from the start.
If I were investing hundreds of hours in a project I wouldn't be using cardboard. It is more for the following: Read a book, fiddle with the circuit on breadboard until it works, wire wrap it onto something for reference later, move on to the next circuit in the book. I wouldn't do something on cardboard to actually put in a machine or anything.

Thanks to everyone for all their responses, but critical and encouraging!
 
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