Spray Paint / Laser Cutter PCB
The homebrew PCB group has come up with an interesting method of very VERY
quickly making PCB's on a laser
Clean PCB blank and spray with black / dark paint.
Laser at low power / high speed to burn away paint around traces (isolation)
or raster for removal of larger areas. The Laser burns off the black paint,
but is reflected by the copper. This has been tested with a CO2 laser and
works very well. Fumes are, of course, a serious issue. Don't try this if
your Laser cutter exhaust is just filtered and released into the
Etch. The remaining paint protects the copper from the etchant, but where
the paint has been burned away, the copper is exposed and removed by the
etchant. Tested, works nicely.
Leave the paint in place over the traces (as soldermask) and Laser again
to burn away paint from solder pads. Tested, works nicely. In fact... spray
the etched board again with green paint (or whatever color) and laser that
clear off the pads for a really nice soldermask. Don't tell me the paint
can't manage the solder heat because there are very high temp paints.
New idea: If you etched out a hole in the center of each through hole pad,
by burning away the paint where you would normally drill, and if you have
a high enough power laser / take it slow, you might be able to laser cut
your holes through the FR4. (!!) This could even be extended to cutting out
the PCB from the blank, including complex shapes.
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<A HREF="http://techref.massmind.org/techref/pcb/etch/lasercutpaint.htm"> Spray Paint / Laser Cutter PCB Resist</A>
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