You don't have to have a PhD in electrical engineering to make nutty drawings, but it helps if you do it using conductive ink and a 12 kV neon sign transformer. The ink came from the Bare Conductive company's Electric Paint product line that is supplied in a jar for brush application or in a pen format. Evidently conductive paint is a big deal because it was just back in February of this year (see "The Art of Technology") that I mentioned another Kickstarter project called Circuit Scribe that produced a similar product.
"I created a laminate of aluminum foil, 250 micron Mylar sheet (from "office" laminating pockets), and oven baking paper. The picture of the cello was then drawn onto the baking paper side with a Bare Conductive ink pen. I then applied about 12,000V a.c. using a neon sign transformer (controlled with a Variac), connected between the foil backing and the ink drawing. The image is a 10 second exposure with a Nikon DSLR, capturing the partial discharge arcs."
Bare Conductive is in production with not just the aforementioned conductive ink media, but also peripheral products for use in experimentation, including the custom interface circuit board shown below. I doubt the Electric Paint is meant to be incorporated into commercial gadgets, but is intended primarily as a teaching tool. However, depending on the robustness of the conductive paint or time, temperature, and mechanical stress, I can easily envision it being used to seal off breaches in Faraday shields in both production and field repair situations. It might also be useful while designing and troubleshooting circuits to fix broken PCB traces or to 'draw' in new trial interconnections. Not long ago there was an article in the ARRL's QST magazine where a Ham used a standard spray can of metallic paint to create an ad hoc antenna during a DX contest. Maybe an Electric Paint pen in your bug-out kit might be a good addition just in case all else fails during an emergency.
Bare Conductive is a British company that sells direct or through distributors, including Amazon.com.
Posted , 2014