UNDER CONSTRUCTION BELOW DETAILS ONLY FOR TEMPLATE USES I'm working on a Stainless Steel piezo that can be heated to jet colored wax. This is to be used as a "Mask" for printed circuit board fabrication. This process eliminates the need for applying and developing photo resist on a copper clad board. Instead, I use my 3-D printer as a 2-D printer where a board can be placed on my bed and printed directly from Eagle PCB layout software. Then the copper board can be etched and used.
This device can be used for SO many other things besides PC board fabrication. The wax might be able to make 3-D objects, but at the very least it can be used to label numbers and letters of your PLA, ABS, or Nylon parts. And an image could be applied to a surface of any 3-D printed device.
The basic system is a modified RepRap printer with a J Head Nozzle. The standard J Head nozzle has been removed, and a custom made heated piezo toolhead is installed in its place. The toolhead is made of several metal sheets sandwiched together. A flexible tube connects the toolhead to a reservoir containing molten wax. In operation, a driving circuit pulses the piezo disk mounted on the toolhead, resulting in deposition of molten wax droplets on the work surface.
There are three closed-loop controlled heaters in the system:
- a pencil cartridge heater on the toolhead
- a pencil cartridge heater on the reservoir
- a nichrome wire wrapped around the supply tube
Each heater receives temperature feedback from its own thermistor. The raw wax can be added to the bulk reservoir by dropping large pieces into the molten wax. One could have a system that melts wax into the bulk reservoir as needed. But since I'm focused on PC Board mask, I only need small amounts at a time.