This looks great! Draw your own circuits –
Apply instant traces on most surfaces (epoxy, glass, plastic, metal). Draw traces on circuit boards, repair defective traces, make jumpers and shield electronics, design prototype circuits and repair rear-window heater traces.
CircuitWriter conductive ink pen – Link.
26 thoughts on “CircuitWriter conductive ink & pen”
Am I the only one dreaming of filling an inkjet with this and printing PCBs directly? Or painting it inside drilled holes to make plated through holes?
A pen plotter could be easily converted to use this stuff, and it would be a lot easier to drop a piece of plastic under a plotter than it would be to modify the paper feed of an inkjet.
I’ve asked about these products on forums like Yahoo!’s Homemade PCB Forum (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Homebrew_PCBs/)
Apparently they are only good for repairing PCB’s, not for creating them.
The pen version has been available at Radio Shack for years. The problem is, it only has a shelf life of one year. Of course the one I bought was dried up.
A thought occurs: Embossing Powder. I remember back home we’d lay down a thin layer of glue, dust it with powder, then use a lighter to melt the low-melting-point powder into a shiny metallic look.
I don’t know what metal you’d use (tin? ground up solder?) but it seems you might make a slurry of that and alcohol, then use your solder re-flow toaster oven to melt the traces into function…
@TMR: Solder paste, maybe? It’s basically little solder beads in a gooey medium. If not actual solder paste, something along the same lines. Getting it to stick to the bare board may be tough.
The pens only have a year shelf-life? Dang. I bought one a couple of years ago but have yet to use it.
I got some of this on clearence a while back. It works great for fixing pcb and solarcell traces.
I too dream of simple circuit construction. I keep getting the feeling that I’m overlooking a simpler method, but still it all comes down to etching.
hmm . . . there’s always circuit tape
Spiffed, I wish it was as simple as laser print out your circuit on paper. lay flat, sprinkle on copper powder bake but copper powder that fine turns to copper oxide in air. :( You can make copper powder that fine with salt, copper sulfate, water and *slowly* adding small pieces of aluminum foil to it with good ventilation. Even if you leave the powder in the water the stuff will oxidize. Boo. Maybe silver would work but the expense is appalling.
Those pens leave a highly fragile coating based on my use. I think they use acrylic. The nickle stuff by GC electronics is slightly better.
Get some good quality epoxy and some silver plated copper powder and an applicator syringe with a large enough diameter ‘needle’ to allow it to flow.
“Long Pot Life” is your mantra. You can draw the circuit and embed the leads in it. Not perfect by any means but cool. It won’t take solder at all.
Apply instant traces on most surfaces (epoxy, glass, plastic, metal).
Wouldn’t putting a trace on metal be a bit redundant? The only use I could see is if it were powder-coated or Plasti-dipped or something.
I sell this stuff at the electronics store that I work at. It is only good for repairing traces. If one of the traces gets scratched or you don’t want to solder an SMD component…
I used this stuff a few years ago to basically draw out a guitar pedal circuit (tremelo). It’s held up well since then, but then, the case is also a SS junction box, so it’s pretty well protected.
So yoU CAN use it to draw out a circuit, but it doesn’t flow very well, and because of the nozzle design, traces are wider than you’d want, although definitely low enough resistance for signal. I can’t remember whether I hard-wired the power…Anyway, baking it (I did it at 100ÂºC i think) helped cure the stuff hard. There is some more/serious talk about this stuff on teh diystomboxes forum/archives.
also, there are conductive inks out there made with metalic nanoparticles that can be ink-jetted, but it’s a MAJOR pain in the ass to do, and it costs…a LOT.
does anyone know where exactly I can find the stuff that aaron is talking about on the diystomboxes forum.
I searched for it but could not find it. Could someone post a link please.
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