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Copper tape circit boards(experiment

Posted by ronanwarrior 
Copper tape circit boards(experiment
April 20, 2008 09:16PM
Well I am in the process of waiting for supplies so I figured I might as well go over the experiment I have in mind. Well I searched around online on Mouser and found copper foil tape made by 3M the smallest size they make is 1/4 inch or 6.35 mm. So well the idea is to see well how well it works and what its limitation are. MY questions about it are.

How well does it hold? (how stick is the adhesive)
Could it be easily put into a small tape computer controlled dispenser and attached to a Darwin at some point?

Does it conduct through the adhesive side or can tape overlap and not short out a circuit?

If it does conduct through the adhesive what is the resistance compared to a copper/solder connection?

How well does it cut?

As it is being "dispensed" can it make angles or turn easily? Or does it only do straight lines and will the right angle have to be soldered at some later point.

Well that is all I can think of that I will be testing for now once i get the tape and what not. I also found some copper circuit repair tape that is only a 1/16 wide but that is more expensive. The 3M tape is about 8$ for i think 6 meters and the circuit repair tape is 3$ for 2 meters. So when I get some result I will post here about them.
Re: Copper tape circit boards(experiment
April 20, 2008 09:53PM
You wouldn't happen to live near a Fry's? They have this stuff: [shop1.outpost.com]

BTW, do you know if you can solder stuff to it?
Re: Copper tape circit boards(experiment
April 20, 2008 11:39PM
Yea that is the other stuff I saw/talked about. I just have not had a chance to go to fry's yet. I want to test both. I want to say you can solder to it. They say that the foil side of the tape is pure copper...but am waiting until I can fully test it out.
Re: Copper tape circit boards(experiment
April 21, 2008 04:55PM
I have wondered whether it conducts through the adhesive side too and whether the adhesive holds up to high temperatures. if so, it seems like it might be a quick and easy way to solder connections onto metals that are tricky to do so otherwise.
Re: Copper tape circit boards(experiment
April 21, 2008 05:39PM
Well if everything works nicely it might be and easy way for us to "print" out circuit boards with ought having to deal with the the high melting point of copper. it may be kind of hard to solder on the to copper tape if it is on top of a PLA or CAPA part...but that test will have to wait until later. While it will not give us the accuracy of a etched pcbs, it could be a step in the right direction.

On a side note. I think that even if the adhesive is not that "sticky" you could always print a layer of plastic over part you want covered to insult and hold down the copper.
Re: Copper tape circit boards(experiment
April 23, 2008 05:05AM
I used to use it at my old school, it's quiet sticky but I don't think it conduct through the sticky side, and it holds up to soldering extremely well, however it fails in that it's not the most robust of things, it needs to be stuck down well otherwise it just peels.
Re: Copper tape circit boards(experiment
April 23, 2008 09:01PM
I recently shopped around for copper tape and found out that some are labeled as having conductive adhesive. I ordered some and am going to test it out, but I read a review online that said it conducts well so I am hopeful.
Re: Copper tape circit boards(experiment
April 23, 2008 09:05PM

this is what I ordered. I'll post more when I get it in the mail. 36 yards for $10 doesn't seem that bad.

Another idea is to spray the board with adhesive and just roll out copper strips, which might be easier to dispense and fabricate as we can perhaps just roll some heated thin copper wire through a press to get it... Not sure how easy copper is to work like that though.
Anyone have an idea whether copper tape can be used to connect a piezo ceramic disc sensor to the PCB etchings?

The piezo ceramic discs are flush mounted with the PCB surface of thickness 1.6mm. Can the copper tape withstand 200 degrees C without peeling?

Thanks for any advice. We are doing a project which requires the PCB surface to be flat after everything is mounted on.
You might just consider conductive ink. It of course isnt anywhere near as conductive as copper but you might be able to incorporate that into your schematic design. You print a layer then spray with a nonconductive coating then print the next layer. Then drill and use some throughhole plating process. If it worked i dont see why you couldnt do 2342343243 layer boards. The ink might be expensive but then etchant + boards etc etc all together its probably no more expensive to make a board.
I don't know if it is the same product, but I used an adhesive-backed copper tape some years ago. The adhesive was not that good, but since it was non-conductive, I stuck it down with epoxy. Since the adhesive did not conduct, you had to make a solder bridge from the top of the tape to a trace on an existing board. Once it was securely stuck down and solder-bridged, it worked quite well. It probably does conduct better than the ink method, since that is in suspension in a non-conductive resin. However the conductor in the resin (Caig brand) is pure silver. The "ink" is actually a thin paint. I am going to try it soon as well. My guess is that the copper tape would be less likely to crack and separate with board flexing, or to scratch off, but that remains to be seen. Another manufacturer, I think that it was GC, also made a silver-conducting paint that they sold in a small bottle with a built-in brush attached to the cap. It was very expensive.
Re: Copper tape circit boards(experiment
April 24, 2011 07:00PM
I purchased copper foil tape from McMaster-Carr (76555A711). It is available with or without conductive adhesive. I was able to solder to it with no difficulty, and when I measured the connection through the adhesive, it looked like a short circuit. (Even if there is a resistivity, it's over a very small distance and a fairly wide area).
Re: Copper tape circit boards(experiment
April 25, 2011 03:28PM
What if you printed a printed plastic surface as a PCB, put copper tape down on it to make the surface conductive, and then used existing methods to print an etch resist on the copper tape? We're still using the etch resist method of making PCBs but there's no actual board as a vitamin, and the PCB surface could be on any shaped object.
Re: Copper tape circit boards(experiment
April 25, 2011 06:07PM
several yeas ago i used copper tape and silver ink to draw circuits inside a comm port connector and connect to an 8 pin dip chip. it seemed like a grand idea at the time, and it did speed up and simplify making of the circuit. it worked ok as long as everything afterward was super glued. this is an old trick used by hobbyist to ensure copper does not corrode on-board and to increase board strength. being that i was printing on top of paper with printed traces to follow it was a must to add superglue to strengthen the paper and hold parts in place. also all wires needed a loop to keep them from stretching and pulling against paper board. wire contacts are bent into shape and glued into place, then additional silver ink is placed on top of the wires. as long as the connection never breaks it works.

use 1/4 inch wide tape or thinner. the thicker tape is harder to bend into shape without tearing. the thinner rolls just crinkle around corners, and are easy to make into right angles,

I quit doing it, as it was impossible to repair parts that failed the initial testing. Also i had a method to make circuit boards reliable and these boards for this project were .5x.5 inch in size so i could make a lot of them at a time with more traditional methods.

The copper adhesive does not stick as well as you would think on its own. either solder the ends, or superglue your work in place when it is completed.

Also know that if you use silver ink, you will want it to be on top or put on last, i have had issues with the silver ink not being conductive on top, but being conductive on bottom. so if silver is down first, issues with it conducting with copper wire. putting copper down first and then silver on top, it worked really well.

I think silver ink is basically fine silver power in a solvent solution, the solvent evaporates and what is left is conductive silver.

Also even though you could have conduction thru the sticky side of the copper, do not count on it. your circuit once complete will not be able to be adjusted or repaired. also you will more than likely want to coat it in a protective layer such as super glue, or a resin.

so my suggestions are use 1/4 inch wide or thinner copper tape and use silver ink to ensure a good connection. then also super glue work when done.
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