3D printed circuit board

3D printed circuit board-everything you need to know

Table of Contents

As technology constantly changes, our methods of making circuit boards also change. The newest technology used to make circuit boards is 3D printing, which has a number of benefits over conventional techniques. If you are a company looking for quality circuit boards, feel free to look over.

In this post, we’ll examine what PCB 3D printing is, its development, its principles, as well as some of the advantages and disadvantages of this new innovation. In conclusion, you should be able to decide if PCB 3D printing is the best option for your upcoming circuits projects as a company or not.

pcb 3d printing

The heart of devices is circuit boards. The most sophisticated systems require precisely and effectively engineered parts to function, as do all electrically driven products. Consequently, researchers have started testing the PCB (Print circuit board) 3D printers to produce 3D printed circuit board for advancements in technology.

For circuit boards to function, an electric potential must be created on a non-conductive surface, such as plastics. The board is engraved with pathways lined with conductive metals, often copper or silver. When electronic parts are placed into the circuit board, these pathways serve as the connections between them.

What is a 3D PCB?

what is a 3D PCB

We as an professional PCB/PCBA enterprise may take charge of their design process using the 3D PCB Printer to 3D print their circuitry. In-house 3D printing of multilayered PCBs reduces development and testing phases from months to weeks, from proofs of concept to design approval to test fixtures. Throughout every prototyping stage, the design teams may now implement more flexible hardware development procedures. This speeds up invention and minimizes time to market circuit boards to other businesses.

Is it possible to 3D print a circuit board?

The ability to 3D-print PCBs usable in many application areas has been made feasible by reliable advancements in materials, metals, and polymers. A 3D printed circuit board uses conducting rails, terminals, and other elements carved from sheet layers of copper placed onto a non-conductive surface to sustain and electronically link electrical parts structurally. On a conductive surface, a printed circuit board has pre-designed copper pathways.

Which printer is used for PCB printing?PCB printer

The PCB layout is imported using a laser PCB printer. It is presented as a bit-map picture and printed in a way resembling a laser printer for papers.

This PCB’s surface area is covered by it. Line by line, the process continues. To reproduce the exact visual pattern, the laser goes on and off. The phase where the laser runs over the PCB must be quick. It will enable you to print quickly and with good clarity. This will necessitate fast response and high laser data bit rates. That’s what we do in our systems.

Can you print PCB at home?

You may create your PCB at a house in a variety of methods. Making your printed circuit board at home will assist you in avoiding issues caused by sloppy connectors on a prototype.

What materials and tools to use when on the 3D printing circuit board?

  • Wire with plastic coating
  • Thinner (acetone)
  • Etching treatment
  • Coated in copper laminate
  • Home iron
  • Laser printer
  • Dish cleaners
  • Magazines or brochures

What are the steps of a 3D printed circuit board?

There are three fundamental ways to create a PCB:

  • Using an iron on glossy paper
  • The hand-built circuit on a PCB
  • Edge etching using a laser

We will go into depth for the first two methodologies as the laser approach, it is the commercial way to create PCBs. In general, the steps of a 3D printed circuit board is as follows:

Step 1

designing PCB

The first step is designing PCBs. The graphical view of the design is frequently turned into a printed circuit board design by utilizing circuit design software. Several free software tools are available for planning and generating PCB circuits.

Step 2

Make a print of the circuitry layout as the first step. To create the schematics, use a laser printer and A4 or glossy paper.

Step 3

Trimming the copper for the circuitry and taking assistance from a cutting machine or blades, trim the circuitry sheet to the layout’s specifications. Remove the principal oxides with a scraper. Next, By using harsh brushes or cleaners, apply a photoresist to the metallic surface of the PCB.

Step 4

Transfer the copper boards to the circuit board.

Method 1: Press glossy paper with an iron (for complicated systems)

Press glossy paper with an iron

Place the image that was produced on the photographic paper on the top. Turn the upper surface horizontally, and then position the printing pattern so that it is on the top of the copper plate. Ensure the panel is correctly positioned with the borders of the produced layout, and then use tapes to fix the frame and the printing in line.

Method 2: A Hand-made circuitry mounted on a printed circuit board (for simple and small circuits)

Hand-built Circuit on a PCB

First, using the steel plate as a reference, sketch out a straightforward representation of the circuits using a marker pen. When you think it looks good enough, sketch on it using a black marker that is water resistant.

Step 5

The sheet circuit is transferred onto the PCB plate using iron in the fourth step. After you have ironed the sheet, soak it in lukewarm liquid for fifteen minutes. When the paper has completely dissolved, you can then gently remove it. Remove the paper by pulling it away from you at a low angle.

Step 6

Etching the plate is the main thing in the fifth step. When you are working on the cleaning procedure, it would be beneficial for you to do extra care. Using forceps, remove the printed circuit board from its connection, and inspect it to determine whether or not all of the concave surfaces have been etched. If the design has not yet been etched, continue submerging it in liquid.

Step 7

It needs PCB cleaning, discarding and adding the finishing touches. Since the etching mixture is toxic to fish and other ocean animals, it should only be handled cautiously. A few droplets of thinner are all that is needed to remove altogether any toner or ink that may be present on the plates, thereby exposing the copper underneath.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • Rapid time from conception to production
  • Fewer waste products
  • Increased Versatility in Design


  • Software maintenance issues
  • Substances’ conductivity
  • The risk of soldering

What can be achieved with 3D printed circuit boards and PCB 3D printers?

In the industry, only recently has the actual scope of the 3D printed circuit board become more clear. Its uses come into more precise focus. In a constantly changing business, 3D printing is considered essential for prototyping. It is mainly engaged in creating military-grade equipment, such as radar sensors and communication systems. Future military equipment and vehicles are anticipated to be significantly lighter and more aerodynamic thanks to the 3D printed circuit board technology. The use of 3D printed circuit boards will soon become a mainstream.

Final reflections

More and more companies can use 3D printed circuit boards now than ever before. Many people initially believed that 3D printing was out of reach for the general public, but this opinion is now changing for a good cause. Learning to 3D print is a skill that is within reach, even though it takes practice to refine your prints and technique.

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