When cutting the brass rod, wear eye protection and control both parts that will result from the cut.
When soldering the brass rod, all parts of the brass rod can be heated enough to burn. As always when soldering, exercise caution and do not handle any part that could be hot.

Mark the brass rod for cutting at 5", 10", and 11". (approximately 125mm, 250mm, 280mm)

Make the cuts at 5" and 10", giving two 5" segments.

Gently bend one end of the wire around a handy cylinder of about 1.5" diameter, like this glass spray bottle. Create a bend of about 270 degrees.

Repeat with the second piece, then gently modify the two curves until you can lay them next to each other and get a symmetrical heart shape.

There are lots of other ways to form the rod for your sculptures. You can apply sharp bends using pliers, use 3D printed or wood jigs to create complicated curves, etc.

Using your soldering iron, flow solder onto the spots where the rods need to be joined. The technique that works best for you will vary, but here the soldering was performed directly on a silicone soldering mat.

You can use painter's tape to position & hold the rods. Many people find that a Third Hand soldering assistant is also helpful for tasks like this.

Above all, give some time and patience to become comfortable with the techniques and find one that works for you!

Next, cut the remaining 2" piece in half, giving two 1" pieces. Place the GEMMA M0 in the center of the heart, then arrange the short rod pieces so that they touch the heart and reach the "D0" and "D1" pads on the GEMMA. Make everything symmetrical, then solder.

This photo shows the rods on the front of the GEMMA, but flipping the GEMMA over and soldering the rods to the back side of the pads gives a more pleasing result.

If the rods are slightly too long, place the excess on the GEMMA side and carefully trim the excess after soldering. Remember to hold the trimmed end in place so that it doesn't go flying when you cut!

If any of the solder joints are big and blobby, use sand paper to remove the excess material. If an excess of sticky and gummy soldering resin residue remains, remove it with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.

Put the batteries in the battery case, plug it in, and make sure that the GEMMA M0 powers up and runs the touch reactive program. If it doesn't light, first check both power switches (on the GEMMA itself, and on the battery pack) are turned ON. If it still doesn't turn on, double-check that the batteries are correctly installed. There are small "+" and "-" marks on the inside of the battery case.

To keep most of the battery cable out of the way, you can hot glue it to the back of the battery case.

Next, use a piece of double-sided foam-core sticky tape to fix the battery pack to the GEMMA M0.

Assembly complete! Just turn the device on at the battery pack when you want light, and off when you don't. If your hand is touching the wire when you turn it on, the touch sensor may not work properly. Simply press the reset button briefly while not touching the wire to reset and recalibrate the touch sensor.

What's next?

With these basic techniques you can design and build your own Circuit Sculptures. These sculptures can include other circuit elements like LEDs (plain, NeoPixel or DotStar), speakers/buzzers, or really anything that you could connect with wires. For more complex designs, advanced planning and measuring are key to getting the result you're looking for. What will you create?

This guide was first published on Mar 12, 2021. It was last updated on May 23, 2024.

This page (Assembly) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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