Author Topic: Conductive Ink... anyone try?  (Read 9163 times)

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Triffid

Conductive Ink... anyone try?
« on: January 30, 2004, 06:01:58 AM »
I was scoping around for some alternatives to the traditional PCB making... man is that such a hassle.   I found this stuff and was wondering if anyone has tried it?  It might be error prone with large curcuits but I think it would be good at least for prototyping... you could easily "connect the dots" on a perfboard with rings.


http://www.lashen.com/vendors/caig/CircuitWriter.asp


What I really would like is something like this that you can "trace" over a printed curcuit layout.  I don't know what you would trace it onto... any non conductive material would work I suppose.   I wonder if you could use that reflection tracing technique that I have seen done before.

Anyway... just a thought

Triffid

Conductive Ink... anyone try?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2004, 06:44:40 AM »
Ok, now I'm just talking crazy here... I'm sure many of you have seen this stuff coming but it's new to me.  Can you imagine printing conductive copies of the pcb layouts, glueing them onto some board, drill and go.  That might be a slight exageration of what is to come.. but maybe not :)

http://www.xennia.com/XenniaVensConInkTech.htm

Bill_F

Conductive Ink... anyone try?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2004, 07:28:06 AM »
I'd be amazed if that technology filtered down to the kind of printers we use at home.  :cry:

petemoore

I'll betcha 'they' can..
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2004, 08:15:09 AM »
Just how good though, and can it be soldered etc.
  I don't know...have they perfected solder 'paint'...I had some stuff like this that came with a 'cheep lighter based soldering gun' thingy I got at marcs...it came in a plastic tube, and didn't work very well IIRC.
   The soldering gun itself fired once or twice then jammed...never tried melting anything with it...was pretty cool...it like turned a cheep lighter [installed in the 'handle] into a blast fire like welding torch [sorta]...my buddies got a nice rechargeable butane soldering torch...great for 'field' work.
Convention creates following, following creates convention.

David

Wait a minute...
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2004, 08:44:58 AM »
Hey, Triffid, I think you might be onto something!

If you were to print out a copy of the PCB layout, trace the "traces" (nope, no pun intended) with that CircuitWriter pen, then quickly make an impression on a blank, you might basically be done because the board would have the correct "mirror image" of the circuit.  Instead of going over traces with a Sharpie, we'd just be touching them up with that CircuitWriter.  Of course, as Pete asks, is it solderable?  That's the next question.

Can any of the board etchers confirm or deny this?

Triffid

Conductive Ink... anyone try?
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2004, 09:10:52 AM »
I would hate to rely on the dry time of the CurcuitWriter.  I have seen on TV before an art tool for kids that was able to project an image onto a piece of paper without changing it's size.  Then you could trace and color.  I am not sure exactly how it worked, but I am looking for it now.

Worst case, you could use the CurcuitWriter after you soder your components onto the perfboard with rings (what are those called?).  I think it would become easier to lay things out and not have to worry as much about positioning.  Plus it would look a lot neater :)

Triffid

Conductive Ink... anyone try?
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2004, 09:16:01 AM »
Something like this, only this one is not meant for kids, is a little pricy, and you would have to find a way to mount it pointing down onto the surface.

http://store.artcity.com/aro-225354.html

Triffid

Conductive Ink... anyone try?
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2004, 09:25:21 AM »
Ok, I guess this is the one that is meant to be projected on a table top... it's even more expensive though.  But you can probably use it for all sorts of things... box artwork, drill spots, etc...

http://store.artcity.com/aro-225323.html

David

"perfboard with rings = pad-per-hole"
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2004, 10:09:24 AM »
Triffid:

You're losing me here.  Why do you need to project anything?  All I was suggesting was to print out the PCB layout "drawing", then trace over the circuit paths with the ink.  What I meant to do then was to make an impression on the board with the tracing in the hope that an impression, thus a circuit pattern, would be left on the board.

Triffid

Conductive Ink... anyone try?
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2004, 11:46:05 AM »
Hmm... I think were losing each other :shock:

How would the impression end up on your finished board?  If you are saying that you would trace the conductive ink onto the printout, then press that on the final board... I don't think that will be very reliable.  The dry time on the ink is ~ 2 minutes I think.  The clock would start with the first stroke.  With a projection... you can take all the time you need and make sure you trace everything just perfectly... plus it would be COOL man  :D

The question still remains though whether you can soder a component onto the board without effecting the conductive ink.

Peter Snowberg

Conductive Ink... anyone try?
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2004, 11:54:06 AM »
I've used the repair pens from Circuit Specialists before and while they work fairly well, you can not solder to the stuff.

There were quite a few cheap radios in the 1970s produced in Japan by some kind of screen printed and solderable ink. I remember seeing the mesh marks where coverage wasn't all the great. The same boards often had screen printed resistors too.

In the end, there's nothing like a board from a real board house. :)

Take care,
-Peter
Where are you? Add yourself to the DIY Map!

David

Conductive Ink... anyone try?
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2004, 11:55:47 AM »
OK, I follow you now.  Yeah, good point about the dry time.  As to the "solderability", the verbiage describing the product sure makes it look like you can solder it, doesn't it?

Paul Perry (Frostwave)

Re: "perfboard with rings = pad-per-hole"
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2004, 02:09:12 PM »
Quote from: David
 All I was suggesting was to print out the PCB layout "drawing", then trace over the circuit paths with the ink. .


I suggest tracing over the path with wire, then you can solder to it! This is the basic 'cardboard' construction technique. If you consider that it is possible to run into trouble from normal PCB traces not having low enough resistance, I'm sure these ink & paint techniques won't hack it. Not to say they mign't be useful for other purposes though.

Triffid

Conductive Ink... anyone try?
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2004, 02:18:50 PM »
Ya, I was wondering about the resistance myself.  Other pens I saw mentioned a 25 mOhm resistance per 1 inch.  I figured that would be ok, but I'm not sure.  I couldn't get an exact measurement for the pen mentioned above though.  

How would you get the wire to stick nicely to the board in your "cardboard technique".  I assume it would be non-insulated wire right?

Thanks for your guys replies, I am just trying to find a more convenient method then the transfer & etch approach... it just seems to messy and with too many steps :)

petemoore

Ya might hafta ...
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2004, 02:48:28 PM »
Re-calculating all the resistances and solder ink distances=resistances doesn't sound like alot of fun...prehaps two coats?
Convention creates following, following creates convention.

Triffid

Conductive Ink... anyone try?
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2004, 08:42:27 PM »
I am not sure if the manufacturer was stating milli-Ohms or micro-Ohms when they said 25mOhm, but I figured either one would be negligable in a small curcuit such as an effect pedal.  If it is milli-Ohm you would of course have to have 40 inches of curcuit to have a combined 1 ohm.  Maybe I am wrong about how much that would affect sound though  :?

Either way I think I am going to try it, without the projector at first.  I really think the most practicle application is to connect the pads on a perfboard.

Anyway... thanks for the help everyone

Paul Perry (Frostwave)

Conductive Ink... anyone try?
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2004, 10:17:50 PM »
Quote from: Triffid
"cardboard technique".  I assume it would be non-insulated wire right?


The source of all wisdom (well, a lot!)
www.geofex.com/Article_Folders/ protostyles/proto_styles.htm

puretube

Conductive Ink... anyone try?
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2004, 10:27:46 PM »
Quote from: Bill_F
I'd be amazed if that technology filtered down to the kind of printers we use at home.  :cry:


that would sure be nice...

+ I suggest, they make a drill-printer, that prints the "copper" and lasers the holes at one pass-through....

Paul Perry (Frostwave)

Conductive Ink... anyone try?
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2004, 03:50:20 PM »
It is possible to ge vey thin flexible PCB material (it is used to make flexible 'wiring' harnesses among other things) and I have wondered whether it would be possible to print resist directly on this via a printer.
But being so thin, I think it might be a bitch to solder to, anyway.

Nasse

Conductive Ink... anyone try?
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2004, 11:02:17 PM »
I saw an ad about that super thin and flexible board material and it was interesting stuff. You can cut it with scissors, bend it and make curved and flexible boards with it, one suggested use was for mounting led displays and arrangements for curved surfaces like shop signs and like. Maybe a flexible guitar strap that has effects built in and some huge  led message display...

Another idea must try someday is buy some thick copper foil and cut it with scissors for pcb patterns and glue/ laminate it on something :roll: