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Thread: Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's

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    Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's

    I have to say first up that this is not my idea, I'm just following in the footsteps of this fella here :

    http://techref.massmind.org/techref/pcb/etch/c84-st.htm

    The build starts with me buying a perfectly normal Epson C87 Stylus inkjet printer. The mods in the above page describe a C84 printer, which is no longer available new, I just hoped that the C87 was similiar enough to do the same thing.

    Anybody following my second router build will know that I have the next three months to build the electronics for it, I won't go into too much detail here, but enough to say that I need to make quality PCB's for my microcontroller experiments and other CNC stuff...after a lot of research, I decided to take the path of modding a printer to fit a blank PCB with a base carrier directly through, involving raising the print head mechanism and associated equipment. The result is being able to print directly onto the board, the ink forming a "resist" layer that will not let the copper dissolve when etching, leaving the required artwork.

    AnyHoo, here is the obligatory "before" shot of the printer:

    Russell.

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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -printer-013-jpg  


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    Here I have started to remove the covers, as you may have noticed, the paper feed is from the top... not very good for PCB's, they don't tend to bend around the paper guides very well, I can feel some "modification" is needed here

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -printer-014-jpg   -printer-015-jpg  


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    I wonder if I can sell these bits on ebay...lol

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -printer-016-jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by epineh View Post
    I wonder if I can sell these bits on ebay...lol
    Actually you might be surprised, I think they would sell.

    My wife dropped a tv on one of my all-in-one printers (not the same printer you have) broke the glass & some plastic.

    Try ebay, you never know!
    .



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    Now the procedure is this... the blanks are 1.6mm thick, I have allowed for a 1mm base "carrier" piece, either card or sheetmetal, to use for aligning and transport. This means that the print head assembly needs to be raised by 2.6mm to allow all of this to pass through, simple... maybe not THAT simple...

    Here is the first cut, as you can see it is as simple as cutting along the dotted line, lol. I used some insulation tape and plastic pieces to catch the cuttings.

    It is a really weird feeling to buy a new printer, then proceed to cut it in half with a hacksaw blade...for me at least.

    Thats funny Switcher, I am now kinda thinking of trying to put some of the covers back on, and maybe engrave something on it with my router... like "Genetically Modified" or something like that... hehe

    Russell.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -printer-003-jpg   -printer-004-jpg   -printer-008-jpg   -printer-009-jpg  



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    It might be a little hard to spot, but the last bit needing cutting is a little tab.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -printer-011-jpg   -printer-012-jpg  


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    Now I need to "adjust" the height and fix into place, I used some bits and pieces I had lying around, the tin plate is from a washing machine bracket.

    Also the head cleaning station had to be lifted to work, not my prettiest work, but once those covers are back on...

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -printer-023-jpg   -printer-024-jpg  


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    Next is the optic sensor for the paper feed, I located it to the opposite side to allow a bit of extra cable, instead of using the little lever setup, it will detect the carrier directly, which will have a little corner cutout to allow easier setup and alignment (I hope).

    Its late here now... gotta sleep, need to let the silicone set on the sensor anyway. I installed the print drivers and ink cartridges, it all works fine, doesn't seem to know it has been tampered with...lol

    Russell.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -printer-019-jpg   -printer-020-jpg  


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    Very interesting.
    Keep the pics coming.

    Bent



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    Great stuff! Maybe you need to modify and sell some.
    mike



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    Russel
    What do you use for ink? Is there something waterproof that you can load into a cartridge or are there waterproof ink cartridges available?

    I take it you know about the laser transfer method.
    http://www.fullnet.com/~tomg/gooteepc.htm
    Paul



  12. #12
    Morning Russell.

    Great work. I shall be watching to see where you paint the go-faster stripes

    John

    It's like doing jigsaw puzzles in the dark.
    Enjoy today's problems, for tomorrow's may be worse.


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