Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Screen printing PCBs

It's official - making a homebrew screen from a bit of left-over silk, stapled to a picture frame and masked with pound-shop parcel tape, not only works, but works really well! On our frame we had a stencil of the pcb tracks, and a stencil for the solder mask. We started by covering one half of the screen with parcel tape...


... then swiped some acrylic paint over the other half of the screen:


In seconds we had a dozen or more perfectly printed PCBs (on test paper admittedly, not copper board, but it proved the concept)


Knowing we could now rattle out PCBs quickly and easily, the next thing to do was make sure the second print lined up with the first. Here we used red acrylic instead of the expensive solder mask paint:


They actually lined up pretty good. Not perfect (but then the screen wasn't fully taught and the board was lined up by eye) but not bad at all. It'd make a perfectly workable PCB!


All in all, we're calling our screen-printing test a success.
We got a screen made and using acrylic paint, quickly and easily printed a number of circuit boards in seconds. When it comes to making batches of PCBs with the same design, this is definitely something we want to use, in place of sending designs off to China!