BAMF2010: DIY Electroluminescent Displays


In this video from Maker Faire, [Jon Beck] of CLUE — the Columbia Laboratory for Unconventional Electronics — demonstrates the unexpected ease of creating custom electroluminescent (EL) displays using materials from DuPont and common t-shirt screen printing tools. Eagle-eyed reader [ithon] recognized the Hack a Day logo among the custom shapes, which escaped our notice at the time. Sorry, Jon! Very cool project, even if the setup is a bit steep. You’ll find links to materials at the project site.

If the interviewer seems especially sharp, that’s because it’s none other than [Jeri “Circuit Girl” Ellsworth], who makes transistors from scratch and designed the C64 DTV. We’re not worthy!

14 thoughts on “BAMF2010: DIY Electroluminescent Displays

  1. He can use a hotplate on a fabric clothed table in a public thing like that? firemarshal rules allows that?
    I mean a plate that gets hundreds of degrees, a cloth, some chemicals like phosphor, I’m a bit surprised, not that I mind personally, looks like a place and setup that can deal with a small local fire and you can just step back a few feet and wait till it’s over, but you know they are always so aggressive on rules in public convention places, and I’ve used hotplates and find them a bit tricky because they can get very hot and become a liability, in fact if I were him I’d put it more in the middle of the table away from my crotch, not just saying that to be cute either, but perhaps it’s all just for show and isn’t being used?

    As for the actual presentation, he does it pretty damn good, explains it relatively clearly and is pleasant and relaxed in mannerism for someone who’s a normal student and not some salesperson.
    And yes it’s nice to hear questions asked by someone who gets what’s going on.

  2. @ whatnot
    lame, totally lame. go to a chem lab and feel the bottom of a hot plate when its on, expecially on that model and not to mention I doubt its heating at full potential since they are only drying it out.

    Anyway sweet hack, I’ll go make me some on a fabric clothed table

  3. The expressions on his face are just awesome. “Shit shit shit, this gal actually knows more about this than I do. Hope I don’t make an ass out of myself!”.

    Damn cool stuff though. I’d give it a shot if I had any use for it. Sadly the price squeezes it out of the do-it-for-giggles category.

  4. @Syadyne Don’t know that model, but it looks similar to one I used, and yes it radiated plenty of damn heat everywhere even at medium settings, but meh maybe it isn’t one that is designed to get hot at all, they all look roughly the same.
    And frankly I suspect it’s not used there anyway, but if it is, look at how crumpled the cloth is, it easily touches the sides too at any moment, but maybe it’s a fireblanket.

  5. I wonder what the limits are to dielectric & phosphor thickness and flexibility are. It would be fun to coat large areas of conductive fabric with the dielectric & phosphor sandwich, with a layer of the transparent conductor sprayed on top (and the whole thing sealed somehow) to create electroluminescent garments.

  6. Jeri was hoping for a homemade solution, and knowing her ingenuity she could come u with one if she really wanted, after all she did manage to make homemade transistors ;)

  7. HAD needs to take a hint from other social media sites and add a bit of code to allow us to “mute” the safety nazi/not a hack crowd.

    I’m all for safety, but if you’re wetting your pants because the guy is drying a slurry on a hot-plate that’s on a table cloth, you’re not adding anything useful to the mix.

    Algorithm should look for unique ips and votes, and find some ratio at which the post is collapsed to “Muted: Safety Nazi” status
    – but still shows a link in case someone wants to read it.

    Muted: Not a hack
    Muted: Safety Nazi
    Muted: Viral Marketing
    Muted: Already seen this

    Muted: Useless suggestion

  8. just got one of these kits, neat stuff :-)

    a little tip, cling film makes a good “test to see if its painted on right” mechanism, and doesent arc over, in fact it would probably work for homemade transparent EL.

    i tried it today and it works if you paint silver onto the back.

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