November 01, 2004

Inkjet printed circuit boards

Seiko Epson Corporation today announced that it has succeeded in leveraging its proprietary inkjet technology to develop ultra-thin 20-layer circuit board.

(from this article)

Nifty! I've read of inkjets being used for all kinds of stuff and this seems like a particularly clever use. Here's an article on printing injet antennas with conductive ink. The injet antenna piece also has a nice story about how innovation happens by accident:

Carclo was working on a way to customize cell phones by printing personal images on the plastic bodies, when it ran into a problem trying to print Motorola’s silver metallic logo.


Carclo developed a prototype printer that's about the size of a small photocopier. It can print copper antennas on polycarbonate, polyester, polyethylene and other plastic films used for RFID tags, as well as on paper and cardboard. The copper layer can be as thin as half a micron and is almost as conductive as a solid copper antenna. And unlike bulk metal antennas, the printed antenna is recyclable.

I wonder if any of the check printing magnetic inks have enough conductivity to be usable for home-grown circuit printing...

Between these two technologies and the various other printer-based technologies (such as the polyester rapid prototyping rigs that are another kind of inkjet printer), I wonder how long before whole electronic devices can be printed on demand?

Posted by mikek at November 1, 2004 06:42 PM | TrackBack

Mitch Resnik's work at MIT ( seems to be a really successful application of rapid prototyping and on-demand hardware.

Posted by: andrew at November 1, 2004 07:55 PM
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