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Printing etch resist mask?

Posted by bartdietrich 
Printing etch resist mask?
October 20, 2015 12:17PM
Hi all,

Was just wondering if anyone tried printing on copper? Does the plastic stick? I'm aware that there's a KickStarter thing going about printing complete PCBs (with traces and all) but all I'm after is just printing the etch mask on a copper board. Would the mask be resistant to e.g. ferric chloride (PLA being a polyester might struggle there a bit for example)? Has anyone tried this? Is there software to convert trace layouts to G code? Just wondering...

Cheers,
Bart
Re: Printing etch resist mask?
October 20, 2015 02:04PM
That's a nice idea! I have some copper clad board so I might try it.

It occurs to me that by using interchangeable tool heads (easy on a delta printer with magnetic rod ends), the small holes for through-hole component leads could be drilled too.

I guess the PLA resist could be removed by heating to about 80C and scraping it off.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/20/2015 02:07PM by dc42.

Delta printer calibration calculator, mini IR Z probe, and colour touch screen control panel: [escher3d.com]

Large delta printer, and other 3D printer blog postings: [miscsolutions.wordpress.com]

Full disclosure: I have a financial interest in sales of the Panel Due, Mini IR height sensor, and Duet WiFi/Duet Ethernet.
Re: Printing etch resist mask?
October 20, 2015 04:07PM
Only scrape the PLA off the solder pads, so it protects the traces from shorts.
Re: Printing etch resist mask?
October 21, 2015 12:17AM
Quote
frankvdh
Only scrape the PLA off the solder pads, so it protects the traces from shorts.

From that and from corrosion. Could actually be a good idea to leave the plastic on as protection...
Re: Printing etch resist mask?
October 21, 2015 12:30AM
Quote
dc42
That's a nice idea! I have some copper clad board so I might try it.

It occurs to me that by using interchangeable tool heads (easy on a delta printer with magnetic rod ends), the small holes for through-hole component leads could be drilled too.

I guess the PLA resist could be removed by heating to about 80C and scraping it off.

If it's anything like PLA on Kapton tape then you could probably just peel it off.

Wondering about the resistance of the plastic to the etch solution. Ferric chloride solution is rather acidic anyway, and made even more so by addition of concentrated hydrochloric acid for stability (I rarely etch boards so shelf life of my ferric chloride solution is important). PLA being a polyester should be ok for short exposures to acidic media but I'd rather first try it before committing to this statement. ABS might be better in that respect. Of course it all depends on how well the plastic sticks to the copper.

The mask could be removed with chloroform or dichloromethane although that is not a particularly quick process and can be rather sticky and messy in my experience. Probably best just to peel it off...

Let me know how your test goes!

Bart
Re: Printing etch resist mask?
October 21, 2015 12:37AM
I'm not sure it would be a good idea to leave the PLA on the board, because the temperature needed for reflow soldering with lead free solder would melt and perhaps burn the PLA.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/21/2015 03:36AM by dc42.

Delta printer calibration calculator, mini IR Z probe, and colour touch screen control panel: [escher3d.com]

Large delta printer, and other 3D printer blog postings: [miscsolutions.wordpress.com]

Full disclosure: I have a financial interest in sales of the Panel Due, Mini IR height sensor, and Duet WiFi/Duet Ethernet.
Re: Printing etch resist mask?
October 21, 2015 01:36AM
Ok, I was thinking of manual soldering...
Re: Printing etch resist mask?
November 30, 2015 01:40AM
PLA wont stick to a bare copper pcb , so i dont think this approach will work! a easier way is just to use a permanent marker to mark the traces ans then etch it.. the first ramps boards were made this way!
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