BotFactory, a New York based start up are developing a prototyping machine for rapidly producing PCBs. The contraption is small enough to sit on a desk. The process begins by printing the PCB tracks onto a rigid or flexible substrate then blobs of conductive glue are deposited to form the connecting pads. The components are then automatically picked from a tray, aligned and placed in position over the pads. After a 15 minute cure the board is good to go. A fairly simple PCB will typically take 30 minutes to produce from start to finish.
It uses Gerber or any other image file transferred via USB, Ethernet or Wi-Fi, to lay down the tracks which take around one minute for a fairly simple example PCB. The resulting tracks can as thin as 250 µm with 25 µm spacing and the track resistance works out at below 90mΩ/sq. The machine can only make single-layer boards at the moment but the team are working on a new system which will also be able to deposit layers of insulation to make multi-layer boards.
The Squink is expected to retail at around $3,000 for the basic unit with optional add-ons and should appear in the second quarter of 2015. The team are funding the design on Kickstarter and with 27 days to go they are already close to raising half their target of $100,000.