PCB prototypes… To Go

February 11, 2015 | 01:41
Voltera: PCB prototypes… To Go
Voltera: PCB prototypes… To Go

The Voltera V-One is a multi-functional X – Y table/printer which has a number of neat features for quickly producing prototype PCBs. Firstly it can be used to make a one-off prototype board on a suitable square of FR4 fibreglass board clamped to the bed of the printer. This is where its interchangeable heads come in useful; fit the head to print the tracks and pads using conductive paint. Any vias are dealt with by fitting a different head containing insulating ink to lay down bridges over the crossing points before the remaining tracks are printed. Once cured, the SMD components are soldered onto the printed pads with a soldering iron. The board produced by this process will typically be the first iteration in the design development phase, ideal for sizing and initial concept testing.

Next comes the phase when the design and PCB have been finalized and the first batch of blank boards has been delivered from the PCB manufacturer. A PCB can be mounted onto the bed of the Voltera V-One and the head swapped for the solder paste dispenser to automatically deposit paste on all the mounting pads. The components are now manually mounted before the reflow phase where the bed heats to the correct temperature to complete the assembly.

The maximum print area is 138 x 102 mm and it accepts files from CAD tools such as EAGLE, Altium, Upverter and KiCad. All the features of the Voltera V-One make it a useful addition to any development environment requiring fast prototype PCB turn around. The Voltera V-One has been launched on Kickstarter which indicates that the finished cost of the unit is likely to be around 1,800 USD. To find out more visit their Kickstarter page.

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