31
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Have you ever looked at a PCB and burst out laughing?

Have you ever looked at a PCB and said "Wow, that is amazing"?

Have you ever seen a PCB that artistically expressed criticism of society's treatment of the poor?

I'm focusing here on the PCB itself as art -- rather than, say, some large artistic installation that may have light, sound, motion activated by some PCB.

(I hope a question focusing on artistic style rather than functionality isn't completely off-topic for chiphacker. I was inspired to post this question after seeing the amazing artwork that endolith mentioned in the Chiphacker "Best licenses for Open Hardware" question ... and seeing The Best CD case insert... ever. )

EDIT: Wow, that's a lot of amazing artwork. I wish I could give everyone a prize for telling me about each piece of strange and wonderful artwork.

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11 Answers 11

12
votes
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Theo Kamecke's sculptures are made of recycled circuit boards. The boards are definitely not functionnal anymore but the result is amazing: alt text

More pictures can be seen in the Wired article.

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10
votes
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Topological Autorouting, because it just looks weird.

http://anthonix.resnet.scms.waikato.ac.nz/toporouter/

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7
votes
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I'm partial to the look of EMS's Diavolino PCB; the board color, unusual traces, and goofy silkscreen make it look fantastic.

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6
votes
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From here

alt text alt text

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4
votes
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I'm not sure if it qualifies as art, but FR-4 makes a good, strong building material that can be cut, drilled, plated, and colored (silk and soldermask = 2 colors), and some people use it as such. For example, the eggbot:

alt text

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ FR-4 is just a variant of G10 fiberglass with additional specifications. G10 is used all over the place. \$\endgroup\$ – Mike DeSimone Jul 21 '11 at 19:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mike - Interesting! Wikipedia says: Grade designations for glass epoxy laminates are: G10, G11, FR4 and FR5. G-10, the predecessor to FR-4, lacks FR-4's self-extinguishing flammability characteristics. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Jul 22 '11 at 0:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ That sounds about right. If I wanted to be exact, I'd look up the IPC specs. IIRC, G10 is IPC-4101/24 and FR-4 is IPC-4101/25. (IPC-4101 is the rigid PCB substrate material standard, IPC-4102 is for flexible substrates like DuPont PyraLux.) Anyway, I remember G10 because the MEs use it all over the place. It's their generic fiberglass, much like FR-4 is ours. (370HR is the stuff I usually use at work. Lower dielectric constant, better for matched impedance stuff, about as cheap as FR-4, and a lot of vendors have it.) \$\endgroup\$ – Mike DeSimone Jul 22 '11 at 4:28
3
votes
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My former brother in law made this turtle:

turtle made from PCBs

You can see similar works here:
http://www.pcbcreations.com/work.html

I just gave him a bunch of TiVos, wireless routers and cell phones. Can't wait to see what he creates next!

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3
votes
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I like chip art. Some examples are shown in this Spectrum.ieee.org article and this Wikipedia article has others.

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3
votes
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The beautiful Nixie tube clock, designed by Yan Zeyuan.

Nixie tube clock 1 Nixie tube clock 2

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2
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Cool question Davidcary,

I often have a good chuckle when I'm looking at a circuit board, especially if there's something amazing, ridiculous or strange on it. I have to admit to sniggering at a ground plane my friend pointed out only last week - it was, of course, the obligatory and somewhat crude icon - an outline of the male reproductive organ, like the kind seen sprayed on public transport the world over.

Anyhoo, I'm responding because my girlfriend likes making PCB art and I thought I'd share a pic

I once did a grey-scale print of an angler fish with a rainbow LED for the lure, it was an experiment to see what the different thicknesses of copper would look like - it kinda worked out but it wasn't that consistent...may have to make another angler fish tho, I'm not finished with that idea yet.

EDIT: I forgot to mention my old uni lecturer John, he makes these fantastic musical instruments with a kind of, day of the dead theme.

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0
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Long time ago, I've seen a photograph of a digital clock with no board at all. All resistors, capacitors, transistors, LED displays were soldered in a nice sculpture artwork.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Reminds me of a radio project in Popular Electronics from way, way back... 1960s? All built with components soldered point to point hanging on stiff wires for power, no PCB or terminal strips or anything. It was pretty cool. \$\endgroup\$ – DarenW Oct 16 '10 at 0:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I've seen some very pretty bits of wire-art sculpture, that also blink an LED or do something else interesting. \$\endgroup\$ – davidcary Apr 5 '11 at 16:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting. Could you start a new question something like "What is the most amazing electronic device you've ever seen with no board at all? No PCB, no solderless breadboard, etc."? \$\endgroup\$ – davidcary Apr 5 '11 at 16:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ You must be thinking of the cover of Jim Williams' The Art and Science of Analog Circuit Design. \$\endgroup\$ – Bernd Jendrissek Apr 29 '12 at 21:04

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