How to NOT to use nitinol for smocking

If you’re like me, the idea of using nitinol to make an electronic smocking sample is really very exciting. The idea is pretty basic.

Step 1: choose a small piece of fabric (the one used here is 30cm x 30 cm):

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… and draw a grid on it (the one here is 2cm x 2 cm):

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Then find a smocking pattern, like this one:

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Here, <——> indicates points that are supposed to be joined together, and ………….. indicates fixed points where the thread is intended to be fixed and slack.

Then, sew your nitinol to the fabric along the line indicated using a simple needle and thread, being sure to make a knot in your nitinol so as to fix it to the fabric when the wire begins to shrink:

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Use conductive thread anywhere “………….” is indicated, as it won’t change when the power supply is added, and use nitinol anywhere “<——————> is indicated, as we want those parts to shrink.

Sew according to the pattern, and then attach each end of the nitinol to a power supply on the lowest setting possible. Watch as the heat causes the thread holding the nitinol to melt, snap, and also destroy your fabric:

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Maybe next time use some thread that doesn’t melt to hold your nitinol to the fabric. Also maybe use a fabric that is heat resistant.

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