3D PCB printer does pick-n-place too

Squink PCB from KickStarterNew York-based start-up BotFactory is developing a rapid prototyping machine that prints PCBs and then picks-and-places components.

Called Squink and the subject of a KickStarter funding drive, “it sits on your desk, and prints and assembles your circuits in a matter of minutes on flexible or rigid substrates”, said the firm.

It takes Gerber files (or .png graphics) via USB, Ethernet, or Wi-Fi, using them to print conductive ink tracks (claimed to take one minute in an example) followed by conductive adhesive blobs where the component legs will land (2mins).

Measured sheet resistance of resulting conductors is under 90mΩ/square, and 250µm tracks at 25µm spacing are possible with the chosen printing technique.

Squink machine from KickStarterFollowing adhesive deposition, “components are picked up from a tray, aligned, rotated, and placed onto the glue dots”, said BotFactory (15mins), followed by 15mins of curing.

At the moment, single layer boards are possible, and have been demonstrated surviving multiple bending cycles. Multilayer boards using insulating ink layers are being developed.

The idea of Squink came out of New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering.

Tags: 3D printers, kickstarter, PCB

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