We have been followed up Rhys Jones' progress on 3D printed circuit board for a while. Last time he started by printing the plastic substrate and then the tracks. This time he tested with depositing the metal track first and then inserted most of the components afterwards and soldered by hand. He has also redone the board with 1.5mm radii and maximise the contact where two sections of track meet, the result is optimistic.
Another experiment was to use a 0.5mm tall cover layer at 15% fill to cover up the entire board. - "I'm now doing a 0.5mm tall cover layer at 15% fill. This also means that I can still test the board mid build as the track is still exposed. I've elected to do a 0.5mm tall layer as the track doesn't quite sit flush with the top of the board, and this ensures that the head doesn't collide with the track. I haven't quite nailed depositing the alloy on an upper layer yet. The problem is that I need a perfect plastic solid layer, and I only have one layer to achieve this in. Normally we have 3/4 layers to get a nice smooth finish on exposed layers but due to the geometry I can't do this.
I'm going to try fitting a fan to my machine and fiddling with the plastic print settings to see if I can improve things. For the time being I've just deposited the solder by hand. However I've still managed to cover the board and it still works so I've proven porous fill isn't damaging the metal."
3D printing circuit boards is getting popular with home 3D printing enthusiasts. 3D printers will permit individuals with the requisite technical expertise to design electronics, and eventually it will be possible to print physical objects together with its electronic circuitry in one print job.
Photo credit / source: Reprap
Posted in 3D Printing Technology
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