Author Topic: Printing PCB with 3D printer  (Read 3383 times)

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Offline richnormand

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Printing PCB with 3D printer
« on: November 22, 2021, 05:27:03 pm »
Saw this on the Prusa 3D forum.
Looks like pretty usable results and I thought it could be of interest to people here :)



https://forum.prusaprinters.org/forum/original-prusa-sl1-user-mods-octoprint/making-pcbs-on-sl1s/

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Offline dunkemhigh

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Re: Printing PCB with 3D printer
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2021, 06:17:10 pm »
That could lead to some possibilities, not least spending more money!

OTOH, it's still a wet process with horrible chemicals. But if you've got that printer you're halfway there anyway. Hmmm.
 

Online ataradov

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Re: Printing PCB with 3D printer
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2021, 07:21:56 pm »
But this still runs into the same issues as any other home method - double sided alignment is not trivial, plated though holes are not possible without very dangerous chemicals. Solder mask is also questionable.

And given how cheap professionally made PCBs are, it is not clear if inventing new ways to make things at home makes a lot of sense.
Alex
 
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Offline dunkemhigh

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Re: Printing PCB with 3D printer
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2021, 07:55:53 pm »
Homers have their place. At least until JLCPCB can take an order at 10pm Saturday night and deliver the board before Sunday.
 

Online ataradov

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Re: Printing PCB with 3D printer
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2021, 08:02:24 pm »
For sure, but this clearly differentiates the designs. You are either designing for home manufacturing, or for professional manufacturing. There is no way you design a board for PCB house and then realize you need it tomorrow, so you just make it at home. This does not happen unless your PCB is very simple to begin with.
Alex
 

Offline dunkemhigh

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Re: Printing PCB with 3D printer
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2021, 10:22:35 pm »
Quote
There is no way you design a board for PCB house and then realize you need it tomorrow

Of course not. And they tend to be reasonably simple designs. But not every design needs to be complicated layout-wise. Maybe you just need a USB-JTAG dongle, PSU, LCD adapter, whatever. It's more than likely going to be a one-off but wants to be more robust than wires poked in a solderless prototype board and neater than a veroboard mess.
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: Printing PCB with 3D printer
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2021, 09:26:25 pm »
Impressive.
If it came along with pre-cut presensitized UV boards, all you'd have to do is wash and etch. But I think those premade boards are not cheap to start with.
https://www.amazon.ca/MG-Chemicals-Positive-Presensitized-1-Ounce/dp/B008OAFQ8E?th=1
 

Offline dunkemhigh

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Re: Printing PCB with 3D printer
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2021, 12:00:13 am »
If you've got one of those printers you're used to steep materials cost :)

You are paying for convenience and coating plain boards yourself might be a bit cheaper. Probably not by a lot, though.
 

Offline sleemanj

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Re: Printing PCB with 3D printer
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2021, 01:39:22 am »
That's some very nice results.

Now if somebody could make a bare minimium exposer based on whatever screen and UV emitter that printer is using, without all the 3d printing gubbins, that'd be grand.

The place for DIY PCBs still exists, sometimes you just want a quick one-off, or to proof of concept prototype an idea to make sure it's going to work.  I HATE breadboards, if I want to try an idea, I prefer to make a PCB.
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Offline Slartibartfast

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Re: Printing PCB with 3D printer
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2021, 04:43:24 pm »
Impressive.
If it came along with pre-cut presensitized UV boards, all you'd have to do is wash and etch. But I think those premade boards are not cheap to start with.
https://www.amazon.ca/MG-Chemicals-Positive-Presensitized-1-Ounce/dp/B008OAFQ8E?th=1

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 (reichelt.de) has equivalent ones for less than a fifth of that price (2.50€).

Cheers  Peter
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: Printing PCB with 3D printer
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2021, 10:53:22 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 (reichelt.de) has equivalent ones for less than a fifth of that price (2.50€).

Cheers  Peter

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

Online tyguy2

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Re: Printing PCB with 3D printer
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2021, 04:26:29 am »
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.   :-\
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Offline EPAIII

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Re: Printing PCB with 3D printer
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2021, 08:22:21 am »
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.
 

Offline dl6lr

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Re: Printing PCB with 3D printer
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2021, 10:50:22 am »
In a correlated question:

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


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