Budget 3D Printer Becomes PCB Etching Machine

YouTuber Marco Reps will make a handful of Do it yourself modifications to his Cetus 3D printer, turning it into a laser engraver that can etch .two-mm PCB traces.

It all begun when YouTuber Marco Reps commenced planning his Cetus 3D printer for the addition of a heated mattress. Which is when he seen an additional transistor on the motherboard…

A handful of Do it yourself modifications afterwards and he experienced turned his funds 3D printer into a PCB etching equipment. The greatest adjust was the addition of a laser module to the print head.

Aimed at a pre-sensitized photoresist board, the laser exposes the topmost layer to the circuit’s sample. The board is then formulated to clean absent all but the wanted traces and footprints. Employing this system, minimal energy is necessary.

In purchase to repair the laser module to the print head, Marco intended and 3D printed a personalized holder. With a trace of humor in his voice, he provides:

“Had I employed double-sided adhesive tape alternatively of printing the holder, this would have been no extra than 5 minutes of work…”

How to Develop a PCB Etching Device

Following identifying the additional transistor on the Cetus’ motherboard, Marco shortly discovered it was attached to a spare connector on the print head. Controllable with G-code, its function is to accommodate manually extra components, like a laser engraver!

It just so took place that Marco experienced previously bought a laser module for an future video clip. It includes a 400-nm 300-mW laser diode — great for exposing pre-sensitized photoresist.

However the module arrived geared up with a non-excellent energy source. The primary frequent present resource would have essential time to change on and off, and Marco necessary the laser to do so promptly.

The alternative? A 10-Ohm resistor!

The moment all important modifications were being built and the equipment was all set, Marco resolved to “jump in at the deep end”. His first demo was a breakout board with .two-mm traces.

Though the traces and footprints turned out perfectly, the traces appeared not to be straight. This he attributed to vibrations brought about by substantial print pace and weighty mass in the print head.

In the engraver’s next operate, Marco quantified its efficiency with a check format. The success were being just about great SMT footprints down to 0402 and trustworthy traces down to .two mm.

Marco remarks on the altered equipment with its extra ingredient:

“In my knowledge, warning labels are indicators of very good equipment, so this printer is having greater and greater.”

Marco Reps is a YouTuber from northern Germany. In his substantial-high quality films, which function a refreshing model of humor, he explores, modifies, and repairs new and aged digital tools.

Resource: Hackaday

Trace results: SMT footprints and an "absolutely gorgeous" zebra
Trace success: SMT footprints and an “absolutely gorgeous” zebra

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