Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's


Page 1 of 47 123411 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 926

Thread: Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    2416
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default 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.

    Similar Threads:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's-printer-013-jpg  


  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    2416
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

    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 Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's-printer-014-jpg   Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's-printer-015-jpg  


  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    2416
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

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

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's-printer-016-jpg  


  4. #4
    Moderator Switcher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    3634
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

    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!
    .



  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    2416
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

    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 Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's-printer-003-jpg   Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's-printer-004-jpg   Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's-printer-008-jpg   Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's-printer-009-jpg  



  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    2416
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

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

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's-printer-011-jpg   Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's-printer-012-jpg  


  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    2416
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

    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 Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's-printer-023-jpg   Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's-printer-024-jpg  


  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    2416
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

    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 Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's-printer-019-jpg   Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's-printer-020-jpg  


  9. #9
    Registered
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    82
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

    Very interesting.
    Keep the pics coming.

    Bent



  10. #10
    Registered
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    usa
    Posts
    361
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

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



  11. #11
    Registered
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    405
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

    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
    Registered greybeard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1414
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

    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.


  13. #13
    Registered damae's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    476
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

    Wow, very cool!

    Imagine if one of the printer manufacturers decided to sell a purpose-built inkjet to the PCB etching market... I wonder how big that market is anyway...

    Keep up the detailed writeup -- it's easy to follow and inspiring!



  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    2416
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

    Thanks for the comments guys!!!

    Mike, dunno bout selling these things, it has been a lot of work, not particularly difficult, just very time consuming, warranty could be an issue...lol

    Paul, the ink is called MIS PRO, I think it is simply a better quality ink, for photo printing, normal ink is said to work but not quite as well. The magneta is said to be the better resist... I will just have to try a few test runs. Direct printing is also said to give better (finer) tracks than toner transfer methods, it also cuts down on time and means less work when making PCB's (I am a lazy sod after all!!!)

    I have decided to use surface mount components so I need good quality boards.

    John, the go faster stripes might short out some of the tracks but I'll put some in for you

    Damae, I thought the same thing, it would not be very difficult to make a printer that has an adjustable height, this is all that is needed, ink can be changed by the user, and I'm sure there would be a market for printers to print on thick card, fabric etc (and PCB's of course!!! heh)

    Well enough talk, I'm off to make some rails to load the blanks and do some testing, I might have some pics of the finished product soon!!!

    Russell.



  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    2416
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default Success!!!!

    The first test run didn't go so well, the printer kept spitting out the card, I re-read the original page I linked at the start of the thread and discovered that I hadn't left enough of a header for the printer, it expects a longer delay from the start of paper feeding to a paper signal, all I had to do was increase the size of the cutout and VOILA!!!!

    I know I printed a bit more than I should have for an actual board, but you get the idea... not bad for the first run. The photo is a little blurry, but the print is pretty sweet.

    The beer bottle you can see is not there by accident, it was EXACTLY the right height for the card to sit on to feed into the printer... don't worry, no beer was wasted in the testing phase of this excercise!!!

    Now I have to refine this a little (the beer bottle has to go) I am going to utilize some HDPE I have left over from my E-chain experiments to make a bed and rail guide system, it needs to be setup exactly every time as you can imagine double sided boards kinda need to be a little accurate, the beer bottle just won't give me the required resolution

    Russell.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's-1st-print-001-jpg   Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's-1st-print-002-jpg  


  16. #16
    Registered greybeard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1414
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

    Brilliant.
    Russell, you're a star and an inspiration.
    Mind you, I was expecting the stripes on the side of the machine, not on the pcb.

    Respect
    John

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


  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    2416
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

    Cheers John, I might have a bit of trouble putting the stripes on the machine, there isn't much left that isn't a moving part...lol

    It is good fun watching the print head moving back and forth, there is some serious speed there, if the printer ever dies (from mis-adventure?) there is a nice linear encoder, pickup and DC motor that I'm sure will find its way into another project...

    Looking at the printer, if you were a little adventurous, you could almost rip out all of the mechanicals and build you own base frame to suit you needs, once it is stripped down, there isn't much left, possibly why this printer was chosen for this purpose in the first place (by others).

    Imagine printing your own logo's, text etc. directly onto an electronics enclosure for instance, or pendant control.

    Russell.



  18. #18
    Registered greybeard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1414
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

    Hey Russell, your heading in the direction of Vacpress(I think it was) with a self propelled printer. I can see it now, wandering round the workshop, printing blank verse over your shoes and off down the path, leaving trails of sonnets as it goes......

    John

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


  19. #19
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    475
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

    Good one Russ! The quality of the print is perfect. You should produce some real fine PCB's with that baby!!!!!

    Chich



  20. #20
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    162
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Default

    "There are 10 types of people in this world, those who understand binary and those that don't."

    Lol! I bet there aren't more than 10100 people that really understand that here



Page 1 of 47 123411 ... LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


About CNCzone.com

    We are the largest and most active discussion forum for manufacturing industry. The site is 100% free to join and use, so join today!

Follow us on


Our Brands

Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's

Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's

Hacking A Printer To Directly Print PCB's