Dec 16, 2013

Cartesian Co EX¹ desktop electronic circuits printer




From Kickstarter descrption:
The Cartesian Co. printer EX¹ transforms electronics and prototyping in the same way that 3D printing has made things possible that were inconceivable even 5 years ago.
The EX¹ printer is not designed to create any 3D object like normal 3D printers. It’s been crafted and designed for one key purpose, to allow you to 3D print circuit boards, layering silver nano particles onto paper or any suitable surface to rapidly create a circuit board. In 2011, an article in Wired said that within two years 3D printers could print electronic circuits. Two years to the day, we’re announcing the EX¹, a printer that allows you to rapidly 3D print circuit boards.
The process is as easy as clicking File > Print. This lets you create electronics, just as you've envisioned - wearable electronics, paper circuits, printed computers or whatever you imagine. A 3D printer creates the objects of your imagination; the EX¹ lets you create the electronics of your imagination.
Wearable circuits

One capability of the EX¹ we're really excited about is the ability to print straight onto fabric. Anyone who has used conductive thread will tell you how frustrating it is when the thread breaks but you can't find the break! With the EX¹ you can print circuits straight onto the material of your choice.

How it works

The reason we created the EX¹ is simple; we got sick of making PCBs by hand. We got so sick we set out to find a way to make circuits quickly and effortlessly.
The basic principle of operation is simple. Two inkjet cartridges similar to the ones in your desktop printer print images on a substrate, but instead of ink they lay down two different chemicals. When these two chemicals mix, a reaction occurs to produce silver nano particles, leaving a silver image on the substrate.

After a year of working on the EX¹ we believe we've finally created a printer that will allow people to design and make radically new things. With a print area of 17.5 x 8cm (6.9 x 3.2in) you'll be able to print boards well above the size of what you can design in the free version of Eagle. At a size of 43 X 32 X 17cm (17 x 12.6 x 6.7in) its roughly the same size as your Canon or Epson printer at home. Weighing in at only 6kg (13.5lb) it's very portable and will be perfect to take to work or your local hackerspace.

Software

How hard is it to use your home printer or office photocopier? Not hard (we hope), and that's exactly what we've aimed for with our software.
But of course printing electronics isn't exactly the same as printing a cute baby photo. We give you complete flexibility with our software, anything from just importing an image and clicking print, all the way through to having control over every printing variable.
We've included presets and tools to make getting into making electronics as easy as possible, while at the same time allowing experienced pros to push the boundaries of what can be done.

Materials

As well as making it easy for people to create complex circuits we wanted to make it easier to put them together. You can always solder the circuits but if you're not at that stage yet we've been successfully using conductive glues that's as easy as finger painting. In fact, when you use it with a paper circuit it almost IS finger painting!
We're developing new ways of treating and coating everyday materials to be printed on, so there's nothing holding you back from creating whatever your heart desires.
The materials you can print onto is only half of the equation. Equally important are the inks you're using to do so. We're actively working on new ink formulations and processes to ensure using your printer is as easy and reliable as possible.

The inks we are using are very safe and we won't be gouging you for refills like some printer companies out there (we hate that too!).

I expected more DIY solutions for electronic circuit printing until now. Maybe they will come in future. This product will also compete with small DIY cnc mills / routers that can cut out PCB boards.

Company page:

http://www.cartesianco.com/

They finished successful Kickstarter:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cartesianco/the-ex1-rapid-3d-printing-of-circuit-boards

Here they demonstrate printed electronic circuits on 3d printed PLA:





Working electronic circuit printed on paper

Printed wearable electronic circuit