empowering creative people

Getting Started with Circuit Scribe

What a glorious time we live in, where, as technology continues to evolve, so too does the ability to learn more about it and get hands on with concepts that would otherwise be out of reach, especially for young minds. Today, we’re going to take a look at Circuit Scribe which is designed to make electronics fun, and teach people how to create the own circuits and create inventions using nothing more than magnetic pieces and conductive ink. Best of all, there’s no soldering or wires to worry about; you get to draw your circuits on paper!

Circuit Scribe logo-1

Circuit Scribe is mostly aimed at children and students, young learners who are more easily engaged with crafts and hands-on activities which is the whole drive behind Circuit Scribe kits. It takes advantage of this target market with non-toxic pens filled with conductive ink to connect the components together, and everything is designed to be child-friendly. The pieces are big enough to be difficult to swallow, there’s no risk of electric shock due to the low current and voltages used, and the coin cell battery holders securely hold the battery in place to avoid any choking hazards.

How Does it Work?

The whole basis for Circuit Scribe is the ability to create circuits using individual components without any hazardous or technical skills such as soldering or breadboarding. Each kit comes with a metal plate which you put behind your paper to allow the magnetic bits to stay in place, and then you draw your circuit and connect the pieces using the conductive ink pen. The kits contain a series of example circuits which have the layout on the paper and you simply draw the wires and attach your pieces, however, once you’ve mastered that, you can begin to create your own circuits.

Here was my first circuit that I made (and yes it is drawn on a post-it note):

First circuit with Circuit Scribe drawingCircuit Scribe first circuit LED fader

The kits contain a template cut out which has the spacing and footprint for all the different types of bits which allows you to position your pieces as you like, and then just connect them up using the pen.

Tips and Tricks

Circuit Scribe is great for students, parents, and educators because of how easy it is to use. That said, when we were using it and testing the various kits out, we noticed a few common things that people might overlook or miss when using Circuit Scribe for the first time:

  • Make sure that you've orientated the power module the right way (match the '+' and '-' symbols). If not, your circuit will not work, and it could damage one or more modules.
    Power module correct orientationPower module incorrect orientation

  • Check that your circuit has thick lines without any gaps or breaks in it as you circuit will not work unless a complete path has been formed for electricity to flow.
    Conductor line correct thicknessConductor lines incorrect thickness

  • Whether you're using a tutorial layout, or your own circuit using the template, be sure to completely fill in the pad area as the contacts on the modules need to make firm contact.
    Pad correct fillPad incorrect fill

  • Don't draw across the pads of a module as it will short out the module, potentially damaging it.
    Drawing pads correctDrawing pads correct

Circuit Scribe Kits

We’ve got a number of different circuit scribe kits available, depending on how much you want to do with them.

  • Mini Kit - This kit is perfect for testing the waters with Circuit Scribe and getting hands on with it for the first time
  • Basic Kit - If you're looking for a few more bits and pieces than the Mini Kit, then this is the kit for you.
  • Maker Kit - For those that want to take their inventions further and create more complex circuits, the Maker Kit is for you.
  • Ultimate Kit -  The Ultimate Kit is a complete collection of Circuit Scribe and is sure to get any imagination fired up.

If you're an educator looking to get started with Circuit Scribe, then be sure to check out our Circuit Scribe in the Classroom tutorial.

Where to Now?

Once you’ve gotten hands on with Circuit Scribe, you’ll no doubt want to take your experience further, whether that’s with a different kit, or a different platform to explore your creativity. If you loved Circuit Scribe, we think you’ll also love littleBits and Makey Makey.

What a glorious time we live in, where, as technology continues to evolve, so too does the ability to learn more about it and...