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10 alternative PCB fabrication methods and tools

06 Apr 2015  | Cabe Atwell

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Editor's Note: In this slideshow, Cabe Atwell shares a myriad of alternative PCB fabrication tools and services out there that can help you in creating and designing your circuit boards.

Designing and producing your own circuit board can be daunting to say the least. Most of us turn to tried and true processes to get them made. Just soldering up perf boards and shopping out PCB fabrication are both beyond time consuming. Of course, we want professional-grade prototypes at every stage of the dev process. It's certainly getting easier now, with a plethora of new alternative PCB fabrication tools and services available.

Needless to say, it doesn't have to be an ordeal to DIY your own board, and plenty of alternative methods are out there that can simplify the process. In this roundup, we feature some of the prominent methods of making your own circuit boards that will help to alleviate some of the issues that entail the manufacturing process.

First up is perhaps the simplest way to produce your own circuit board without turning to commercial manufacturers and entails using a 3D printer. The printer in question is the Voxel8 (from a company with the same name), which has the ability to print almost fully functional electronics, including quadcopter drones, electromagnetic coils and even stacked ICs. The secret lies with its ability to print with both PLA filament and conductive silver ink, which allows users to embed the electronics into the object while it's being printed.

Voxel8

The Voxel8 3D printer is capable of printing out electronics using conductive silver ink. (Source: element14.com)

Click on the following pages for more information on each technique.


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