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'[EE] Automated PCB making machine'
2010\03\02@194013 by Vitaliy

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It's an interesting idea, although it sounds less practical than a 3D
printer due to the extra complexity. If the main selling point is instant
gratification and the user can tolerate extra cost, you could simplify the
process even further.

- You can eliminate the "spray with photo resist" step if you use
presensitized blanks. Package several of them into a "cassette" that user
can load into the machine.
- Print the design on transparent film (faster exposure).




{Original Message removed}

2010\03\02@200848 by M. Adam Davis

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On Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 7:39 PM, Vitaliy <spam_OUTpiclistTakeThisOuTspammaksimov.org> wrote:
> It's an interesting idea, although it sounds less practical than a 3D
> printer due to the extra complexity. If the main selling point is instant
> gratification and the user can tolerate extra cost, you could simplify the
> process even further.
>
> - You can eliminate the "spray with photo resist" step if you use
> presensitized blanks. Package several of them into a "cassette" that user
> can load into the machine.

But then you lose the ability to plate through holes, which could also
be eliminated, but then you're simply back to the existing hobby
process.

> - Print the design on transparent film (faster exposure).

If you don't mind adding a printer to the mix.

On the other hand, a custom built inkjet should be able to handle
direct printing of the resist, get rid of the presensitized and
develop step altogether, and perhaps add a white color for silkscreen.

If a suitable mask ink was found, one could inkjet print the
photoresist, then the mask and silkscreen.

Still have to solve the through hole plating issue though, and so far
the chemical/electro methods seem to be the best automated process

On the other hand, it shouldn't be too hard to mechanically insert
wire, crimp or bend the top side (gravity holds in place), and apply
paste to both sides prior to the oven.

In fact, I think I'd prefer that:

1. Little 4x6 double sided PCB blanks in hopper (eurocard size)
2. Print etch mask (both sides)
3. Etch
4. Drill, route
5. Clean
6. Print mask, silkscreen

7. Apply paste (Special procedure for vias, would require paste on both sides)
8. Place parts, insert wire via jumpers (crimp top side)
9. Oven

10. Test, program

11. RepRap case
12. Insert and glue into case
13. Close case

A small setup would require 7 modules or stations:
Hopper
Printer (two sides)
Etching tank
CNC
Cleaning tank/process
Paste applicator (both sides for vias)
Pick and place (capable of placing wires in vias, and
crimping/bending/clipping top side)
Oven

Assuming, of course, that the CNC, paste applicator, and pick and
place are all the same module/station.

2010\03\03@120249 by Vitaliy

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M. Adam Davis wrote:
>> It's an interesting idea, although it sounds less practical than a 3D
>> printer due to the extra complexity. If the main selling point is instant
>> gratification and the user can tolerate extra cost, you could simplify
>> the
>> process even further.
>>
>> - You can eliminate the "spray with photo resist" step if you use
>> presensitized blanks. Package several of them into a "cassette" that user
>> can load into the machine.
>
> But then you lose the ability to plate through holes, which could also
> be eliminated, but then you're simply back to the existing hobby
> process.

True.


>> - Print the design on transparent film (faster exposure).
>
> If you don't mind adding a printer to the mix.

It would seem that it would be very easy. Cheap b/w printers sell for $50
nowadays.


> On the other hand, a custom built inkjet should be able to handle
> direct printing of the resist, get rid of the presensitized and
> develop step altogether, and perhaps add a white color for silkscreen.
>
> If a suitable mask ink was found, one could inkjet print the
> photoresist, then the mask and silkscreen.

I suppose. :) Yesterday I saw a "cake printer" on PBS's "Create" channel.
The ink used was a burned sugar/water mixture.


> Still have to solve the through hole plating issue though, and so far
> the chemical/electro methods seem to be the best automated process

I took another look at what it would take to do DIY electroplating, and
though it doesn't look too hard, the chemicals are outside the realm of what
I'm willing to use in an office lab environment (sulfuric acid with a hint
of hydrocloric acid, etc).


> On the other hand, it shouldn't be too hard to mechanically insert
> wire, crimp or bend the top side (gravity holds in place), and apply
> paste to both sides prior to the oven.

I wonder if it's possible to use conductive inks for this purpose, like the
ones they use to repair PCBs? Metal or graphite powder mixed with some type
of glue.

Vitaliy

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