How to Trim a FlexiForce Sensor
One of the more common FAQs we receive here at Tekscan concern whether it's possible to trim a FlexiForce™ sensor. The simple answer is yes – FlexiForce sensors are printable circuits that should maintain their sensing capabilities when trimmed. This is especially useful for design engineers developing a proof-of-concept product prototype before investing in a customized sensor solution.
There Are Two Ways to Trim a FlexiForce™ Sensor:
- Trimming the active sensing area
- Trimming the sensor traces
However, please keep in mind that trimming the FlexiForce sensors in any way can result in lower durability, potential for shorting, and less sensitivity. Therefore, there are certain guidelines we recommend following before making modifications or alterations to your FlexiForce sensor.
* Please note that Tekscan cannot warranty sensors that have been physically altered.
Trimming the Active Sensing Area
Recommendation 1: Use a Sharp Razor Blade
Using a sharp razor blade will help lessen the stress and/or deformation of the sensor that can occur when cutting.
Recommendation 2: Apply Tape to Protect Trimmed Area
When the sensing area is trimmed, the interior of the sensing area is exposed. Therefore, applying tape on both sides of the sensor to cover the trimmed areas will create a seal to keep out dirt, debris, and moisture. This can also help limit any movement that can occur within the sensing area.
You may trim around the tape edge, but be sure to leave enough tape to make a secure seal.
Recommendation 3: If Punching a Hole, First Secure the Sensing Area
If you wish to punch a hole in the sensor using a hole-punch or a similar tool, we recommend creating a slightly larger hole than needed. Then, apply tape to both sides of the sensor, and punch your desired sized hole within the taped area. This will create a ring of tape around the hole you’ve just created and help keep the sensor sealed.
Trimming the Sensor Traces
This is a common need for A201 standard sensors that have longer traces. If you choose to trim the sensor traces, you can purchase staked pin connectors (3 male pins per sensor spaced at 2.54 mm (0.1”)) and a crimping tool, or you can use a conductive epoxy to adhere small wires to each conductor.
As always, our team of engineering experts is standing by to assist in any modification of a FlexiForce sensor. Contact us today!
Any further questions? Let us know in the comments below.