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We will explain here how to solder components to a fabric perfboard.  You will need:

- textile perfboard
- components (non SMD)
- soldering iron with fine tip
- flux
- pliers
- wire cutter (or nail trimmer)
- toothpicks or another point object

You can use this method to solder components like resistors, capacitors, LED's, Integrated Circuits,  etc.  

We'll show now to solder a resistor. The resistor has two straight terminals as shown in the following picture:


Start by bending both terminals 90° as indicated below:

terminal bending

In order to obtain this:

bent terminals

Bend again both terminals at 90° as shown in the picture:

second bending
In order to obtain this:

finished resistor

Cut both terminals so that their tip is about  8 mm (0.31") long

cutting terminals

Now place the resistor over the textile perfboard with terminals parallel to the metal stripes and adjust the distance between the terminals so that they are over the metal stripes of the fabric.

insert resistor in fabric

Then gently insert both terminals at the same time inside the fabric, parallel to the metal stripes. When doing this you must be careful that terminals remain inside the fabric without coming out on the back of fabric. To obtain this instert terminals parallel to fabric. See following pictures and explainations.

 This is how it should look after insertion:



Please note that terminals have knitted wire over them.  Same for the back side of fabric:

inserted resistor, back side

inserted terminal, back side

Note that also on the back side terminals are contained inside fabric. Now you can start soldering. Before soldering use a toothpick to place some flux over the terminals.

put flux on terminals

Then use your soldering iron to solder. Be careful not to exceed 300 °C (572 °F).

soldering resistor

After you finish soldering the top side of fabric turn it upside down and solder on the other side, too for best mechanical resistance.

soldering resistor reverse side

Complete the same steps for the second terminal to complete the procedure.

If you want to sew IC's first you need to check that their legs have a 2.54 mm (0.1") pitch. As an example we will use a 555 timer that has 8 terminals:


proceed by carefully bending 90° with your pliers all terminals on one side at the same time

bending IC's terminals

Repeat the same operation for the other side and you should obtain something similar to this:

IC with bent terminals

Holding the IC with your fingers carefully insert one side in the fabric, taking care that terminal tips remain inside the fabric. Terminal tips must be parallel to metal stripes.

Inserting IC in the fabric

Gently pull the fabric and insert the other side, so that, when you release the fabric, the IC is firmly blocked.

IC in fabric

Now you can proceed to place some flux over each terminal using a toothpick

flux over IC terminals

and to solder using a fine tip. Be careful to avoid solder bridges across terminals.

soldering IC

Repeat the same for the reverse of fabric

soldering IC on reverse side of fabric

Once you have soldered all terminals you should cut out the fabric in between the IC terminals because if not they will be shorted.  If you have any kind of 'Spray Seam' or hairspray apply to the area, so that fabric doesn't fray. Proceed as shown here. With sharp point scissors cut a square/rectangular opening being carefull to completely remove all stripes that connect terminals:

cutting fabric between terminals

In order to obtain this:

fabric between terminals removed

It is good to check with a tester that there unwanted connections between stripes and across terminals.

This way it is possbile to make pretty complicated circuits like this ones one:

astable soldered circuit

This is an astable circuit based on a 555 timer. Time for soldering it is approximately 35 to 45 minutes, depending on your soldering capability.

The schematic is shown here:

astable circuit schematic






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