Spanish Brothers Build a 3D Printed PCB Printer

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A pair of brothers from Madrid who say they’re passionate about design, electronics, robotics, mechatronics, and software are the developers behind Diyouware. It’s their initiative to build open-source, low-cost, and easy-to-manufacture robotic tools which help people all over the world build industrial quality items at home.

“The revolution of the RepRap 3D printer has inspired and motivated us. We spent the last two years building a CNC machine, a RepRap 3D printer and finally – DiyouPCB,” they say. “We’re already working on the next project: DiyouPCB MKII.”

image001_f1_0DiyouPCB is an open source, printed circuit board printer powered by an Atmel-based Arduino Uno (ATmega328) which uses a custom pickup driver (PD) and controller shield (PCS) they designed. It’s equipped with a Blu-Ray optical pickup (PHR-803T) and various UV laser components, and it uses dry film.

IMG_2500_0In case you’re not familiar with it, dry film is a polyester film coated with a polymer sensitive to ultraviolet light which adheres by heat to a PCB and allows circuits to be drawn using any photolithography method. It’s widely used in the manufacture of printed circuits — and it’s reasonably priced at approximately $15-20 per square meter. The dry film can accurately reproduce a circuit through the use of UV light, and once photosensitized, it’s removed with an alkaline solution.

The team used a Toshiba PHR-803T Blu-Ray pickup laser diode to sensitize Dry-Film. They say the film is easy to use and adheres well to the copper board through heat.

The pair began the project in February 2013, but it took them until October 2013 to complete successful tests after a total of about 8 months of work.

As for their design brief, the brothers say they wanted the device to be low-cost, easy to build, and printable with a 3D printer, and add that it had to use an Arduino Uno for the electronics.

image039What they came up with is very interesting indeed.

“We saw that it would be more easy to print up than down,” they say. “The printer had to be something similar to scanners or photocopiers – just open the door, put the copper board on top of the window, close the door and press the print button.”

They say the printing process takes place on surface with a build area of 210mm x 170mm, functions at a laser wavelength of 405nm and features a print speed of 600mm per minute, but it will need some bugs worked out before it works to their satisfaction.

“The printer is still not perfect. We need to further improve the printing quality and solve the problems of the vibrations caused by the stepper motors and those induced by the use of timing belts (backlash and resonances),” say the Diyouware team.

You can see the details on how to build the entire project here, and the brothers have thoughtfully put up a forum in case you run into problems.

Have you seen other projects like this one where 3D printing is used to design and build critical parts for cutting edge technologies? Please take a moment to give us the lowdown about any projects that you’ve seen in the 3D Printed PCB Printer forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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