The Circuit Sculpture Contest

Many artists are inseparably associated with their medium: Vincent Van Gogh had oil paint, Auguste Rodin had bronze, and Banksy has the spraycan and stencil. You have ICs, passives, wire, and solder. So often electronics are hidden away, but not today! We want to see you build electronic circuits that are beautiful in and of themselves.

This is Hackaday’s Circuit Sculpture Contest and we bet you already have everything you need to enter. Leave behind the drab flatland of 2D PCBs and break out into the third dimension! Or break away from the PCB entirely. Our inspiration comes from a few recently featured projects by Mohit Bhoite and by Eirik Brandal that show functional electronic circuits supported by their own wiring:

There’s something beautiful in these works. They take what would be unnoticed traces and bring them to the forefront of the project. The core of the challenge is simple: built a sculpture where an electronic circuit is the main building material (or medium if you prefer the artistic vernacular).

Prizes and How to Enter

Head over to Hackaday.io and publish a project page that shows off your circuit sculpture — enter using the “Submit Project To:” dropdown on the left sidebar of your project page.

There are no strict requirements for what information you share but here’s some advice on wooing the judges: We want to see what you went through during the project. Show off your planning, the method you used to fabricate it, share a schematic if you can. Tell the story like you would if standing around the workshop with your best friend.

  • 3 Exceptional Entries will each win a $200 cash prize

  • 4 Runners-up will each win a $100 Tindie gift certificate

Full contest rules are available on the contest page.

Your circuit must do something…

Even if that’s just lighting up an LED, your sculpture must also be a functional circuit. Judges will primarily consider the art of your creation, but will also take into consideration the complexity of this circuit. But this really isn’t about who wins. Beautify is in the eye of the beholder, and we’ve see a lot of ugly projects that are unmistakably beautiful!

What counts as a sculpture?

We’re looking for projects that get away from traditional circuit board layout and make something beautiful from the components and the connections themselves. The most obvious is flywire sculptures like the ones above, but we think projects that involve circuit boards could still do well in this contest — think Cordwood or other methods where the PCBs aren’t the center of attention or constrained to one plane. We also think Manhattan-style, and dead-bug style builds can be a thing of beauty, so these will be considered as well.

The point is, push the boundaries of your creativity! Components and wire are cheap, so test out your ideas, iterate on your successful tests, and I be you’ll surprise yourself with what you can accomplish. What you see above is the result of the same first steps. This is Hackaday; we want to see those tentative first steps as much as we do the finished products because great ideas come from so many places. Good luck!

29 thoughts on “The Circuit Sculpture Contest

  1. Hmm… thinking of this and Hackaday.io,
    I’ve got an ugly build of a WiFi card that is an abuse of kapton tape and steel sheets for a DIY “circuit board” that isn’t sculpture enough for an entry here though I’d like to share some such sculptured circuits I’m likely to make in the future before they get potted for use in repairs.
    However with this in mind and my other back-of-the-drawer projects I may go back to for documenting on the .io, I ask Hackaday Staff if people who sign up to the hackaday.io site are also identifiable as the genuine comment creator in the blog’s comment section?
    If not, does someone have to have or create a page or blog to sign up with wordpress?
    I ask as I wish to share some of my projects and do not want to let my commenting details fall into malicious hands as I’ve seen happen to people before.

    1. Huh, strange. I don’t recall people claiming to be the project creator when they’re not. That’s not cool at all. If you do have problem, contact the editors and we’ll look into it.

      You hackaday.io account and your hackaday.com comments are not explicitly linked. You can put your profile page as the link on your wordpress comment if you like.

  2. FWIW, I once made a PCB out of laminated layers of thin cardstock. The traces and edge connectors were hair-thick, individual strands of wire, soldered side-by-side until they were wide enough. Finicky and time-consuming, yes, but, as each trace was set in a channel in the cardstock, not as difficult as you might think. (I didn’t want to wait the five days it would take for that particular $3 adapter board to get to me. It only took a couple of hours to make and it was tough enough that I still have it kicking around somewhere.)

  3. I made a little tree of 5mm WS2812 LEDs a few years ago, some of the solder joints are a little rough, but overall it’s a nice effect. It really needs some kind of mount to look nice.

  4. The title art is misleading, at best. Drop a DIP chip on a chair and sit on it, and I guarantee you will not be thinking about what you thought you were going to think about.

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