The Voltera V-One electronic circuit board printer allows one to print an electronic circuit without having to go through the traditional etching methods.
Creating electronic circuit boards prototypes involves design and development, masking, etching, and populating the boards with the components. This is a delicate process that takes hours to complete and which a simple layout mistake can ruin that whole entire board – requiring one to repeat the whole process. But what if there is a simple system that can produce prototype circuit boards in a faster and less costly process? This is what V-One electronic circuit printer brings to the market.
How does V-One Electronic Circuit Board Printer Work?
According to its designers at Voltera, the V-One is designed to reduce the effort in rapid, small run hardware prototyping. The Voltera V-one printer uses conductive inks to lay down conductive traces. This is more economical compared to traditional industrial standards such as etching copper from copper plated substrates.
So how does a V-One work?,
To get a prototype, put a blank board or template board on the print platform, the software will import the design files that you have selected, and with only a click of a button, the printer does the rest of the work. It takes between 15 to 20 minutes to get a standard layout print.
Printing two layer electronic circuit using the V-One
This first conductive ink printer goes further than simply printing a single layer, it is capable of printing electrically-separated double layer circuits onto the industry standard circuit board substrates. For this to be done, you start by printing the first layer, and then swap the magnetically-attached print head that supplies the conductive ink with an insulating head. The second head is used dispenses an insulating material onto the first layer. To achieve this, a special software finds out where each of layer will overlap with the other, and applies an insulating substance in those places. Finally the conductive ink head is reattached and the software finishes applying the tracks of conductive ink on top of the insulating material.
The printer is also designed to automatically lay down solder paste on the pads to which components are attached and then solidify that paste by baking the board and hence reduce the cost of having boards populated with components.
Besides including the simple FR4 blank boards to print, the designers have also added the more useful templates for the common Arduino Uno and Mega development boards. And the team hopes to produce other standard templates. It’s expected that the first Voltera’s V-One electronic circuit board printer will be on sale come September 2015.