Conductive Paint used in printer?

Thread Starter

JJoll

Joined May 7, 2013
49
Hi,
Can I fill my home inkjet printer's cartridge with "Conductive Paint/ink" and use the printer to print stuff on the papers?
does this causes any problem with my printer?
thanks
 

bertus

Joined Apr 5, 2008
21,316
Hello,

Using other ink in the printer cartridge will give you problems.
Most likely the print head will be destroyed.

Bertus
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
I agree in general with the comments above, but there may be other considerations.

What type of inkjet printer are you using? It is important to know whether it is the HP type or Epson type cartridge. Is it designed for commercial or home use?
What type of "conductive ink" are you using. Is it simply conductive, or is it a reactive ink that gives a conductive product (i.e., a modified Tollens' reagent)?

John
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
Have you heard of water-based paints?

Edit: As to your concern about solvent-based "paints"and possible co-solvents in water-based "paints", there is a clear difference in solvent stability of materials used in HP and Epson printers as well as between commercial and home units. That is one of the reasons I asked the OP to describe his printer in more detail.

John
 
Last edited:

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,135
My money would be on this ruining almost any inkjet on the market unless the printer manufacturer specifically allows for this. Suspended particles? Bad. Conductive? Bad.

These things barely function with the inks designed for them.
 

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
8,467
Surprised no one mentioned the resistance in a "conductive paint". Even if printing was possible the resistance of the tracks would be way higher than copper tracks used in a standard PCB.
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,135
We were addressing the OP's specific question, not the larger issues.

A 3D printer laying down a nice thick track might work. But yeah, the picoliters laid down by an inkjet aren't going to conduct much of anything.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
I think we should wait for the TS to respond with more information.

For those who think inkjet inks are particulate free, that is not accurate. Some inks are based on dyes (defined here as a colored solution), but many use very fine pigments in a carrier. Albeit, the pigment particles are very small, e.g., less than 100 nm (See: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1010029021882#page-1). Note that article is from 1999.

A statement such as ,
" Suspended particles? Bad. Conductive? Bad."
simply lacks basis in fact. Can you provide some citations to support that? NB: There is no requirement that the ink itself as applied to the substrate be conductive. For example , the modified Tollens' reagent mentioned above is not appreciably conductive until the silver cations are reduced to elemental silver upon drying.

As for the high resistance of "conductive paint," that may be true for silver-colored paint bought at Home Depot, but conductive "paints" based on the Tollens' reaction have been made with conductivity that approaches that of pure silver.

John
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,135
A statement such as ,

simply lacks basis in fact.
The fact is, any but the finest particles will plug the jets. The fact is, some printers use electrostatics to accelerate the ink towards the paper. A conductive ink would be expected to interfere with this. The fact is, inkjet printers are designed around their ink technology; surface tension, viscosity, and on and on.

The fact is, the chances of successfully replacing the intended ink with a conductive paint is EXTREMELY low.

But by all means, go ahead and put some in YOUR printer and let us know how it went. ;)
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
I suggest you guys go to the Flexible Electronics Show in Phoenix. The guys at Epson have used their standard printers for printing silver nano-particle inks with excellent conductivity. These are not intended for power electronics but can surely light an LED and gain feedback from sensors, etc. Several other companies have used the Epson printers as the basis for their developments as well and were displaying at the tradeshow that is part of the technical show. Silver is best for printing because the oxidation product, silver oxide, is also conductive (albeit less than pure silver). flake is better than spheres and minimizing carrier resins helps too. The prints must be encapsulated very quickly after printing. It is very intersting to see a circuit printed on film, a button battery added , and two transistors glued to the circuit with conducive adhesive and an LED flashing. Two capacitors were printed with a pair of long spiralling traces to increase plate-to-plate area. The resistors were printed with long thin lines. All very interesting but still impractical. Some better technology is coming but it will not be cheap and it will not be done in your home. Circuits printed on film or paper by a newspaper-like roll-to-roll printing press will happen soon (2 to 5 years). Most likely first applications will be something surprisingly lame. Like a retail packaging outer layer with flashing lights that can be activated when the retailer removes them from the shipping carton.

Here is a start - first search result...
http://hackaday.com/2013/12/05/instant-inkjet-circuits-with-silver-nanoparticle-ink/
 

Gdrumm

Joined Aug 29, 2008
684
I'm with Elroy Jetson.
I want a Color HDTV printed on the back of my cereal box.

Is that too much to ask?

Good question from the OP.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
Thank you for those links.

And, I believe this JACS article describes the ink that is being used in those videos: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja209267c

That article came out in 2012 and created quite a bit of interest. It describes the chemistry I had in mind in the above comments. If you download the article, you will see it described as a variation of the Tollens' reagent. I was not aware that it had been reduced to practice for home printers, but I am not surprised.

John
 

ian field

Joined Oct 27, 2012
6,539
Hello,

Using other ink in the printer cartridge will give you problems.
Most likely the print head will be destroyed.

Bertus
The type of printer of which the heads are part of it - usually have a sponge bit in the cartridge so the ink doesn't just run out when its not in the printer - that would most likely filter out all the conductive particles.

Where the heads are integral with the cartridge - the conductive particles would clog the jets.

AFAICR; the most common conductive paints are epoxy based - you'd dissolve the cartridge before any set paint.

There have been articles in various magazines about the possibility of printing real circuits onto paper, but even if its got beyond the development stage - you won't find the consumables in any hardware store.
 

Thread Starter

JJoll

Joined May 7, 2013
49
I agree in general with the comments above, but there may be other considerations.

What type of inkjet printer are you using? It is important to know whether it is the HP type or Epson type cartridge. Is it designed for commercial or home use?
What type of "conductive ink" are you using. Is it simply conductive, or is it a reactive ink that gives a conductive product (i.e., a modified Tollens' reagent)?

John
sorry for the late reply,
I was planning to use my EPSON (NX115) printer that I am not currently using anymore, for this project. And the ink that I have is the Bare Conductive paint from Adafruit. https://www.adafruit.com/product/1306
I was also going to try some sort of silver nano ink as GopherT mentioned too.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
It is kind of hard to tell exactly what was done, but the reference to the patented method describes an in situ reduction of Ag+ to silver. That is very similar to the method I linked to above. The latter method uses formic acid. All the reaction products, except the metallic silver are volatile, and the reagents are relatively non-toxic.

One could also envision using similar chemistry to print a water-insoluble resist from a aqueous solution directly on a PCB for etching. That would circumvent the problems those who use Epson printers have had with dye solubility.

A difference I see that might affect results is whether the printer used thermal inkjet or piezoelectric to eject the tiny droplets of ink (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inkjet_printing). The thermal process may affect these reactive inks adversely, but that would need to be verified by testing. According to the Wikipedia link, Epson uses a piezoelectric ejection method, which at fist glance might be more suitable.

Good luck.

John
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
It is kind of hard to tell exactly what was done, but the reference to the patented method describes an in situ reduction of Ag+ to silver. That is very similar to the method I linked to above. The latter method uses formic acid. All the reaction products, except the metallic silver are volatile, and the reagents are relatively non-toxic.

One could also envision using similar chemistry to print a water-insoluble resist from a aqueous solution directly on a PCB for etching. That would circumvent the problems those who use Epson printers have had with dye solubility.

A difference I see that might affect results is whether the printer used thermal inkjet or piezoelectric to eject the tiny droplets of ink (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inkjet_printing). The thermal process may affect these reactive inks adversely, but that would need to be verified by testing. According to the Wikipedia link, Epson uses a piezoelectric ejection method, which at fist glance might be more suitable.

Good luck.

John
The epson style printers are the most common for ink formulators. Any mixture can be squirted out as long as the particle size is small enough. The piezo 'piston' is quite powerful and forgiving of formulation variations.

The heated chamber of the HP/Cannon is a mess as the vaporization process to form the micro bubble, the spatter of the bubble, the precipitation of solids as the bubble (vapor) causes the remaining solids to become more concentrated, the viscosity issues and corresponding lag in refilling the heating chamber... Most challenging is that most of these heated bubble printers use soluble dyes rather than solid pigments to make the color. Thus ruling out the elemental silver particle idea. If you want silver, it has to be a Tollens reagent/silver mirror process.
 
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