[XYZ] Conductive Tattoo Machine

Conductive Ink Test

  1. Circuitscribe Pen


CircuitScribe conductive pen with LED Chips (3v 2A power supply)


  • possible to draw detail parts
  • looking good
  • Easy to wash
  • dry fast & touchable after drawing few seconds


  • high resistance
  • weak for skin surfaces -> not conductive
  • difficult to draw on the skin (not well apply the ink)
  • *** Not working after using for a while -> In their website, it is possible to stick the big silver particles in the ball of the pen. we bought 2 pens, both were not working.

2. Bare Conductive ink



  • quite well resistance (depend on how much water added)
  • skin safety
  • easy to get
  • Dry speed is not bad
  • sticky itself


  • messy
  • difficult to draw with a brush -> not detail drawing
  • after drying, cracking

3v Coin battery + led = dimmed Led light (but turned on)

So we decided to work with bare conductive ink and a Stencil solution.

Conductive ink Concentration Test 

  • High Concentration + lots of ink -> Thick, grainy texture 



  1. Stencil table

we made two holes using a CNC machine for left and right hands. One person can have two stencil marks or also two people can have it at the same time.



2. Brush Holder

At first, I made the pen holder with springs for safety and drawing on curved hand surfaces. But for stencil solution, spring tension made worse results.

2. Stencil Carriage

There was not enough height between a table and carriage, I used 2mm acrylic layered pieces.

I used flexible and thin plastic. (laser cutting possible – Canal plastic)

Circuit for Conductive Tattoo

And I made a 3v Coin bracelet with velcro and copper tape.

I tried to make a simple circuit with conductive tattoo even though to turn on a small led! But I realized there was too high resistance to connect a battery and led. Also cracking was critical to damaged circuit.

So I used the conductive tattoo as a capacitive sensor with Arduino. I referred the Bare conductive blog.

Building a Capacitive Proximity Sensor using Electric Paint

Arduino CapacitiveSensor Library 

When the wire touched the conductive ink tattoo, Arduino can detect the conductivity.

  • 20K OHM x 1
  • Arduino
  • A LED or a Buzzer

*Between D4 and D2 pins, there is a 20k ohm resistor.

*D4 pin will touch the conductive ink tattoo.

*D13 for output (depends on any output pins)

(I missed a video for this, I will upload later.)


Sejo built a so cool and handy program for interfacing with the X carve part for our project.

Interfacing with the X-Carve Part – 1

Interfacing with the X-Carve Part – 2

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