Planning a wedding is no small task. There is the venue, the catering company, the annoying wedding planner to deal with, the cake - and, of course, figuring out how to etch your own copper to create your interactive, one-of-a-kind wedding invitations. Right?
This project comes from electronics hobbyist extraordinaire Bill Porter, who created these amazing wedding invitations to follow his wedding theme of “Circuits and Swirls.” Using a handful of white LEDs, an AVR MCU, a battery, a light sensor, and some other bits and pieces, Bill created a completely unique wedding invitation that illuminates with a beautiful light show when the invitation is opened in the dark (or the light sensor is otherwise covered).
Bill built the circuit in Eagle and by using Photoshop, was able to circumvent around the size limits of Eagle, and panelized the design onto 8.5″x11″ sheets. Because of this workaround, Bill was able to fit 9 designs onto one sheet. He also incorporated a programming “port” into the design and built a nifty little programming jig.
Well that looks familiar.
Bill then used a Xerox solid ink printer to print mask directly onto copper sheets and built his own etch tank out of a specimen tank from a local pet store. Bill gave the boards a nice ferric chloride bath, a quick dip in a water tub, and then cleaned the boards with a Brillo pad to remove the solder mask.
The Xerox loaded up with copper “paper.”
Finally he cleaned the pads with some flux, tinned them up, and then soldered the parts. The completed boards were then ready to be incorporated into the paper cards. The result, as you can see in the above video, is pretty awesome. Bill even put an Easter egg into the card, which he explains more on his website.
The final touch - installing the battery.
Even making one of these invitations was a ton of work, so the fact Bill made dozens is pretty impressive. Props to him for an awesome, creative way to geek up his wedding invites! For more information, pictures, and a complete build report, check out his website. Great work, Bill, and congratulations!