Making PCB vias using conductive ink

A project log for TwinTeeth: The PCB mini-factory

Diyouware TwinTeeth is a open-source PCB mini-factory targeted to the electronic hobbyists.

diyouwareDiyouware 11/21/2015 at 14:490 Comments

We developed an alternative method for making PCB vias through-hole.

There are several commercial products for making DIY PCB vias. Some based on special pins made for this purpose but they are ugly, cost money and difficult to install. Others methods are based on conductive epoxy which also is expensive and resistivity is not good.

Electroplating is the method used by the PCB industry. There are on the internet some interesting experiences, but all of them require special equipment and unpleasant chemical products difficult to find.

The traditional DIY method consists in threading a wire through the holes and then soldering it and then cutting it off. For example, if we have 100 vias in our PCB, we have to insert the thin wire on each hole, cut it and solder it 200 times. This is time-consuming, but also tedious, absurd, prone to failures and produces a melancholic state of mind.:-)

So we decide to innovate in this area developing a new method which consists in drilling blind vias instead of holes and filling them with conductive ink.

Really we don’t need holes to make vias. Well, we need holes, but not through-holes. I mean, we can avoid drilling to bottom copper layer and make tiny wells instead of vias!

Then fill the wells injecting the conductive ink. We do it from inside, inserting a needle into the well, mainly because it will be difficult to fill it from outside due to the air inside the well and also surface tension forces.

Both are simple task for a PCB robot.

We published all the information in our blog: