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Jean-Baptiste Labrune and his research group at MIT’s Tangible Media Group have been experimenting with using a laser cutter to turn ordinary materials into printed circuit boards (PCBs). They have a clever process for making the traces. Since it is very difficult to cut metal with a laser, they can’t start with a solid sheet of metal material and burn away the parts that they don’t want. Instead, they put a piece of masking tape over the material that they want to make traces on, then use the laser to burn off the tape in places where they want metal to be. Finally, they use a paintbrush to apply conductive paint into the newly cut grooves, and remove the masking tape mask.They’ve got some more photos of the process in a Flickr set. [thanks, Akiba!]


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