Extremely simple printed circuits

I was thinking of this theoretical circuit making system. I would get some sort of powdered or granular metal (possibly lead) and mix it with small amounts of water. Then I would fill the paste in an ink jet printer. Then I think it's as simple as just printing out the circuit. Maybe you would have to bake the print or maybe put it in a kiln to let the metal melt together.

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Skyfinity9 years ago
Wow Eric!...Awesome. That is really amazing. Unfortunatley, i'm not really sure any of us could get our hands on one of those Right now. Don't get me wrong, that's amazing, but Crash's idea is way more affordable and easy than heavy duty device. For Paste, i would use 1. Conductive paint, not sure where to buy but they definatley sell it 2. A strange mixture of Pencil graphite and glue. Graphite is conductive, right? 3.Molten iron, most unlikley of the three.
graphite is a VERY poor conductor
Graphite is used in high performance spark plug cables, about 8 ohms each. Poor perhaps, but plenty conductive.
Well, yeah, conductive paint or conductive glue is more realistic. Graphite does conduct though, and anyone who doubts should tell it to my friend's sister who thought it would be safe to stick pencils in sockets.
the reason she is alive is because it is a poor conductor, after about 2 - 3 inches all low voltages lose any effectiveness and fail to even complete a circuit. It can even be used as a make-shift dimmer/variable resistor.
Crash2108 (author) 10 years ago
Well, it was inspired by industrial manufacturing, but I was thinking for more of a home/hobbyist use.
I just have one problem....getting a fiberglass or glass piece to go down and around the platen :-)
westfw Crash210810 years ago
Perhaps "industrial inkjets are further from consumer inkjets than you think." Even assuming similar technology, industrial manufacturing is full of assumptions that don't apply to you and I. Things like "replace the inkjet heads after each 200 hours of operation, or after the printer has been shut down for more than an hour." (I don't know squat about industrial inkjets; that's just a guess...)
ewilhelm10 years ago
It's interesting that you're thinking about this. I spent about five years working on systems to do just this.

The main material I worked with was nanoparticle colloids of gold and silver. In nanoparticle form (with appropriate capping groups, typically thiols), the metals are soluble in some organic solvents and can be sintered together into conductive lines or thin films at low temperatures (300 C). This isn't quite low enough for paper, but it is low enough for glass and polyimide plastic.

Here's a video of an ink-jet printed rotary actuator printed on polyimide plastic that electrostatically (700 volts) moves a small piece of tissue paper around like a clock. It's 3-phase and utilizes printed insulators at the junctions where the phases cross.

Here's a video of an ink-jet printed heatuator:

I've also attached a paper that describes the whole process in detail.
Here's the file.
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