The emergence of 3D printing has changed the way thousands of companies and individuals look at prototyping. Instead of outsourcing a project to be prototyped, then having to wait weeks or even months for the part to be produced, 3D printers have managed to allow individuals and small businesses to bring the prototyping process in-house.
When it comes to more complicated production projects such as the manufacturing of new electronics and electronic components, such outsourcing is still oftentimes required. With that said, one company based in Ontario, Canada, called Voltera, is trying to change this as well. Today Voltera has launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise $70,000 for the production of the Voltera V-One All-In-One Circuit board prototyping machine. The V-One is in essence a 3D printer which can print two-layer circuit boards.
Using a conductive as well as an insulating ink, the V-One allows for the printing of complicated circuit boards to take place right in your own office or garage. This machine takes things a step further than the traditional PCB machines or the market today.
“3D printing and laser cutting have offered a better way to see if an idea is feasible or to build one-off products,” explaines Alroy Almeida, Co-Founder of Voltera. “Development boards are extremely powerful prototyping tools but designers often outgrow them because they have too little functionality, too much functionality, or just don’t fit the form factor. We want to create something that helps break down the barriers for people interested in hardware but still powerful enough for slightly heavier prototyping. The Voltera V-One goes beyond printing single layer circuits on paper. We’re the first to be able to print two layer circuits onto FR4 (the industry standard substrate) with a product of this size and cost.”
The V-One is incredibly simple to use. Gerber files go in, and FR4 boards come out. The printer only has one button, and the ink cartridges snap in and out within seconds. This means that two-layer boards are a cinch. Once the conductive layer is printed, all you do is snap the conductive ink cartridge out and place the insulating cartridge in. The printer will then print the second layer. The advanced software will automatically detect the intersections of traces and lay down a mask where the traces overlap. Once a board is printed, components can easily be soldered on.
Below you will find some of the technical specifications for the Voltera V-One:
- Printer Size: 390 x 257 x 207 mm
- Printer Weight: about 7kg
- Max Bed Temperature: 250C
- Min Trace Width: 0.2mm
- Max Board Thickness: 3mm
- Print area: 138 x 102 mm
- Connectivity: USB
- Operating System Compatibility: Mac, Windows, Linux
The V-One will come with several template boards to get you started, and the company has plans to produce additional templates at a future date. For those interested in this incredible printer and wanting to help Voltera reach their crowdfunding goal, early bird backers can pre-order the V-One for just $1,199 if you are one of the first 20 to place an order on Kickstarter. From there the price will go up to $1,499 for any backers after the initial 20 are ordered. If everything goes as planned the very first units will ship sometime in September 2015, with the second batch of units shipping in January 2016.
Let us know if you have backed this project and what your thoughts are on Voltera’s new machine. Discuss in the Voltera V-One forum thread on 3DPB.com.