1378Views19Replies

Author Options:

Extremely simple printed circuits Answered

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.

Discussions

0
None
westfw

11 years ago

Neat stuff. Where can I get that nanoparticle silver and gold at reasonable prices? (that's supposed to be a joke!) OTOH, I don't think the original poster was talking about especially small scale printing. Direct circuit printing of PCBs with generous hobbyist design rules would be a neat thing... I've been very tempted to explore the limits of, say, graphite or conductive lampblack in elmer's glue. This is conductive when dry. Not VERY conductive, mind you. Nothing like silver, nickel, copper, or other things that show up in what people normally consider to be "conductive inks." I'd probably be looking at tens of ohms per inch or so. Maybe more. But modern low power CMOS logic shouldn't care much for digital; shucks, engineers pay extra for "bus" logic that has extra resistors in the output drivers. I built this circuit once where I left out a wire between an oscillator and an LED driver section; it worked fine if my finger bridged the gap... And it's awfully cheap; less than $10/lb for the carbon, and less than $10/gallon for the glue.

0
None
ewilhelm

11 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.
motors.jpg
0
None
Crash2108

11 years ago

Well, it was inspired by industrial manufacturing, but I was thinking for more of a home/hobbyist use.

0
None
westfwCrash2108

Reply 11 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...)

0
None
bigpinecone

11 years ago

that sounds like a great idea, i would try but i don't have an inkjet that i can do this with

0
None
westfw

11 years ago

Heh. Inkjet ink is harder than you think. Even with something like pen plotter, where you can handle much more viscous inks, it's pretty hard to do "real" PCB printing with conductive inks. the Conductive inks that DO exist tend to involve expensive metals (silver) and nasty solvents, and you still can't solder to them very well. Still, there are some things made this way; take apart a modern laptop keyboard, and you'll find mylar film printed with conductive traces. You still can't solder to it (which is a big problem in general, but not for the keyboards), but it does seem to work.

0
None
Crash2108

11 years ago

Why does it say I like sock monkeys and S hooks when clearly I don't?