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Want Your Own Desktop PCB Printer?

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_hm
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CEO
Will you call it desktop?
_hm   7/10/2014 7:17:12 PM
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The way it is described, it is difficult to call it desktop. Chemicals and other things, need WHMIS, MSDS and safe place to work. May be laboratory is safe place.

tenbest
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not cheap?
tenbest   7/11/2014 9:39:29 AM
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While the 2 week turn around issue still stands, prices for low volume manufacturing have dropped through the floor with companies like OSHPark.  $5 per sq inch and you get 3 copies  of a full spec 2 layer boards shipped to your door.  I have also had boards back in as little as 6 business days, though that's not the norm.


I've done self etched boards, as well as have access to a board router, but the hassle of not having plated vias and holes has pushed me well past the pain threshold.  There's certainly still a use for home grown boards and this looks like it takes plenty of pain out, but for personal projects I can wait.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: not cheap?
Max The Magnificent   7/11/2014 9:50:59 AM
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@tenbest: I've done self etched boards, as well as have access to a board router, but the hassle of not having plated vias and holes has pushed me well past the pain threshold.

On the one hand I congratulate these guys for not biting off more than they can chew, as it were -- I'm notorious for over-engineering everything.

On the other hand, I agree with you in that what I really want is somthing that I can connect to my computer -- download the design files for a double-sided through-hole board -- and press the "Go" button -- and for the unit print the layout and drill the holes and etch the board and give me a double-sided board with plated-through holes.

One day...

elizabethsimon
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CEO
Re: not cheap?
elizabethsimon   7/11/2014 11:21:52 AM
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I suspect that the day will come also but my guess is that what we need for that is a 3D printer that can print both metallic (or conducive) material and insulating (non- conductive) material on the same "level". No mess with etching or any of that and you could use the same printer to make a case for your project. Of course, the materials would have to be compatible with soldering which makes the problem more difficult. The thing is that once you have something like that, the possibilities do not stop at two layer boards.

If soumeone built something like that at a reasonable cost, I'd buy it.

If I knew more about material properties and mechanical design, I'd try to build one. As it is my knowlege of material properties is primarily from a university class that was more years ago than I'd care to admit.

 

JoshuaPerk
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Rookie
Re: Will you call it desktop?
JoshuaPerk   7/11/2014 11:26:04 AM
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Hello!  You are absolutely correct.  In our recent project update, we explained the real purpose of using the word "desktop" and of course, we are stressing safety in chemical exposure and also environmental waste!

JoshuaPerk
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Re: not cheap?
JoshuaPerk   7/11/2014 11:29:42 AM
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Thank you for the kind words, Max!  Our first concept of the BreadBox was an all-in-one solution but it turned out to be quite... a project (to say the least).  We've decided, while it might not be as elegant, some things cannot be done as well when combined.  When the BreadBox pushes out of production, we are releasing an auto driller that identifies through-holes and (well, as the name implies...) auto-drills them.

 

A step in the right direction, perhaps?

 

-Joshua, The BreadBox Team

JoshuaPerk
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Re: not cheap?
JoshuaPerk   7/11/2014 11:30:52 AM
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Now, that would be awesome...

It would be a great repurpose for a 3D printer.

 

-Joshua, The BreadBox Team

Wnderer
User Rank
CEO
Automate Mail Order
Wnderer   7/11/2014 12:36:28 PM
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I think it would be better to bring down the price of mail order one off PCBs through automation. The machine acts sort of like an internet controlled vending machine where the user makes selections that get charged to their credit card, paypal or whatever. The machine would be operated over the internet by the user and mail out the PCBs all automatically. Only periodic maintenance and service would require a Tech.

JG1954
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Rookie
Re: Will you call it desktop?
JG1954   7/11/2014 1:50:47 PM
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Getting quick-turn bare PCBs via the web isn't a big issue for me. Costs and delivery times are reasonable for small boards. And I don't want to have to work with or store etching chemicals.

The major stumbling block for me is populating the boards with small surface mount components. It's a hassle packaging, lableing and shipping off components, providing special build instructions, paying for NREs, ect. I'd much rather have a desktop based solution that can apply solder paste, place components and reflow solder so I don't have to farm out the prototype build.

- Jeff

TonyTib
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CEO
Pick N Place is the issue, not PCBs
TonyTib   7/11/2014 2:44:00 PM
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Agreed, to me the biggest pain point is assembling SMT boards, not getting PCBs made.

And even the high end PCB proto board makers don't have great solutions for plated holes, etc.

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