Electronics > RF, Microwave, Ham Radio

ceramic pcb vid

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so alot of people here might benefit from this process

happy to see a video about it

I wish there was an easy way to use the laser to sinter the conductive pattern on it too. Something like Cermark but conductive.

Metallize the whole face of the ceramic PCB blank, spray with paint or lacquer as an etch resist, then laser off the resist where you don't want tracks, using the same thermal protection waterbath as is used for cutting the ceramic, and etch conventionally.   

See https://hackaday.com/2017/08/22/laser-etching-pcbs/ for how its done with copper clad FR4.

Metalizing the PCB can be done a number of ways. If you've got a decent vacuum chamber, sputtering is one possibility, or you can chemically silver it.  Once you've got a somewhat conductive film, it can be built up to the desired thickness by electroplating.

Another option if the binder in your silver ink is insoluble in water would be to coat the whole ceramic blank with the ink, let it dry, then laser it off where you don't want it, as it wont sinter in the laser beam in the water bath.  This could probably be done as the first stage of the cutting process.   You'll still need to fire it after cutting to sinter the remaining ink.

I'm wondering if there's something that's like 80% less steps. Probably not. I don't really need this, I just like the DIY aspect of the ceramic processing and it moves my imagination.

I was thinking of something like coat the substrate with some sort of temporary mask. Laser the shape and the pattern as well. Then maybe do electroless copper then tin plating. (This would also coat vias cut into the ceramic base.) Finally remove the mask with IPA or something.
E.g.: https://caswellplating.com/electroplating-anodizing/copper-plating-kits/electroless-copper-plating-kits.html
It says it can do 0.2mils which might be enough for certain uses.

I think the whole process is problematic - cheap laser cutters are not designed to be condensation resistant, so if its been used for other materials which typically leave a film of pyrolyzed residue on all surfaces, you can expect a lot of corrosion problems.  If you don't want it to become a maintenance nightmare, you'll probably need a dedicated machine with some sort of dry air purge system to rapidly remove condensation between runs.


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