Anti-static pads or mats are the ones kept under the keyboards, mouses, or other electronic devices to get rid of extra static build-up in them. They are also used by people to stand on them and remove the static build-up in their bodies. The static is then either grounded or removed by some other means.
If these pads are not installed, they can cause your systems to short. By reducing the electrostatic charges or by completely removing them, these pads can save your sensitive components from almost or completely being destroyed.
The pads are typically made out of insulators such as rubbers, plastic-derived material along with conductive layers that lead to a grounding plane.
These pads or mats can be pretty expensive if bought directly from the market. While this is a necessary piece of equipment, it still needs to be bought or made properly. The different steps involved in making an antistatic pad are not difficult.
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The antistatic pad that we are going to construct today will use a wrist strap that will provide a complete circuit from the skin, it will then move through the mat and will lead to a chosen grounding plane. This setup will help have a more stable and consistent rate of discharge of electronic static all day long, be it from electronic devices or from your body. 1 megaohm resistor is a must in these mats to prevent any kind of shock from the grounding plane while it is reaching the operator.
Why Do We Need The Anti-static Pads?
Our main goal in this is to produce a surface that will resist the electronic charges and also provide a line to ground the prong and not allow enough voltage to reach the operator. While it all sounds pretty complicated, it is an easy process. All that you have to do is get about a 10 feet long mat, get other required equipment, glue it together, and that would be about it.
What Are The Tools Required to Make Anti Static Pad?
There are different tools that are required for this project. Most of these can be found at your home and you won’t have to spend any money on them.
- A metal or a straight edge ruler
- A lighter or a heat gun
- Soldering iron
- A hole punch or an awl
- 7/16 long socket
- Heat shrink tubing
- 3/16 drill punch or bit
- A hobby knife
Along with the tools, there are multiple materials that are needed as well. It includes:
- An Aluminum foil that will act as a conductive layer.
- An old yoga mat that will act as an electrically resistive layer.
- A glue or an adhesive that will be used to hold all the parts together. But it will be structured in a way to make sure that the mat is still flexible enough.
- A wire long enough to supply the power from where you will be using the mat. Make sure that the wire that you are using is not larger than 10 gauge and a minimum of 22 gauge as well as multi-stranded. The largest gain of resistance will be gained by using the smallest diameter of wire. There is a chance for some heat overload in this but it won’t be an issue later on.
- An anti-static wrist strap that can be purchased at your local store or can be ordered online. The ones that you will buy online might be of a higher quality but if you are looking to opt for something cheap, then your local store should be your go to.
- The male end of an extension cord.
- A screw or a bolt along with a steel nut and make sure that it has proper conductive properties.
Preparing For The Antistatic Mat:
The very first step to preparing your antistatic map is cutting the resistive material into two equal shapes and two equal parts. After that, cut the conductive material to match the dimensions of the resistive material as well. Also cut a small piece of the foil of about 2” * 4”.
After that, clean the resistive material on both sides and both sheets of it. Spread out the strands of your grounding wire after removing the plastic sheath from it. Bond the grounding wire to the male plug with solder and remove the positive and negative parts of the wire that could have been exposed to you, the metal or even to air.
After this, locate the placement of your bolt and make a hole in the top layer of your resistive and conductive sheets. Make sure to include the small piece of foil that we cut previously. Then fold the little piece of foil on and under your conductive layer where you are making the hole. Make sure that you do not puncture a hole in the bottom resistive layer.
Once you have prepared the material, preparing the pad itself will become easier.
Constructing The Antistatic Mat:
Get the upper resistive layer and place it in a manner that the part to be glued is facing upward. Apply the adhesive on it. You can use a painting brush to apply the adhesive and make it even on the whole surface. Locate the conductive layer and the reinforcement layer of the conductive layer on each other and lay them on top of your upper resistive layer. Let the surfaces dry enough to make it easy to handle them.
After that, place the ground wire in or on your pre-made hole. Get the male snap assembly base and put it in the hole to hold the grounding wire in place. Place male snap assembly top on the stud of male snap assembly base. Lay the bottom resistive layer with the part to be glued facing up. Make sure to spread the glue out evenly using a brush. Get the assembled upper layers and place them on top of it.
Apply some weight on it to make sure everything sticks together properly and evenly. You can then cut your mat to the size that you want. After this, attach your wrist strap to it. Place the mat anywhere you want now and enjoy.
Making this mat isn’t hard, but you need to follow all the steps to make sure you won’t be facing any problems in the future. You can also use an Ohm meter to make sure that it is giving out appropriate reading. Grab your tools and get working now.