[Cyborg] [hacklab-discussion] PCB Printer.

Eric Boyd mrericboyd at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 14 16:18:52 UTC 2013

Huh, this is really interesting, but I also feel like it's super over 
priced.  $1499 for a KIT which is basically a cupcake-style gantry and 
an inkjet printer head?

It doesn't drill holes, so not only would circuit boards have to be 
one-sided, you're basically forced into all surface mount designs. They 
actually show some through-hole designs, but it's not at all clear how 
those could actually be made with their tool... you must have to drill 
using a different tool, or use a material like kapton where you can just 
push the pins through?

Finally, as you might expect, the resolution isn't that great.  They 
claim they have it working reliably down to 600 DPI, sufficient for SOIC 
components (1.27mm pin spacing): in my world that's 25mil traces, larger 
than I've ever used.  This also explains why they DON'T show a surface 
mount arduino (with TQFP package), because that's smaller pitch than 
they can achieve...

I've also done some experiments with conductive ink & paint on fabric, 
and the biggest problem occurs a few days after printing, when the 
ink/paint gets dry, and starts to crack when the fabric flexes.  The 
cracking causes breaks in the circuit, so it stops working.  I wonder if 
their ink has this problem as well?

I'd still love to play around with one though - I think there are lots 
of applications in wearables, like Adam says.  That bracelet they show 
is very very cool.


On 11/14/13 12:57 AM, Adam Evenden wrote:
> Just noticed this inkjet based pcb printer on hackaday, and then took a closer look at the Kickstarter for more information. It looks quite interesting, does anyone see any issues with it or see a greater potential to it then expressed?
> I think there is lots of unforseen potential in the fact it can print on fabric creating flexible circuits.
> The wearable's community may have a field day with this printer... But I do not know how the ink will do over time, react to being washed, or human sweat.
> http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cartesianco/the-ex1-rapid-3d-printing-of-circuit-boards
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