27C3 File->Print->Electronics

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At 27C3 I gave a talk about inkjet printing PCB's. Over the last few months I've been working on reverse engineering the printhead from an Epson Stylus S21 to get it to print molten wax.

As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at CCC. Thanks to everyone who came to my talk, asked questions, gave me suggestions and feedback. 

Slides are available here , and.

My talk is up on youtube here


 

 

Submitted by jeff on Sat, 01/01/2011 - 13:53.

Just watched your talk on

Just watched your talk on youtube, and it's interesting, and inspiring stuff. I'm downloading the slides now, but they appear to be terribly large -- 36MB -- and are not downloading terribly swiftly. Could you tell me, please, what the URL for the UV LED + fiberoptic + plotter printer is? Edit: Finished downloading. The URL given in the slide 404s.
I'm also awaiting with bated breath more information on your inkjet hacks, and why you abandoned the laser printer, which seemed to be producing good results. I expect, though, that those are coming, given the way you seem to write.
Have you seen http://reprap.org/wiki/Reprappable-inkjet?

Thanks!

Hi, thanks for your

Hi, thanks for your interest. The UV pen plotter's full URL is here: http://francois.dubrulle.pagesperso-orange.fr/aproposdemoi/index.html Not much info, though. I did speak to another guy in the audience who had made his own with a bluray laser. Pretty simple really, just stick the laser onto a pen plotter! He mentioned that some optical fibre (presumably polymer stuff, glass should be fine) absorbs a lot of UV, so move the laser around for best results.

Have seen the reprap inkjet, yep. Pretty cool, but it really is trivial to make your own single-nozzle low res inkjet. I'm interested in the Epson ones for higher speed and much higher resolution.

Cheers!
Jeff

I like your site and will

I like your site and will visit often. Thank you. Gregory from his website about the touch screen laptop, the laptop computer equipped with a useful touch screen.

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Could you share printing

Could you share printing head pinout (and some of sniffed data) ? I have the same printer but without cardriges.
In the talk you showed piezo waveform with only one actuating shape, but I found that head can use more, have you tried it ?

Yep, will get some info up

Yep, will get some info up here soon. Watch this space. At the moment, everything is entirely undocumented...

I commented to the wrong blog entry...

I messed up and made comments to the PCB inkjet thread which were intended for this one. I made some comments on potential via solutions, soldermask, and other stuff. Last night I had a dream about a potential solution for the leakage problem -- add some short hollow tubes or ledge on the heater block which insert into wax ports. If the fit is tight enough (probably -0.001 or so) then this will help seal the flats.

I'm on the road most of the next week so will not be able to follow up before then, but I really like this project.

Jeff, I just saw your CCC

Jeff, I just saw your CCC presentation (linked from MAKE magazine blog), and I can't tell you how exciting this is! I can't wait for the day that I can click File.. Print and have a PCB come out of a printer, ready to etch.

Your results look quite promising; from the video it appears that your biggest challenges are the seal between the printhead and the wax resivoir, and sqeegeeing the printhead once in a while. Neither of these seems to be an insurmountable challenge.

Do you have any schematics, code, etc. you could share with others? This is a project I'd have a lot of fun working on.

Thanks, yes, info coming

Thanks, yes, info coming soon. Everything is undocumented at the moment, but will try to make it into something coherent and upload it here...

Sealing heating block to print head

Hi -
I just watched your talk via the link from Make. Great work! I heard at least one good suggestion about using automotive instant gasket silicone. Did you try that yet?

Here is another suggestion: Silicone and polyurethane actually cure with moisture (usually gotten from the air). My first thought was to moisten a paper towel or cotton fabric and then coat it with silicone and apply it like tape. This should allow it to cure fully.

Then I remembered that people have been using corn starch as a moisture bearing additive to make casting silicone.
http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Your-Own-Sugru-Substitute/

I bet if you used a variant of the Oogoo method it would work well.

Please let me know if you try this and the result.

Chris

One more thing

I also just realized that another source of leaks could be the clamping setup. As I recall you had a thin metal plate with machine screws clamping the print head on. If the clamping plate is relatively flexible the gasket will tend to squish near the screws and leak between them. I know this from experience building a simple flat pump for dispensing cleaning fluid for a consumer product.

Ideally the clamping plate (and the mating heater block) would be perfectly flat and infinitely stiff. The other thing to consider is screw placement. Metal pipe flanges have a lot of screws because each screw's influence spreads out from the head in a 45deg cone. Thinner flange/plate = more screws.

Chris

Hi Chris, Thanks for your

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your input. I'm going to try to avoid clamps and gaskets, that was a solution born of pure time pressure and frustration! You're right about flexible clamping plates. Mine is actually under very little force, because the printhead itself is made from very thin materials and is easily crushed! I made it from spring steel (which was a pain in the arse), to get excellent rigidity in little thickness.

I haven't tried any other adhesives yet, but I'm convinced that the right silicone with the right deposition technique will solve the problem. Unfortunately, I'm working crazy hours on my paid projects at the moment to make up for all the printer development before 27C3!

Interesting fact re. moisture curing of silicone. Didn't know that.

Running flexcircuits through unmodified wax printer?

You made mention of doing flex circuits in an unmodified wax printer (Xerox Phaser) as the genesis of this project. Can you elaborate? If you just run an A4 sheet of something like Dupont Pyralux (http://www2.dupont.com/Pyralux/en_US/index.html) will it just work? Or does the wax ribbon -> drum -> copper process work poorly?

Personally I am more interested in flex circuits. If one could go to a copy center and print on Pyralux that would be pretty sweet. One could always laminate to FR4 afterward. Two-sided registration and vias are still up in the air of course.

Yep, you can just load raw

Yep, you can just load raw fpc laminate into a xerox phaser (must be a solid ink model, of course), and print. I had some slight pinholes, but fine for reasonably coarse stuff. See this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JWEoXa5izQ .

where to obtain the copper clad laminate?

I realized I have a great solid ink printer that I have daily access to! The only problem is, I can't seem to find any website that I can purchase a small amount of copper clad laminate that will work well in the printer. I contacted Dupoint to buy their copper clad paralux, but they are not fulfilling samples for months...

Do you know how I can obtain something similar to the Dupoint paralux? (anything that will work well in a standard solid ink printer)
Where did you get what you used in your printer to make those led shoes?

Your article inspired me to the point of desperation...

I was in an insane rush, so

I was in an insane rush, so I phoned around local FPC manufacturers, drove to one, and picked up a sample. They were very helpful.

However, I also phoned round some PCB materials suppliers, and it wasn't difficult to find one who would sell me a few sheets. They would even cut them to an arbitrary size.

Summary: phone. The internet is still not very good for finding industrial supplies.

re

Thanks the author for interesting material. Keep writing articles like this!

very cool

Jeff- awesome talk! Met you when you visited LA to fix the Rihanna dress and stopped by Nullspace. What dissuaded you from working further with the xerox phaser technology? Seems they are already using wax, and that it would be simpler to adapt that than to use the epson heads?

Hey Stan, Good to hear from

Hey Stan,

Good to hear from you! The xerox heads are indeed designed for printing wax, which is very helpful, but they are extremely expensive. A new xerox head is about £600, whereas I can buy a whole brand new Epson printer for £30!

I was interested in creating something that would be replicable, and possibly even mass producible one day.

re

That is some inspirational stuff. Never knew that opinions could be this varied. Thanks for all the enthusiasm to offer such helpful information here.

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Amazing :P

Hey Jeff,
I'm amazed by your work, congratulations on your achievement and progress so far :P
Your presentation has actually helped me out a lot as I'm planning on building a Powder based 3D printer using a Epsom Ink jet printer.

I'm a little bit luckier than you hardware wise as the service manual for my printer (Epsom Stylus c63) comes with a complete Schematic of the motherboard for the printer, however the print head remained a mystery to me.
I never knew that so much information can be found in patents! Especially info that can't be found anywhere else. Thankfully the one you referenced (US6758544) gave me the exact information I needed to move forward with driving the print head with my own microcontroller. the good news is that the signals (COM, LAT, CH, SIBK, SICL and CK) have already been identified in the schematic from the service manual.

I really want to thank you so much for all of this information, you have no idea how much of a big help this is to me.
Keep up the good work!

Cheers
Roman

Thanks Roman, good luck!

Thanks Roman, good luck!

Actually I loved them. I can

Actually I loved them. I can still remember the first EPSON Stylus Color when it came out and then the cheap Stylus 200 some time later etc. They were just made to work.http://www.essaywritingservices.com/... --Chloe

Any updates? Also, would you

Any updates?

Also, would you happen to know what materials the internals of these cheap printer heads are made from? (For 3D printing you're going to need solvents).

BTW, Medion should bring out a full width 1/1600 DPI A4 printhead inkjet printer this year. These printers won't be terribly cheap (600 Euro) but it does make an attractive target for modding, much easier to build a translation stage for.

http://www.druckerchannel.de/artikel.php?ID=2957&seite=1&t=medion_bringt...

Good talk!

This is a great project. Don't think I've seen anyone else driving a print head directly before. Would love to have a go myself so I've got my eye on a cheap s21on eBay. It would help me out loads if you have copy of the trace from your ocilloscope of the waveform that dives the piezos. (or even better the timings and voltages you used in your effort.) Is there any chance you could make these available?

Again good work.
Bob

I must say that overall I am

I must say that
overall I am really impressed with this blog.It is easy to see that you are
impassioned about your writing. I wish I had got your ability to write beginner workout. I
look forward to more updates and will be returning…

This short video shows you

This short video shows you how to change your Epson T0711, T0712, T0713 and T0714 cartridges in an Epson DX7400 printer. Click herefor the video... --Chloe

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You can follow the author on Twitter without your identity being disclosed.

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Good Job !

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I had been to the printer

I had been to the printer support for 1 year. But I never worked for inkjet printers. Thanks for your class. It was really helpful; I learned new things I didn’t know. You are a good teacher who can give variable knowledge to her students. go here

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