No more. This is not your Father's Printed Circuit Board.
The founders began experimenting with completely new ways to make circuits, and they turned to 3D printing technology for the answer.
They call it the EX¹.
After they'd tried all the conventional methods to create PCB's (milling, iron-on transfers and photo-resist), they were frustrated with both the speed and the end result of the processes. While the EX¹ printer is not designed to create any 3D object like normal 3D printers, it does do one thing well; 3D print circuit boards by layering silver nanoparticles onto paper or any suitable surface to rapidly create a circuit board.
Does it work? On that score the Public Has Spoken and their Kickstarter Campaign has blown up. The campaign has already reached its modest goal of $30,000 and blown past that figure to raise more than $100,000.
They say the EX¹ can print on a wide variety of substrates such as many types of plastic, glass, wood, ceramics, silicone, fabric and paper. Not content to stop there in their quest for material adaptations, the company is working to develop coatings to allow their machine to print on virtually any surface.
Perhaps the most intriguing capability of their machine is the ability to 3D print directly onto fabric. They do it like this: Two inkjet cartridges similar to the ones in your desktop printer print images on a substrate and lay down two different chemicals. When those two chemicals mix, a reaction occurs which produces silver nanoparticles and embeds a "silver image" on the target substrate.
Featuring a print area of 17.5 x 8cm (6.9 x 3.2in), the machine makes it possible to print boards large enough for many applications, and the desktop footprint of the machine, 17 x 12.6 x 6.7 inches, means it's roughly the same size as your 2D printer at home. It weighs in at a svelte 13.5 lbs, and you'd have to call that portable.
The included software allows for importing an image and clicking print but is also versatile enough to provide control over nearly every printing variable you might require. Included presets and tools make for easy entry into making electronics.
Using a combination of silver nitrate and ascorbic acid to make silver, the EX¹'s X Y plotter was designed in house to provide the necessary accuracy and speed.
You can check out their Kickstarter Campaign here...