TRAX: The Low-cost Circuit Printer

Princeton University Undergraduate Thesis

Seeing the disruptive effect 3D printing had in democratizing hardware, I began my Princeton undergraduate thesis design project with self-imposed constraints: design an accessible educational tool for learning circuits that could be built for under $300. I combined open-source hardware and software with new conductive ink technology to develop a minimalist circuit printer with which beginners could learn circuit prototyping. TRAX the low-cost circuit printer was a model for how to open the traditionally high-barrier field of electronics to future creators that will shape hardware innovation. I was granted the Bradley Dickinson Award for System Design by my department for outstanding complex electronic systems design and implementation. Through creating TRAX, I realized my passion for empowering people with technical solutions by exploring new possibilities with limited resources.

Prototyping using Piccolo Open Source CNC Machine Design

Chassis CAD Model — Creo

Custom Electronics Design using Arduino UNO

User Interface

Using open source software G-code wrapper for Inkscape, a free vector drawing program


Much of the chassis was made out of laser cut acrylic to keep the cost down

Finished Product

Conductive ink is dispensed to form the circuit traces (or "tracks"), and then components are manually installed using conductive ink