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Printing PCB with 3D printer

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--- Quote from: Slartibartfast on December 14, 2021, 04:43:24 pm ---Do you really need this large size?
The same Amazon offer has the much more standard 6"x4" at $15, which is ridiculously expensive. Here in Germany a local supplier ( has equivalent ones for less than a fifth of that price (2.50€).

Cheers  Peter

--- End quote ---

The smaller size, the better, then it doesn't need to be cut down. $2.50 is quite reasonable.

I've tried this method before, and here's what I've run into in terms of problems:

1.) UV sensitive masks
As stated earlier in this thread, pre-cut boards can be/are expensive. And applying UV sensitive dry film can be a huge pain. And even if you get the film on, tiny air bubbles/ dust particles can really ruin your day. Also, you still have to dissolve the unexposed film away with harsh chemicals, most use sodium carbonate (lye), so you'll have to deal with that as well.

2.) Thru Holes
It's still a pain to do thru holes, just like more traditional exposure methods. Plating involves, you guessed it, more chemicals, and other methods limit what sizes of hole you can use (typically closer to the too big to do anything with)

3.) Focusing
If your board isn't perfectly aligned with your build surface/ UV exposure area, you get fuzzy edges on your exposure, which translates to uneven/ unpredictable copper deposition, which limits your minimum trace widths.

There's more, but those were the big three. What I've found is that, in practice, this method is just a *different* way of making a PCB, not really a faster way.   :-\

Speaking as one who has made PCBs at home for over 40 years (I can show you some 2X masters made with adhesive patterns and black tape), I think you would be better off using a B&W laser printer. You reverse print the pattern on transfer paper and iron it onto the copper clad board. You use the etchant, steel wool the toner off, drop it in a tin plating bath for a couple of minutes and you are done.

As for two sided and plated holes, you can do the second side after drilling some or all the holes. Putting it on a light table allows you to align the holes with the pattern on the transfer paper. And there are eyelets that can be staked in the holes instead of plating them. But it will not be anywhere near as good as a professionally made board.

But frankly, with the prices available today, my next project, which I am already working on, will be with professionally made boards. You can pay extra to get rush shipping.

In a correlated question:

Does anyone here have experience with the VOLTERA V-ONE PCB printer?


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