Blog of the week – conductive thread

What is conductive thread? this blog discusses what it is and how it can be used .

 Conductive thread can be used like ordinary thread. If you can sew a running stitch you can easily use this thread.  The main difference between the two is it electrically conducts,  this allows electronics to be integrated into your textile projects.

This specialist thread has metal incorporated into it (usually silver, nickel, tin or copper) with a core of normally cotton or polyester. As it is a thread it also allows you to sew by hand or machine and even embroider designs into textiles.

There are many different uses of the thread one of  its main use is  in a fencing jacket. The jacket is made with conductive material scoring areas which can become extremely worn with time. The jackets are expensive and fencers usually try to get them repaired by darning the worn areas. This thread can be used for this quite successfully when it is sewn into the fabric of a jacket where the conductivity of the material has been lost over time.

A great introduction to wearables is adding this thread to your gloves ready for the winter.  You will then make them smart gloves.

Smart phone gloves instructions.

Embroidered butterfly with e-textiles using Madeira conductive thread
Embroidered butterfly with e-textiles using Madeira conductive thread

Embroidered butterfly with e-textiles by Madeira

Maderia’s advice for their conductive thread:-

High conductive thread is suitable to be used as either a top thread or under thread.

It is vital that there’re are no breaks in the conductive thread, ensure the stitching does not make contact with any other stage in the circuit. Stitching should be done in parallel ensuring all positive terminals are connected to a positive and a negative terminals to negative.

Thread breaks or loosely stitched area could lead to contact failure. Strictly adhere to the wiring guidelines to ensure a successful circuit. Test the stitched circuit prior to completing the finished project.

Resistance ratings are used to calculate voltage drop over a certain distance, in basic terms means a higher resistance means a dimmer LED built, especially when multiple LED’s are used over a long distance.

The resistance rating for Maderia HC thread are as follows
HC12 – Resistance:<100/Ωm
HC40 – Resistance: <300/Ωm
Maximum number of LED’s per battery 5.

Wash item inside out, place in a laundry bag. Gentle cycle 30 degrees using a mild detergent. Do not use disinfectant, bleach or chlorine. This will damage the silver coating causing thread to loose its conductivity. Do not tumble dry or iron, not suitable for dry cleaning. Always remove the battery.

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