tag 标签: printer

  • 热度 24
    2014-12-30 22:31
    1832 次阅读|
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    My chum Javi in Spain sent me an email several days ago. "Have you heard about Voltera ( VolteraInc.com )? It's a Canadian company that is going to offer desktop-size PCB printers for fast prototype development," the email said.   Well, of course, I immediately bounced over to Voltera's website to take a peek, and I have to say that -- at first glance -- this does look rather tasty. Details on the site are somewhat sketchy, but it does say that this little beauty will be able to take you by the Gerbers take your Gerbers and print dual-layer boards on FR4 with 10mil space/trace.   Initially, I assumed "dual-layer" meant double-sided, but I'm not 100% sure. Maybe it prints two conductive layers with an insulating layer in between. I'm trying to get in contact with Voltera to learn more.   The machine also features a solder paste dispenser. You can use it to dispense solder paste on to boards you print using this machine or boards that were created using traditional fabrication techniques.   Last but certainly not least, this machine boasts a reflow capability -- a 550W heater allows you to skip the hassle of hand soldering and reflow your components.   On reflection, I'm now thinking that this really is intended to create "dual-layer" rather than "double-sided" boards. If this is the case, why stop at only two layers? Why not support more?   Alternatively, if the machine can be used to create double-sided boards, why is there no mention of NC drill capability?   From my point of view, the Voltera website is tempting but elusive. It hints at the joys to come without tying down any of the nitty-gritty details that I desire. Maybe you can take a look and see if I have missed anything.   Is this the sort of thing you would use? I have a lot of friends who work exclusively with surface-mount components -- even for their hobby projects. For myself, however, I'm still a through-hole component man, so I would drool over a desktop machine that could print (or otherwise create) double-sided plated-through boards. What say you?
  • 热度 26
    2014-7-22 17:26
    1674 次阅读|
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    Several days ago, I got a rather cheery email from Joshua R. Perk starting, "Hey Max, I love the work you do, so I thought I might write."   He certainly started off on the right foot (LOL). Joshua went on to say: "We've created the first desktop circuit board printer that makes it easy for any maker to etch circuits at home. We're Kickstarting, and would love to hear your feedback." Of course, I immediately bounced over to Joshua's Kickstarter page to feast my orbs on his BreadBox desktop circuit board printer .   Unusually for me, I can keep this short and sweet. My immediate feedback for Joshua is "I want one!" As he points out in this video , the maker community is booming. Microcontroller development boards like the Arduino and the Raspberry Pi are really affordable, thereby allowing us to do all sorts of interesting things. However, when it comes to implementing homegrown circuits, most of us are limited to using solderless breadboards.   Ideally, once we have a prototype working, like the breadboard on the lefthand side of the image below, we'd like to transfer it to a professional-looking printed circuit board (PCB), like the one on the righthand side of the image.   Joshua R. Perk shows a PCB created using the BreadBox desktop printer.   A variety of low-volume PCB services are available to us, but they aren't cheap if you are doing a lot of this sort of thing. Also, it can take several weeks before you get your board(s) back in your hand. The thought of a desktop PCB printer is certainly appealing.   Initially, I had dreams that you would be able to upload a standard design file to the BreadBox via a USB connection, press the "Go" button, and sit back while it printed your design, etched the copper, and drilled the holes for you. I'm sorry to relate that life is not quite so sweet. As you'll see in the Kickstarter video, it's up to you to draw or transfer your design to the bare board. Then you use the BreadBox for the etching, after which you'll still have to drill the holes through the board.   Even so, this is nothing to be sneezed at. Etching your own boards in the family's Pyrex cooking dishes is problematic at best (and the chemicals tend to smell really bad). The great thing about the BreadBox is that Joshua and his team have performed loads of experiments to get everything just so.   As Joshua says on his Kickstarter page, the project's backers went out to get "some of the best minds we could lay our hands on" (which certainly gives one pause for thought). As a result, after you've poured in the chemicals and pressed the "Go" button, the BreadBox handles things like timing, mixing the chemicals, and agitation to produce a really professional looking, predictable, and repeatable board.   All I know is that I would love to have one of these little beauties sitting on my desk right now. What say you?
  • 热度 26
    2013-11-13 19:17
    1311 次阅读|
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    Over the past few weeks, I've been part of a few online discussions about creating low-cost PCB prototypes. Most of these conversations have involved sending one's design files to a manufacturer that specialises in small, affordable runs, but what if you could create your own PCBs using a small desktop printer? Well, my colleague, Janine Love, just pointed me at a really interesting Kickstarter project for the E1 Desktop PCB Printer . This little rascal is essentially an inkjet printer with two cartridges. Instead of ink, these cartridges contain two different chemicals. When these chemicals come onto contact with each other, a reaction occurs resulting in highly conductive traces formed from silver nanoparticles.   In a way, this is similar in concept to printing with conductive ink, but the idea of combining two different chemicals provides some nuances. As an aside, the idea of using conductive inks is a lot older than many people suppose. In fact, as I wrote in my book Bebop to the Boolean Boogie : The great American inventor Thomas Alva Edison had some ideas about connecting electronic circuits together. In a note to Frank Sprague, founder of Sprague Electric, Edison outlined several concepts for printing additive traces on an insulating base. He even talked about the possibility of using conductive inks (it was many decades before this technology—which is introduced later in this chapter—came to fruition). But we digress... I don't know about you, but my head is buzzing with all of the things I could create if I had one of these little scamps sitting on my desk.   Close up of a surface mount circuit printed directly onto paper. To the best of my knowledge, this Kickstarter project has been running for only a few days as I pen these words, but they've already met their goal. To be honest, I think they set their goal of $30,000 way too low—I would have targeted ten times that amount because it seems to me that there is a huge demand for this sort of thing. On the other hand, there are still 28 days to go, and the news is only just starting to spread, so (if I were a betting man) I would be prepared to be that they actually blow past ten times their original goal. I'm so happy to see young folks come up with something like this. Two of the inventors—Ariel Briner and Isabella Stephens—are still students, while their colleague—John Scott—recently earned his Bachelor's degree.  
  • 热度 21
    2013-3-13 18:40
    1619 次阅读|
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    Let's look at an interesting patent issued in 2003. Before I give it all away, I want you to think about your mouse – yes, the one connected to your computer, not the one running around the floor. Now think about what other functions you may want to integrate with your mouse. As the music for Jeopardy is playing in your mind – I hope you wrote down – printer! Now this is not from some mad inventor who just happened to notice that nobody had done this yet – this is from Casio! Abstract: A mouse device for use as an input device of a computer is provided that includes a housing in which recording paper is loadable, and a printer unit provided within the housing for printing on the recording paper print information received from the computer. The printer unit includes a paper loading section in which the recording paper is loaded, a platen roller for feeding the recording paper loaded in the loading section, a print head for printing on the recording paper fed by the platen roller, and a discharge port through which the recording paper is discharged after printing by the platen roller out of the housing while taking a substantially vertical attitude.   Now, I am intrigued. What is recording paper? Does this distinguish it from paper that somehow cannot be written on. The only clue we get is in claim 9 that states—The mouse device according to claim 1, wherein: said print head comprises a thermal head; and the recording paper comprises heat-sensitive paper that is coloured by heat produced by said thermal head. Maybe this might be more useful as a label maker or something like that but maybe someone already beat them to the Dymo/mouse combination. Brian Bailey  
  • 热度 26
    2011-9-7 22:54
    2085 次阅读|
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    Recently, we lost electricity at the house, an experience I am sure you have all had. When it came back on a few hours later (what a relief), it was as if the house had come alive—both figuratively and literally. I say this because as power came back, there were all sorts of "hello, I'm here" beeps and sounds emanating from every corner, from the PCs, the printer, the cordless phones, the TV, the VCR (yes, we still have that!), the answering machine, the microwave, the stove, the cable modem, various clocks, and more. It was as if each of these had just been born, and was demanding parental attention. And some of them really needed it: there were clocks to reset, PCs to reinitialize, settings to restore; the list went on. As I went around taking care of them, all I could think of was Mary Shelley's classic book Frankenstein where the protagonist of the title creates artificial life, who we have come to know as the "monster" (don't want to read the book? You can also enjoy the classic 1931 movie version with Boris Karloff). There's an eerie parallel between the house's awakening and the monster's: in the book, the monster is brought to life by a bolt of lightning which comes from a rod on the roof to the lab where the experiment is under way. Sounds sort of like having the AC mains come on, in a way.... The AC-power cycling was like a creature coming to life, for sure. But it also reminded me that engineers should fully, thoroughly exercise and verify random power-off/power-on cycling of their products for every operating mode and scenario. Most of us have seen products which crashed when power failed, and had to be manually power-cycled few times to restart them—and have even seen some which failed outright when the power failure or restart occurred at just the wrong moment. So I'll deal with my personal "creature" coming back to life, and you can help by doing thorough job of designing and checking the cycling of the ones with which you're involved, please. Even if your product has a back-up battery, it too can run down, of course, or need special consideration. Have you ever experienced "bad behavior" due to random power cycling?  
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