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Small Volume PCB printers?

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Paul Relf-Davies13/08/2019 08:17:55
74 forum posts
1 photos

Hi all,

Can anyone reccomend a service that will produce a small number of PCBs from an image of the tracks?

I have an existing PCB that has been damaged (missing the copper track*) and is no longer available.

I figure I can scan the PCB, 'fix' the defects, then if I need to find someone who can use the image as mask to produce a replacement PCB.

I'm sure there are companies out there who do this...looking for recommendations.



*the damaged track is part of a spiral contact, so it needs to be both electrically conductive and smooth/accurately placed, so simply bridging the gap won't do.

Nick Clarke 313/08/2019 08:43:22
1016 forum posts
36 photos

I have had small orders of PCBs made in the past, however they were produced from Gerber plots of the tracks and Excellon drilling data generated by a PCB design program. A scan would not be acceptable to the company I used.

DC31k13/08/2019 18:37:37
347 forum posts
1 photos

An possible alternative depending on number complexity, size, holes, etc. is to import the scan into your CAD program, trace over it to produce a vector file and then CNC mill or route it from copper coated board.

Robert Atkinson 213/08/2019 19:00:44
883 forum posts
17 photos

You can also scan the PCB, clean up the image, print it onto transfer film in a laser printer, transfer to a clean copperclad board with an iron (don't let SWMBO see you and then etch in ferric chloride solution.

Robert G8RPI.

Nick Clarke 314/08/2019 13:34:50
1016 forum posts
36 photos
Posted by Robert Atkinson 2 on 13/08/2019 19:00:44:

You can also scan the PCB, clean up the image, print it onto transfer film in a laser printer, transfer to a clean copperclad board with an iron (don't let SWMBO see you and then etch in ferric chloride solution.

Robert G8RPI.

+1 for one off boards, but the drilling, if your components are not surface mount, can be a pain

As an alternative if you can get hold of a scrap of copper pcb is to cut out the section with the spiral contact on and let an etched replacement for just that area into a cutout in your board with any track joins well outside the spiral contact area.

AdrianR14/08/2019 14:11:45
488 forum posts
25 photos

All depending how much of the board is missing and what the circuit is, but you can just use thin wires soldered on to replace the missing parts. Solderable enamelled wire is an easy way to go, as the enamel comes off with the soldering iron and flux. No stripping needed. Tack it to the board with super glue or hot melt.

Also there are pcb repair pens that use a silver loaded glue, all you have to do is draw the new track.

Only time this could be a problem is if the board is carrying high frequencies where the board itself becomes part of the circuit due to its inductance and capacitance.

Of course it does not work so well for multi layer boards, I assume yours is either single or double sided, not a multi-layer one.

Edited By AdrianR on 14/08/2019 14:13:33

I.M. OUTAHERE14/08/2019 18:35:48
1468 forum posts
3 photos

A picture of the board would help!

From what i can gather from the OP it is the tracks from some sort of rotary switch that are damaged so a conductive pen won’t fix it .

If the board is fairly simple in layout the press and peel / etch system will be ok but if it is very complex, double sided or multi layer forget about it . If it is a fairly simple board you could re draw it using one of the free pcb design programmes like easy eda and send it as a file to jlcpcb in china as they can make it for you ( there are others also ) , you could also try contacting them via email and see what they say .

I’m not sure if you can import a scanned image into easy eda and convert it to the required file that a pcb manufacturer needs, there is also i believe some sort of pcb function in fusion 360 but i have never opened it to see what it is or does so maybe having a look around on some different forums for fusion and easy eda( if there is one ?) may help .

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