Circuit Sculptures as a New Hobby

Learn what circuit sculptures are and the few that we've made since quarantine started.

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Circuit Sculptures aren't necessarily a new concept, in fact they've been around for almost as long as electronics as we know them today. About a year and half ago, Rob did a deep dive into this blend of technology and art to a pretty good degree, but we weren't living in the world we are now and maybe you need a new hobby while stuck inside.

If you aren't familiar, Circuit Sculpting is the art of creating a sculpture from electrical components using brass rods or wire to, if you're so inclined, build a circuit into form. These sculptures can include a few LED’s and resistors powered by a coin cell battery, to drivable robots, or more (heck, we've even seen applicable sculptures with no functioning circuit at all).

While in search of new projects and ideas to pursue, Creative Technologist Avra and Machine Operator Marcus decided to make a couple of their own! Maybe this will help show how easy it is to get started or maybe provide a fun idea for inspiration.

Avra's Clock

I love the look of open motherboards and how complex yet compact they look. So my thoughts were, why not make a useful sculpture like a clock? The disk fits perfectly for this kind of image, so now I’ve got a motherboard that tells the time! - Avra

Marcus went a slightly different direction by creating an automated art piece with multiple configurations!

My sculptures are thoroughly inspired by the art of Arthur Ganson. After watching his Making Wire Gears video, I built a few jigs of my own and created a couple of DoodleBots. Both use the same handful of components: two hobby motors, a toggle switch, a microswitch, some wire, and a battery holder. DoodleBot 1.0 has a minimal form factor, and it doesn’t quite create the kinds of doodles I was hoping for. To achieve the helical patterns I wanted, I used the same circuit but beefed up the mechanical components with an oscillating drawing arm. The rail and gear jigs I created have sped up the process of creating kinetic parts considerably. I also adapted a handful of plastic spring clamps to hold hot wire without melting by attaching tiny MDF squares with hot glue. - Marcus

Circuit Sculpting is a fun and easy hobby to pick up and one that has a low barrier of entry in both cost and expertise. So, what have you made? Is there a sculpture that you've wanted to create or have these two projects sparked the creative side of your brain and given you a good idea? Let us know in the comments below or if you want to see more!

Comments 2 comments

  • FSJ Guy / about 4 years ago / 1

    Video reminds me of a "modern day" Spirograph!! Pretty cool!

  • Member #134773 / about 4 years ago / 1

    Back in about 1972 or 1973 I saw something interesting at an art display. It was an "auto-mobile" suspended on a wire from the ceiling -- wire frame with several (I don't recall now for sure but I think it was 6) "hobby" motors with propellers on them, and a small gear motor that drove a wire-frame "cam shaft" that tripped "tilt" [mercury] switches to turn the propeller motors on one at a time. It was all powered by a set of NiCd batteries (which got swapped out every few hours). I've long thought about doing a variant of this with light detector so that the "auto-mobile" would attempt to "seek" the brightest light, for example, a flashlight shining on it. The critical shortage of "round tuits" has always prevented me from acting on the idea... ;-)

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