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making circuit boards on a 2D table

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by poor mystic, Jul 3, 2011.

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  1. poor mystic

    poor mystic

    Apr 8, 2011
    Hi, Everybody and Robotics People in particular :)
    Surely you could use a 2-dimensional positioning table, with a cutting head, to cut away copper on an unetched board and make a pcb.
    I wonder why nobody does this?
    You'd get a speedy result and good definition at a low price.
  2. daddles


    Jun 10, 2011
    Here are my guesses:

    1. It's slow compared to chemically etching a large board, as you can put large racks of boards into the chemicals (or sequentially dunk boards on a conveyor).

    2. Cutting forces might lift traces off the substrate.

    3. You probably couldn't economically get the quite fine spacing of lots of conductors that you can today. Even if you could, you'd be changing tool bits quite frequently and you'd need some optimization software to figure out the best cutting paths to minimize time.

    4. You can't make multilayer boards this way.

    5. The investment to get the same throughput of a chemical line would be orders of magnitude higher.

    That said, I think it might be a nice way for a hobbyist to get some boards, as throughput isn't typically much of a concern.
  3. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    You sure can.

    Look for packages that provide an HPGL output option, and this is typically used to drive these "plotters"

    It is used for quick prototype boards. The main problems are that it's slower to create many boards like this (but may be much faster to create just 1). You typically have to allow wider spacing between tracks too (we're talking about fine pitch surface mount devices -- unlikely to be an issue with most through-hole boards).
  4. poor mystic

    poor mystic

    Apr 8, 2011
    Thanks Steve and Daddles
    I'm just sort of clearing my mind of ideas I've had but haven't followed right through, you know? Clearing a bit of mental RAM.
    There are lots of ways we could be making ciruits up that have not been popularised.

    Another idea.
    You'd think people would be using 3D printers to make up circuits.
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