Researchers at Ga Tech have developed inks that you can put into your conventional inkjet printer and create conductive traces. Your PCB can be made of paper if you like. Here's the link: GA Tech Develops Inkjet-based Circuits
Let's say you're interesting in using the latest components: that means BGAs and other SMT stuff. There are enough good places that make advancted PCBs protos at reasonable prices. The problem is getting the stuff mounted (Pick and Place) and soldered (reflow oven).
How does the EX1 handle double sided boards? (They say they're sure they can do multi-layer PCBs, but didn't give any details).
And, yes, it's cool to print on all kinds of stuff, but if it's something you need to work reliably you have to consider boring stuff like CTE mismatches.
Max -- one of my first Spartan 3 designs was a 30ton printer used to print parts of the pixels on on glass for 6 ft x 5 ft LCD TV's -- Printed electroniics using FPGA's is nothing new -- Molecular Imprints in Austin, TX has been making printer cartidges for HP inkjets via partial printed semiconductor technology for even longer.
I think that what the excitement here is, is that someone can print a functional prototype (eventually) with a mixture of 3d printing and circuit printing. We still have a long way to go for that to be ideal, but this is a decent sized step for the home manufacturer.
I want one, though I don't really see a solid use for it when there are pcb services that are super cheap and fairly quick. I just want it because it is cool.
Hi Max, it is cool thing!! Very innovative thinking...should be very useful while doing small experiments. Instead of getting bored with simulating a circuit, it would be easier to take print of the circuit, buy the components from the local shop and perform the experiment. Cool!! I wonder what software "file" that is input to the printer? Do we have to draw the circuit traces on MS Word or Power Point...I guess that would be a bit tough. Is there a tool for it?