laser engraver for direct PCB zapping
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laser engraver for direct PCB zapping

by bluecoast on Thu Dec 21, 2006 8:31 pm


do you think a laser engraver (let's say 100W) would be of any use actually removing copper from PCBs?

Do you think it would remove conductive paint from some other substrate?

You use it for making stencils, right... do you think you could make flex with
it too, or again would the copper be the issue?

I know LPKF makes laser machines but they don't specify the wattage, and I'm not sure if they're for drilling or what.

Thanks a million.
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by adafruit on Fri Dec 22, 2006 2:40 am

well you need superhigh power to remove copper and even then, its very difficult. one thing we might try with the laser cutter ive got is doing photoresist WITHOUT a mask by 'exposing' the mask directly w/laser @ 600DPI. if so: ultra high precision without ironing/transfers/UV boxes/milling/etc.

stay tuned for our experiments! :)

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by infliv on Wed Jan 17, 2007 2:45 pm

Any updates on direct writing to the photo resist on pcbs?

I've been daydreaming about this for a while now, and the advent of (pay and pray) sub $2000 chinese laser cutters is tempting me.

I've also been wondering about the ablation of thin film Indium Tin Oxide deposits from glass and PET film, it's a sophisticated industrial manufacturing process with lots of fancy machines normally. I wonder if a C02 IR style laser like the ones in your epliog would work.
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by adafruit on Wed Jan 17, 2007 6:04 pm

this weekend, if parts come in!

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by Jeromelab on Fri Mar 30, 2007 8:51 am

I would like to know if this is working, I am tempted by chinese laser as well! :)
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by adafruit on Fri Mar 30, 2007 2:17 pm

we tried it out, it was 'ok' but not as good as toner transfer (yet)

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by darus67 on Sat Oct 13, 2007 10:13 pm

Aren't most photoresist materials UV sensitive?

What wavelength is your laser, LadyAda?

What issues did you see that made the process only "OK"?
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by adafruit on Sun Oct 14, 2007 12:45 pm

i dont know the wavelenght, actually...that would be a good research project for you :)

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by scoopin on Fri Oct 19, 2007 6:46 am

well we know red laser will burn black good.. im thinking argon green just a thaut.. i pulled a red laser out of a banned burner and i put direct 3v to the diode and got 200mw out of it... i engraved black tires over a 2 foot range...i think this is a kool idea to etch or own pc board's useing laser's.......i can do some testing on this and let you all know what it might take to do this.....
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CO2 Laser Wavelength

by schmarki on Tue Jan 08, 2008 12:27 pm

ladyada wrote:i dont know the wavelenght, actually...that would be a good research project for you :)

Industrial CO2 Lasers usually have around 10 µm wavelength. Not visible to human beings before blinded by them...
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Re: laser engraver for direct PCB zapping

by nick_de on Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:38 pm

any results concerning the use of laser cutters for pcb making?
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Re: laser engraver for direct PCB zapping

by johnyq on Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:45 am

Copper is the most reflective material commonly available used to make mirrors for the
10.6 micron wavelength of the CO2 laser. Nothing is less practical to cut than copper but many KW might do it. Aluminum reflects well and cuts poorly too. Highly reflective materials may damage the laser or laser optics too. I do use a CO2 laser for PCB serial numbering by cutting the solder mask
and that works great.

I have given up on making PCBs except for simple ones on a CNC mill because Advanced Circuits in
Colorado does a great job for under a $150. You get 5 6 x 10 panels for that with as many as boards
that you can fit on them. We order from them every few weeks. Usually 2 layers but sometimes 4 layer.

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Re: laser engraver for direct PCB zapping

by salsaman on Wed Jun 09, 2010 6:04 pm

There's an Instructable on making PCB's using a laser engraver, sort of like a reverse toner transfer: ... ser-Cutte/
Instead of trying to burn off the copper, the laser burns off black spray paint applied to the copper-- clever! It then needs to be etched, but it should allow for thinner traces than toner transfer. And if the copper clad is nice and rectangular, it should be possible to do a double-sided board with pretty high precision, using a cutout to position the board.

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Re: laser engraver for direct PCB zapping

by 250 Coupe on Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:14 pm

I tried both spray paint and red poly masking tape from Laserbits and both attempts failed. I could see where it might work but I was in a hurry and didn't want to mess around with it too much.

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