Twelve Circuit Sculptures We Can’t Stop Looking At

Circuits are beautiful in their own way, and a circuit sculpture takes that abstract beauty and makes it into a purposeful art form. Can you use the wires of the circuits themselves as the structure of a sculpture, and tell a story with the use and placement of every component? Anyone can exercise their inner artist using this medium and we loved seeing so many people give it a try. Today we announce the top winners and celebrate four score of entries in the Hackaday Circuit Sculpture Contest.

Let’s take a look at twelve outstanding projects that caught (and held) our eye:

New Meaning to an Air-Gapped Computer

We’ve seen retrocomputers built on breadboards that weren’t nearly this tidy! Matseng built wirez80 as a z80 computer complete with a hex keypad for entry and a set of 7-segment displays. The cylindrical tower at the back hosts the CPU, and uses those rings to distribute the address bus and data bus. It’s eye-catching and the layout is clean, simple, and complex all at once. This is no simple circuit, it actually functions as a computer! This project is award a $200 cash prize as one of the top three winners.

The Nesting Instinct

When you see Kelly Heaton’s Electronic Sculpture project the beauty of the work washes over you. It has echos of an oil painting, where the layers and the topography come together to create beauty in a way that leaves the unanswerable question of “how?”. The circuit itself is a light-activating chirping circuit built with 7400-series logic and installed in the hollow of the bird. The sensor is in the nest, and sounds like the baby birds beckoning their parents to feed them. And Kelly comes through with insight of how this was built by showing off the clay form she used to build out the bird sculpture. Even seeing that, the final sculpture is still mind boggling. This project is award a $200 cash prize as one of the top three winners.

The Creation of (Audio) Man

Dead-bug fabrication meets wire sculpture in the Audio Man Circuit Sculpture by Dean Segovis. A human skeleton has been masterfully built with attention to detail down to the profile of each wire and the detail of how it cut to produce a wedge at the tip. The guts of the circuit find a home in the guts of Audio Man, with a lumbar-region battery pack feeding the LM386 audio amplifier. Details of the head are delightful as the speaker makes him a loudmouth, glowing eyes add the illusion of life, a trimpot and audio jack serve as ears, and a jumble of wires fills his head. This project is award a $200 cash prize as one of the top three winners.

Runners Up:

The range of creativity in the contest ran incredibly deep. We’ve picked more runners-up than originally planned, and you can see from each of these that they are all ridiculously qualified to be named as winners. These were selected because they exhibit different and interesting ways to do circuit sculpture. Each of these nine projects wins a $100 gift code to Tindie, the where you can find unique hardware sold by the designers themselves.

We could have easily made this list two or three times as long. Make sure you jump over and browse all the entries — they’re worth your time!

Next Contest and a Few Honorable Mentions

This contest has drawn to a close, but the next one kicks off tomorrow. Dust off those 3D printers and warm up the CAD software, our next challenge is the 3D Printed Gears, Pulleys, and Cams Contest. Keep your eye on Hackaday for full details.

We leave you with two honorable mentions. The Tessellated circuits made of colored metals project has been named “Best Oxidation” for using heat oxidation to make copper pads very interesting colors for mosaic patterns. Wonderlandscape is named “Best Metalworks” for going far beyond soldering wires.

25 thoughts on “Twelve Circuit Sculptures We Can’t Stop Looking At

        1. Too bad the trashman blatantly ripped it off. It is a combination of two R&B hits by the Rivingtons: “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” and “The Bird’s the Word”. Both of the originals used to be on you tube.

  1. Hi all!

    While the judging was based on reasonable, uniform criteria mentioned before the competition, a number of amazing projects that are really worth your while didn’t make it through. Unranked != un-awesome.

    Because I had more than 12 honorable mentions, we’re going to spin it off into its own article, to come out next week. So sit tight — there’s more to come from the circuit sculpture contest.

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