Circuit cutting machine

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by maxpower097, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. maxpower097

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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  2. SgtWookie

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    Jul 17, 2007
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    Why not start out with a junked inkjet printer instead?

    Initial investment: $0.00 instead of $179.00 + shipping.

    That thing seems to have mostly pre-set patterns. You'd have to figure out how to communicate with it and understand it's language.

    With a junked inkjet, you'd just need to figure out how the drivers worked, or roll your own.
     
  3. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    Thanks a lot Sarge! Just when I thought I might be able to get some sleep tonight after relaxing by watching a brainless Austin Powers movie, you had to though that one out there. Now my brain will be reeling all night long! :) My fault for checking in here and going straight to bed. :)
     
  4. maxpower097

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    Agreed, now that I think about it a ink jet would be way cheaper and probably more info floating around on them too. I'm planning on trying the Laser printer PCB thing. My best friend works for an electronics recycler and has laser printers coming out of the ying yang. I just gotta find out the best model to get. I've heard the older ones are the better ones. You wouldn't have any good links on the laser printer etching would you?
     
  5. SgtWookie

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    Spinnaker,
    I posted that to torture you deliberately :D
     
  6. SgtWookie

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    Yeah, the really old printers were built like battleships.

    If you could find a wide-carriage inkjet or dot matrix, that would have many of the parts you'd need. The really old 14-7/8" wide dot matrix printers you could do a lot with.

    I've been considering having our old Canon BJC-5100 make the ultimate sacrifice. They didn't support drivers for Windows after 95, so it's been taking up space for a while. It was designed to handle 11"x17" paper, which is why we got it in the first place. Some retrofitting could make for interesting capabilities.

    Check out Tom Gootee's page:
    http://www.fullnet.com/~tomg/gooteepc.htm
     
  7. maxpower097

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Yah I've used a crap inkjet for a desktop printer for a while but then I just decided to bite the bullet and get a HP 2300 Laser printer for $30. So now instead of 300 pages a cartridge I get 6000 pages. And like you said those old printers are like tanks. I won't even buy a new printer anymore since the all in ones seem to break with in 2 months and the normal inkjets are so low capacity and messy to fill. If your interested I have a Canon i455 I'd donate to you if you think you could do something with it. Hell I could probably meet you at the old Boardwalk and Baseball. :)
     
  8. jbeng

    Member

    Sep 10, 2006
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    If you get your milling machine built, here is some software you could use to control it...

    http://www.kellyware.com/kcam/index.htm

    I'd love to have a mill for this (and other things, too), but I just haven't gotten one built yet. It would do away with all the chemicals of pcb manufacture.

    I've used the photo method to make boards for many years, with great success, but lately, I've been using the direct plot method for boards. I've been using a really old HP7221 plotter I got for cheap on ebay. Works great, though.

    I've often thought how nice it would be to have an inkjet printer which could print on PCB stock directly, but I know that the ink would wash off during etch. I saw this video on youtube where the guy has hacked a printer to accept PCB stock and then bakes the ink onto the board... very interesting.

    Jeff
     
  9. maxpower097

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    So to do the etching do I want an old inkjet or laser printer? I thought everything I read said laser printer. Getting an inkjet to accept PCB thickness should be easy enough with some smaller rollers and the picture input in the back.
     
  10. SgtWookie

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    OK, if you want to do toner transfer, then you would want a laser printer.

    If you want to make a CNC milling machine type thing, you'd probably be better off with an inkjet or perhaps a wide carriage dot matrix printer.

    You might even try using a flatbed scanner.

    Basically, you want a good bit of travel in either direction. At some point, you'll wish it were bigger, and when you go to store it away, you'll wish it were smaller.

    But if you manage to make it really useful, you will keep it mighty busy churning out stuff.
     
  11. jbeng

    Member

    Sep 10, 2006
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    I agree with SgtWookie.

    If you just wanted to do toner-transfer, a good, working laser printer would be what you looking for.

    I think inkjet and dot-matrix printers would have many more parts you could use for a mill than lasers would. If you're wanting to do actual pcb milling, then you'll probably have to design and build the mill yourself.

    If you want to try the direct-print thing, you'll have to get a printer, modify it so that it will accept the pcb stock and experiment with baking the ink on, like the guy in the video did.

    Jeff
     
  12. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    Probably the best device to hack would be one of those old HP plotters. You would have full control over the xy axis, be able to move the product back and forth at will and be able to lift the drill.

    In fact you might not need to do much at all except fit a drill but it has been years since I have seen one operate so not sure if that would work or not.
     
  13. maxpower097

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to make both. I'd love a small desktop CNC that could cut like 2-3mm think, and a laser system to make my own prototype PCB's. I guess I'll ask my buddy if they have any plotters. If they have any I'll let you guys know if anyone wants one. Also I can get old laser printers for next to nothing so once I figure out which model will work the best I'll try to get some for any AAC members who need one.
     
  14. spinnaker

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    Now if you just had a buddy in UPS, we would be all set. :)
     
  15. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    One of the best.. hold that... easiest ways to use an inkjet for at home PCBs, have an inkjet print PCBs is to get a nice old, by old I mean the lowest res monochrome if possible, and use High Viscosity Liquid Copper as an 'ink'. Set your print head up with an external inking tank, and print onto High temp (500deg) blank pcb substrate. Cook the finished board at 250c for recommended anneal. Drill holes. Done.

    This method will give you a higher success rate at 1 mil resolutions.

    Also, you will need to find printers that have the head in the cartridge. Drill/flush/add cis hose. Else you will get few uses from the printer.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
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