2

Author Topic: New PCB making process?  (Read 4854 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Brandon121233Topic starter

  • Contest Winner
  • Supreme Robot
  • ****
  • Posts: 320
  • Helpful? 0
  • "Genius is %1 inspiration and %99 perspiration"
New PCB making process?
« on: June 15, 2007, 03:10:38 PM »
hey guys
I'm thinking of an alternative method of making PCB's at home. I know of the photo-development and toner transfer methods, but one thing I've never hear before is just laser printing right on to the copper. So all one would have to do is just make the image in Eagle, buy some adhesive-backed copper foil, print the image onto it, stick that to a blank silicon board, and etch it. Can anyone confirm if this would work, and if it has been tried before?
Hell, there are no rules here—we're
   trying to accomplish something.

                                                                              —Thomas Edison

Offline rgcustodio

  • Robot Overlord
  • ****
  • Posts: 217
  • Helpful? 0
  • Use "Search" and ye might find answers!
Re: New PCB making process?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2007, 03:29:00 PM »
Depends on the thickness and how flexible your "adhesive-backed copper foil" is. Paper passed through laser printers go through very very tight spaces. These spaces are lined with rubber and plastic rollers. I specifically mentioned that because at some point the paper will heat up, and using copper foil might absorb too much heat and might cause these rollers to gum up thus jamming your printer. Haven't tested this since its not part of a "normal" jam test.

Laser printers also work by negatively charging the paper before the actual toner is applied. I don't know how this will affect the copper foil. It might have an adverse effect since copper readily conducts electricity.
The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain. - H. W. Longfellow

understanding is the path to enlightenment

Offline Brandon121233Topic starter

  • Contest Winner
  • Supreme Robot
  • ****
  • Posts: 320
  • Helpful? 0
  • "Genius is %1 inspiration and %99 perspiration"
Re: New PCB making process?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2007, 10:33:57 PM »
What about inkjet or dye diffusion thermal transfer
Hell, there are no rules here—we're
   trying to accomplish something.

                                                                              —Thomas Edison

Offline rgcustodio

  • Robot Overlord
  • ****
  • Posts: 217
  • Helpful? 0
  • Use "Search" and ye might find answers!
Re: New PCB making process?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2007, 01:23:18 AM »
Lookie here:
http://www.emsnow.com/newsarchives/archivedetails.cfm?ID=6798

So it's been done before. Just don't know how affordable the system is. And most probably you won't be able to this on consumer inkjets.
The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain. - H. W. Longfellow

understanding is the path to enlightenment

Offline Steve Joblin

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 405
  • Helpful? 2
Re: New PCB making process?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2007, 06:57:16 AM »
Looks like it can be done... http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2006/08/how_to_direct_to_pcb_ink_jet_r.html

I also read something about a hobbyist who did direct printing of a conductive solution that replaced the ink cartridge in his inkjet... he started with a blank non-conductive substrate, printed his circuit, drilled, and was done (no messy etchant!).  I can't find the article though... keep looking... it is out there somewhere...

Offline Brandon121233Topic starter

  • Contest Winner
  • Supreme Robot
  • ****
  • Posts: 320
  • Helpful? 0
  • "Genius is %1 inspiration and %99 perspiration"
Re: New PCB making process?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2007, 08:03:30 AM »
Yeah, Steve Joblin thats exactly what I was thinking of, but instead of having to auctualy modify the printer, just buy adhesive backed copper foil, use ink like that then print it in your regular printer. That seems like it would be 3X as fast, easy and acurate because you eliminate the "middle man" of having to transfer the image. Thanks for the links guys, I wasn't really sure what kind of printing process to use but now I know.

I'm going to try this and if it works well, I will write a nice big tutorial on how to do it!
Hell, there are no rules here—we're
   trying to accomplish something.

                                                                              —Thomas Edison

Offline rgcustodio

  • Robot Overlord
  • ****
  • Posts: 217
  • Helpful? 0
  • Use "Search" and ye might find answers!
Re: New PCB making process?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2007, 08:30:44 AM »
Several things to consider when using inkjets/bubblejets:
1) most inkjet inks are liquid based so they might smudge on copper foil.The copper foil won't readily absorb the ink.
2) if you change ink type you will likely need to change the deliver system (those nozzles with micro holes). A change in the inks viscosity might inhibit the default nozzles from working properly.

How thick is the copper foil you are going to use? Some laser printer can accommodate paper the thickness of an mailing envelope. Printers that support envelopes fed from the back of the printer travels a different path than normal paper. It's actually a shortcut and it doesn't go through all the internal rollers. If your copper foil is within a certain thickness feeding it through the envelope feeder might work. But then again I am uncertain about the effects of copper foil inside a laser engine. So if you plan on going the laser printer path, do so with caution. Those electric shock warnings on the inside of a a laser engine is true.
The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain. - H. W. Longfellow

understanding is the path to enlightenment

Offline Steve Joblin

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 405
  • Helpful? 2
Re: New PCB making process?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2007, 11:48:02 AM »
There is even a Yahoo! group where you might find some good tips... http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Homebrew_PCBs/

Offline Dosbomber

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 33
  • Helpful? 0
Re: New PCB making process?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2007, 03:56:08 PM »
I've been thinking about trying to pass a sheet of Kapton (thin heat-resistant plastic with copper coating) through my laser printer, and see if that holds up to the etching process.

PS: Has anyone tried using Muriatic acid and Hydrogen Peroxide as an etchant?  It's all the rage on another forum I frequent.
Dosbomber

Offline Brandon121233Topic starter

  • Contest Winner
  • Supreme Robot
  • ****
  • Posts: 320
  • Helpful? 0
  • "Genius is %1 inspiration and %99 perspiration"
Re: New PCB making process?
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2007, 10:38:40 AM »
My personal opinion is that there needs to be a totally new and easier way of PCB making for the home user, and whoever finds and markets a better way to do that is going to be really rich
Hell, there are no rules here—we're
   trying to accomplish something.

                                                                              —Thomas Edison

 


Get Your Ad Here