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Topic: DIY inkjet PCB's???? (Read 13547 times) previous topic - next topic


I am very interested in this. I have been wondering about building a plotter that can plot directly onto copper clad board using etch resistant ink. I don't have the time to test this idea out, anyone else wanna try ;)


Well no.

Back in the 80's I had a plotter that I used to do my PCB 2X artwork on using drafting film and Indian ink. It was a nightmare with pens clogging or drying part way through a run. If you use etch resist ink that will be thicker still and more prone to clog, life is just too short.


Sep 02, 2009, 01:02 pm Last Edit: Sep 02, 2009, 01:39 pm by RoyK Reason: 1
I agree. I've made my own PWBs in the early days (many years ago). At one point in my career I even set up a commercial PWB fab at the company I worked for. But these days you can go online and easily find a house that will deliver professional quality PWBs in small quantities at amazingly inexpensive prices.

For example I'm just finishing a project I designed under contract that contains an ATMega328, LCD display, matrix keypad, RS485 driver, power supply,  and a small handfull of other parts all on a PWB about 3"x3.5". I ordered 5 prototype 2 layer boards from PCBFabExpress. They arrived in a week, and were professional quality including solder mask both sides and silkscreen on one side. At less than $20/ea including shipping it just isn't worth it to roll your own IMHO - unless of course you are just doing it for the fun of it.


Roy - I did the inkjet butchering because its was as you say a good "Did it yourself" exercise...

The other reason, being completely green in the field of PCB design, I figured I'm going to make a few mistakes. The cost here in Australia along with turn-around time and a hereditary impatience means I thought it was a good idea to proto-type myself, then get a fab-house to make a "known good" board for me..

Maybe I am just full of self-doubt about excessive screwups in laying out the tracks etc etc, but thought the cost of getting it setup to 'prototype' myself versus getting lots of 'dud' boards made sense ??
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I have been wondering about building a plotter that can plot directly onto copper clad board using etch resistant ink.

My experience with etch resistant inks is that there's no such think as etch resistant ink.


Sep 03, 2009, 07:31 am Last Edit: Sep 03, 2009, 07:35 am by elwing Reason: 1
hum, just discovered this... it looks great... now I might reconsider that the photo engraving is the best solution....

My experience with etch resistant inks is that there's no such think as etch resistant ink.
visibly you have to "melt" theses ink to get them etch resistant... but if you're really right then photoengraving would still be the best method...


Just saw that same site and came to the thread to post it. :D Looks promising. But of course you have to use one of the specific inkjets their system is designed around.


I finally got to trying out my JetStar inkjet film this week, and was more than satisfied with the results:

I drew up the plans in ExpressBCB before realising that it has somewhat limited print options - i.e. you can't get to the printer properties dialog... but discovered this is easily circumvented by printing to the MS XPS device, and then printing the resultant file from IE - comes out at exact scale without any messing around.

Chosing "Inkjet transparency" paper and High quality photo printing on my Epson R300, the black was not as black as I'd hoped - still a bit translucent when holding it up to the light, but I did a test exposure from 1 to 10 minutes and experienced no bleed-through exposure what so ever. Everything from 2 mins on developed fine.

For the actual boards, I gave them 2min 30 sec, and the only issue I had through to the etched boards were where the photoresist coating was actually damaged in a small area of the larger one.

These are the first boards I've produced in probably 25+ years - it gave me a real nostalgia trip back to my teenage years! If only it were so easy to produce the artwork in those days!


inkjetprinting gives interesting opportunities for making pcbs - I will show you an example...


May 30, 2010, 08:20 pm Last Edit: May 30, 2010, 08:22 pm by ingoschuldes Reason: 1
Here a first test of a pcb, using inkjet technique:

1. direct printing of etch resistant ink
2. etching
3. Printing an additional layer as a solder mask including the legend

Note: I know that it is not perfect at all; it was my very first try. But I am sure I can get it quite perfect within a short time.
Looks much better in the real world - picture was made with low-quality scanner causing lots of artefacts...

The ruler on the top shows milimeters


Dude; you forgot your vias layer!


He did say it was a test; I think it looks pretty impressive for a "test"...!
I will not respond to Arduino help PM's from random forum users; if you have such a question, start a new topic thread.


I recently picked up a HP P1102W from staples on sale for $99, monochrome with WiFi built in I'm real satisfied. All I can say is that HP toner works a lot better compared to whatever my college uses in their lasers, that stuff was a pain to use.


May 31, 2010, 12:52 pm Last Edit: May 31, 2010, 12:54 pm by ingoschuldes Reason: 1
Here is a image showing the direct printed traces...


I've never done any PCB work, all stripboard, but I would like to. Just to make it clear to me, when you say direct printing, are you saying you are printing directly onto the copper board? How does that run through a printer? Or have I got hold of the wrong end of the stick, and it's printing onto a transparency that you iron onto the copper?

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