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Direct to PCB InkJet Resist Printing

In CD/DVD printing trays

Some inkjet printers are designed to print on materials about the thickness of a PCB and even have a carrier to hold the stock: CD/DVD printers! The Epson 260/280 will even print over the hole in the middle if you set the paper source to "Sheet" but insert the CD tray anyway. It's possible to use the 260/280 driver with the T50 by simply ignoring (repeatedly) the warnings that you have the wrong device. The CD Tray can be modified to remove the spindle holder and even to "square" out the cd shape to hold up to a 3" long PCB as long as you don't change the small holes around the CD area in the tray which the printer uses to sense the tray position.

rdheiliger says:

On this printer {ed: and all 200 series Epson's} there is an APG (Automatic Platen Gap) system. The print head is raised or lowered depending on the media selected. There is also a Platen Gap adjustment. I raised this adjustment to its max position. By selecting CD as the media type the "APG" system raises the print head automatically...

As it turns out the paper sensor is mounted in the print head. The paper sensor checks for the holes around the CD it self. These looked to me like finger holes to remove the CD from the tray after printing. But the paper sensor checks for these holes. Likely to make sure the CD is seated properly, and/or that the CD is in the tray at all. I found that a 3 x 4 " board centered in the tray satisfies the checks the paper sensor makes. The 4 inches must be oriented to the width of the printer. All the notches, holes and white spots on the CD tray must be there, and as Myc notes the leading edge must be tapered to help raise the paper hold down rollers. There is also a tab that extends from the front of the CD tray that is important in the sensing process. One other note, Spare CD trays can be found on ebay for not many $.

Myc says:

I followed up on Richard's post using a unmodified EPSON R220 for the "Toner Dusting" process. The EPSON R200 series will print directly on CDs. With a little dremel work on the CD tray to square off the circle, I was able to run an EAGLE sized (3" x4") 0.040" [thick or 1oz] pcb. Worked great!

You an make a slightly smaller board with no modfication to the CD tray. [ed: You should be able to print directly from your CAD software. Select your printer, then in Printer Properties, select DVD. The Source must be set to CD Tray}

I know from my discussions with Richard that he runs his boards through the printer twice with excellent registration to add extra ink. I found the premium CD setting worked for me.

rdheiliger says:

When setting up the R280 to print in the CD/DVD tray, under Paper Options do the following:

Choose Sheet as the paper source, even if you are using the CD tray. This will allow Dip Trace to position the board where you want it. A bit of experimentation will get you the position needed for the center of the CD tray. If the CD tray is inserted it will still print to the CD tray even with the source set to Sheet. The software they send to print to CD's is a pain in the *@# to use. You don't need to worry about the hole, it will print right across that spot.

Choose CD/DVD Premium Surface for the paper type. This will give the highest ink output.

Be aware when moding the tray that the holes that look like finger holes to remove the CD need to remain open, and not covered by a board. If these holes are covered the printer will kick the tray back out without printing. This is why the boards can not be more than ~3" in the direction of feed. I made a cardboard CD, then cut a 3 x4 " rectangular hole in the center of the cardboard CD. Then glued the cardboard into the CD tray, after cutting the CD hole clips out of the tray. You can then just drop 3 x 4 boards into the tray and get repeatable printing.


Bob Dring VK2SKM reports that his Epson T50 printer will not print over the CD hole, but he found a work around and found a way to edit the ink color used and prevent mixing:

My method,

1. Print the artwork to a file [checking print to file box in the printer setup screen]

2. Edit file with Hexedit [as shown below] (has search and replace) [or 010 Editor by SweetScape, or any other binary editor]

3. Print file with Prnprint

Remember that you have to setup the printer to print to a sheet or you will have a hole in the image. Then you can modify the file to select DVD. To do this search for the string 'REMOTE1' there is more than one but you want the one with the PP command in it. Change the 01 FF to 02 01. In the same REMOTE1 block change the TI command from 37 13 to be 2F 16. Change the colour to suit as explained earlier. Remember this all applies to the T50 and probably the Artisan 50. You could do similar changes to other Epsons. Rat around in the file and compare the differences between one made for sheet and one made for DVD. I'm sure that the same applies to a R280 as I was using this driver with my T50 at first.

Assuming that you have black and white image and you want to use a single ink colour. You can replace the hex string '1b 69 00 01 02' with '1b 69 XX 01 02' wherever it is detected in the print data stream. Note XX is the desired printer ink colour:-

00 Black
01 Magenta
02 Cyan
04 Yellow
11 Light Magenta
12 Light Cyan

using this method you can put the resist or other special inks in whichever cartridge you want and modify the data stream to suit. This method doesn't mix inks at all and the print is a pure colour.

Note: Rather than use the special MISPRO inks, some people have had success with simply dusting the PCB with laser toner or paint powder immediatly after printing. The dust sticks to the wet ink and can then be melted into an effective resist. See... Hybrid Toner/InkJet resist 

See also:


file: /Techref/pcb/etch/inkjetCDtray.htm, 7KB, , updated: 2014/8/13 14:35, local time: 2017/11/23 23:17,
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