If you work with electronics, you have probably at some point come across chips that have gone bad. The usual strategies to deal with these include (1) writing “DEAD?” on them in large letters (2) throwing them out, and (3) hiding the evidence. I once heard about a lab student who, whenever he came across a dead chip in his circuit, would dutifully file it back in the drawer with the new chips of that variety– just in case it turned out to be good after all.
Materials needed for this project: Some dead chips (or at least ones that you are willing to sacrifice in the name of silly art projects).
Tools: Optional. Fingers work just fine, but you might find small pointy pliers helpful too. =)
Grab a DIP (dual inline package) chip. The one shown here is a DIP-14 (it was a quad op-amp), which has seven pins on each side. Take the two pins on one end and bend them straight up and forwards. Bend the rest out, and then down.
Of course, it can get lonely without some company.
To do this easily without any tools, bend a leg back and forth, close to the body of the chip. After a few bends, the metal will fatigue and the leg will fall off.
It’s a neat effect with three legs on each side– it looks a like a creature that is about to hop away.
This variation with a wide-body DIP chip looks particularly good. To make this one, bend all of the leads (except antennae) straight out horizontally before bending the thin parts of the leg downwards.
You can use a variety of other packages as well– most simple surface mount packages will work if they have visible leads. Things can start to get pretty tiny, so proceed with caution.
At the other end of the spectrum are the real monster DIP chips, like this old ceramic beast. These are great because they alreadylooked like insects– you don’t have to work very hard for it to keep it looking that way. We’ve actually used a slightly different technique on the legs here. We started out with the chip upside down, i.e., with the feet up. We bent the leads out at about 45 degrees, and then bent the outermost parts of the legs down by 90 degrees.
The final detail, if you really want to go for creepy, is to arrange the legs in a wave-like pattern so that the creature does indeed appear to be creeping.
You are, of course, not limited to the types of chips that we’ve shown. Here is something completely different: A golden bug made out of a square surface-mount package with “J-leads”. It has six legs bent out to touch the ground plus two curled up antennae in front.
So, you too can start your own collection of chip bugs. It’s cheap and easy– collect them all!