pcb-pool PCB Printer
- Epson Stylus Photo R800
- Reset-chip mod - you can ignore empty-ink warnings
- All ink cartridges except for the black ones are empty
- Special heat-drying ink for use as etch resist (Tritron N-GEN XN 00070 Black, Info)
- Cleaner (Technolit TR-200, Safety Datasheet)
- Primer (PPA5, CATS+)
- PPA5 is 95% Ethanol with some chemicals to make the ink stick.
- Primers are made specifically for Tritron ink.
- Alternatively use a mix of Ethanol with a pinch of Glycerin.
- Adjust workflow: do not swipe but dab alternative primer onto board.
- Clean the copper plate
- Put a thin coat of PPA5 primer onto board using a lint-free cloth. Alternative: CATS+ primer.
- Either mount a full A4 sheet of copper clad board directly into the printer or use the special holding tray to print on smaller boards.
- Start printer and let the printer head settle in the ready position
- Open the front tray a few centimeters and _gently_ pull upwards, then completely fold down.
Note: This does not work if the head is moving or is in the position to exchange ink cartridges.
- Make sure there's enough free room behind the printer so the PCB or PCB holding tray does not hit any obstacles.
Prepare Software & Drivers
- Install standard Epson driver for this printer (obtainable here)
- Select paper source: „CD/DVD“
- Select paper type: „Premium glossy photo paper“
- For holding tray adapter wide end
- For holding tray adapter narrow end
- For full-size A4 printing
- Load board or tray into printer and align with the two triangle markers on the front tray. Put tray into the very right corner.
- Push the paper / trash can button
- Printer should pull the board (or tray) in and keep it in.
Note: Since you're directly printing onto the copper, you might have to mirror the layer again if it was mirrored for using the toner transfer or photo transfer method. Note: The design will be printed to the bottom right of the board if you're looking at the printer.
There's also a YouTube video of a PCB being printed.
Anmerkung: Falls es Probleme mit dem Tray-Einzug gibt, liegt dies mit großer Wahrscheinlichkeit an zu wenig Platinenmaterial. Als Work-Around kann man z.B. eine größere Platine irgendwo ins Tray kleben, damit es ein wenig beschwert und möglichst waagerecht eingezogen wird.
Fixing the Print
- Bake PCB in oven at 150C for 6 to 7 minutes.(170 for 8 min.) (170C for 6minutes work too)
- do not bake for too long, or your etch resist print will begin to boil and then flake off while inside the oven.
- However, not baking it long enough will result in the ink not sticking to the board and flaking off while inside the etching bath. This one is actually worse, because you will screw up the bath.
- Alternative: use a heat-gun
- very imprecise
- the bigger the layout, the higher the probability of not heating it equally, the higher the probability of ink flaking off inside the bath.
Anmerkung: Oft bekommen die Platinen eine leichte Wölbung. Um diese zu vermeiden, kann man die Platine nach dem Fixieren mit dem Druck nach unten auf ein Aluminium-Blech legen und von oben beschweren. Die Platine kühlt schnell ab und behält ihren Zustand.
Use your favourite method to etch the board. You might want to check out the etchbath documentation. For fine structures, use Fe3Cl! The ink-based soldermask gets lifted off the copper by NaPS and flakes off way before the etching is done.
Cleaning off etch resist
To remove the etch resist use the caramel brown fluid in the bottle labelled 'Cleaner' (the one with the strong but pleasant [for toxic values of pleasant] smell) aka Technolit TR-200. Put solution on a lint-free cloth and rub the etch resist off. It can also help to allow the cleaner to soak into the etch resist for a while before starting to rub. Don't use the paper towels unless you need to – they will soak up the cleaner, so you'll end up using way more than you need. It helps if you keep the rest of PCB surface covered in cleaner while you concentrate on another spot – it will start dissolving the ink and you'll have an easier time rubbing it off when you get to it.
To prevent the exposed copper from oxidizing (makes soldering difficult and looks crappy) you can tin the whole board. An easy way to do this is setting up a chemical tinning solution and just drop the cleaned board into the solution for around two (2) minutes. More details in the chemical_tinning documentation.