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Conductive Tape + PCB Board + Shapeoko?

Posted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:25 pm
by smittles2003
Hey Guys--

Just had an idea and hadn't seen it anywhere on the forums (but it probably is because most everything is! :lol: ) Anyway, I was thinking about getting a regular protoboard or similar and covering it in electrically conductive tape (http://www.stewmac.com/shopby/item/0037 ... Mgod-EcAyw). Then, just etch away what you don't want with an Eagle -> CAM -> gcode and have a low tech PCB--thoughts? I wouldn't want to use it for anything major, obviously, but if the tape sticks well enough, I don't see why you couldn't do that for quick prototyping if nothing else. And at $20 (probably cheaper elsewhere) for a 180' roll, it seems far more economical than some other options.

Just wanted to get some thoughts on the idea!

Thanks!

Re: Conductive Tape + PCB Board + Shapeoko?

Posted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:34 pm
by cvoinescu
How's the solderability of that tape? Can the adhesive withstand the temperature of soldering? Can the tape be milled neatly, or will it tear and make a mess? What is the advantage of milling self-adhesive tape on insulating support vs. milling traditional copper-clad PCBs? If the adhesive is indeed conductive (as they say on that page), would milling remove it reliably enough to isolate the traces? Why not cut the tape with a vinyl cutter blade (the ShapeOko can do that too), instead of milling it?

Re: Conductive Tape + PCB Board + Shapeoko?

Posted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:23 pm
by madmanmoe
I'm sure you could get it to work, but adhesives gum up your bits so you have to clean them a lot. Also I imagine that the detail you would be able to get would be very limited.
But getting hold of some standard copper clad board is relatively easy and cheap, and will produce far better results.
There's also the concern that milling standard proto-board will be very hard on your bits, and the dust is toxic (most of it is made of fiberglass).

I managed to find a pack of paper based* copper clad board for £4 on eBay, and I just used a 0.8mm ball nose bit for milling paths (later upgraded to some proper V bits).
Inventables also has the right stuff.





*Circuit board materials are classed by hardness FR4 is standard and uses tough fibreglass, FR1 is best for milling and made from paper.