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27C3: File -> Print -> Electronics

The 27th Chaos Communication Congress is set this year to take place from Monday December 27 to Thursday December 30, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. The reason I’m excited about this meetup is because Jeff Gough is going to be giving a presentation on his work designing a pcb printer. And if you’ve never had to order a custom board or two, just know that a pcb printer is a big step in personal manufacturing.

Outsourcing printed circuit board (PCB) manufacture can be expensive and slow. You want your board now, for free. And designing PCB’s is hard. You’ll make mistakes, and some boards will be wasted. You can etch your own PCB’s at home but the process is fiddly, and notoriously difficult to perfect. What if you had a printer that could make PCB’s? A rapid prototyping machine for circuit boards.

In this talk I will present my progress towards an inexpensive PCB printer by reverse engineering Epson inkjet technology. And I’m not talking about the crappy print-and-bake method you might have seen on the internet. Come and learn about the miracle of microfluidics within the modern consumer inkjet printer, and how to push it to do new, exciting things. I’ll be describing some reverse engineering techniques, a bit of electronics circuit design and the potential for 3D microfabrication with inkjet technology.

A PCB will be printed and etched live, on stage, at 27C3!

So if you plan on being near Berlin on the 28th stop by C3 and check out Jeff’s talk: http://events.ccc.de/congress/2010/Fahrplan/events/4099.en.html