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Subject: Re: Etch resist Ink with Ink Jet printer Direct on PCB ?
X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2800.1106
Date: Sat, 14 Sep 2002 05:45:02 GMT
NNTP-Posting-Date: Sat, 14 Sep 2002 00:45:02 CDT
Organization: Road Runner - Texas
> >Has anyone every tried putting Etch resist Ink in a BubbleJet or InkJet
> >printer and printing a PCB design directy onto the copper side of a PCB.
As a matter of fact I have. I thought about turning this into a commercial
I just don't have the time. Too many other projects to do. I even went so
far as to
turn an inkjet into a flatbed plotter. The problem there is converting the
stepper motor driven
motion of the platten roller into linear motion with the stepper using belts
or gears or
electronic gear ratio reduction for the steps. All three methods work but I
belt and gears method best.
I tried modifying printers to feed a board through as is, but that was just
too much trouble.
Some would feed thin stock just fine but others wouldn't. The flat bed
approach solves that.
Plus the flat bed approach with some simple guide pins lets you do double
sided boards with
accurate side to side registration.
For ink, I found two things that work well standing up to the etchant.
Acrylic Floor Polish.
Floor polish ( sometimes called wax ) ( I used the Future brand ) works well
and won't gum
up the printheads as easily as Shellac does.
Floor polish is removed with Ammonia.
Shellac with Denatured Alcohol.
I used three different types of printers. A Lexmark where the head is built
into the cartridge,
an HP where the printhead is separate from the cartridge but still uses
thermal "bubble" jet
technology and an Epson which uses piezoelectric technology.
The winner was the Lexmark. Easy cartridge to refill and cheap enough to
The problem in all this is that to use straight "ink" that is very water (
and then etchant ) proof
is, it will dry on your printhead orifices. The solution to that is a valve.
One path to ink, one path
to a flushing fluid. Before you print the board, run a cycle of "ink" to
clear out all your flush fluid.
Once you have finished printing, run a cycle of flushing fluid to purge all
Ammonia diluted with water works great on the acrylic polish ink. You can
even put a little regular
inkjet ink into it to color it so it's easier to see on the PC board blank.
Once you get the "ink" on the board and have etched it, you can clean it off
with just a quick spray of
Windex or other ammonia based cleaner.
I have no idea as to the benefits or problems with acrylics as conformal
coatings but I plan to try it
some day on a finished board. Just dip it in Future polish and see what
Another thought I had was a PVA ( poly vinyl alcohol ) based ink but the PVA
I had on hand didn't
thin out well to run in an inkjet. The acrylic ink worked well enough so I
didn't really pursue PVA much.
Now go have fun......
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