Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile

Advanced

3d printing PCB

Posted by Matthijsb00 
3d printing PCB
April 10, 2017 05:51AM
Hello everyone,

I am going to make a 3d printer which can print PCBs. I would like to ask you what it must be capable of to be of use to you. So far we have come up with these:
The time it takes to print a PCB should be within a reasonable amount of time.
People with basic knowlegde of electronics and programming must be able to use it with reasonble ease.
The maximum voltage of the PCBs must be 5V or more.
The PCB should have reasonable temperatures during the printing process
The printer must also be able to print the materials a normal 3d printer uses.

Please note that were students and that we dont have acces to a unlimited amount of money.

Thank you for replying
Matthijsb00
VDX
Re: 3d printing PCB
April 10, 2017 06:33AM
... a normal PCB is mainly made of conductive tracks - the base material is only selected for non-conductivity, so can be of any (nc.) material.

Are you planning to build a metal printer?


Viktor
Re: 3d printing PCB
April 10, 2017 08:30AM
At this moment, we want to print solder on a non conductive material, because it has a meltingpoint between 200 an 250 °C and a low resistance. With the solder we want to print tracks, just as on a normal PCB.

Matthijsb00
VDX
Re: 3d printing PCB
April 10, 2017 10:11AM
... solder tends to form blobs and to "avoid" thin gaps ... it's too not trivial to place and solder the electronic components on solder pads, as they "retract" when remelted again.

Better look into a sort of laser-sintering with solder coated copper powder instead of solder paste or such ...


Viktor
Re: 3d printing PCB
April 10, 2017 10:27PM
I will definately have a look at that, thank you for the tip.

We wanted to solve the problem of soldering the components on the pcb by letting the printer do it, so just taping them to the upper side of the pcb and letting the printer solder them while he is laying the tracks of solder on the bottom side. But maybe this problem is solved with the copper powder.

Matthijsb00
VDX
Re: 3d printing PCB
April 11, 2017 06:36AM
... another related idea (discussed some 5+ years ago) is to place the electronic components (and nails/pins) backside down onto a printed plate (top housing part), print/fill the gaps between them with plastic (mainly for stability), then use the stone-old "wire-wrap" technique (with soldering assistance) to draw wire connections between the pins, and last cover/close the wire layer with plastic to get a stable basis or even the bottom housing part, so the complete module will be ready to use, when removed from the print bed winking smiley


Viktor
Re: 3d printing PCB
April 11, 2017 08:59AM
It is definately a smart idea, but I'm not sure if its the perfect idea for us. What we want is to make it less time consuming for the custormer. This is definately a way to do that, but you're other idea, with the copper powder and the laser, is less time consuming.

Thanks for all the great ideas,
Matthijsb00
Re: 3d printing PCB
April 13, 2017 06:17PM
There is some potential here but a LOT of challenges. Probably the biggest one is that solder isn't attracted to plastic. It takes flux just to get it to stick to metal. Maybe a flux impregnated substrate would work but I wonder what the costs would be to the end user. Another problem is that most PCBs are at least two layer. You would have to figure out printing vias. Although, if you can figure out how to allow two traces to cross you might be able to put everything on a single side. I could see using a dual extruder, one with conductor and one with an insulator. Another problem is about accuracy. While zits, blogs and other errors are ok with a simple print, there is no tolerance for that - a lot semiconductors have leads that are .5 mm apart. I'm not sure what the max nozzle size would be but I bet it's at most .25mm.

But why are you using solder at all? It's not a terribly good conductor and you can get conductive plastic. For a large class of application, you don't need much current capacity at all so conductive plastic might be fine.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login