Why you Need the Voltera PCB Printer for your DIY PCB

Over the years, DIY quality printed circuit boards (PCBs) has proved to be great.  With varying levels of mistakes, hassle,  and special equipment, DIY could be a perfect choice. The Voltera V one printer reduces errors and enables more automated and accurate DIY PCB production. If you need a cheaper prototype PCB, the Voltera V one PCB printer has got your needs covered.

What is the Function of the Voltera Printer?

The V one PCB printer integrates conductive ink to print a PCB design from Gerber files on a CAD tool. Also, this compact multipurpose PCB printer is built with a sturdy metal. The Voltera V one has got some snap-in tools.

This printer can create a two-layer prototype PCB.  Also, it uses CAD friendly Gerber files to create dispense pattern on PCB materials.  This dispenser prints the trace or conductive paths of the circuit by using a silver-based conductive ink.   The reflow and solder paste dispensing features of V-one make it very easy to assemble traditional and additive boards. All you need to do is to mount your PCB on the print bed and then import the Gerber file into the software of Voltera. You will need to mount the bare board after you have uploaded a Gerber file. After this, print the design.

The software is very easy to understand. Also, it is compatible with a wide range of PCB design software like Altium, Cadence, EAGLE, and KiCad among others.  Although the software is very easy to use, don’t  expect the process to be a quick one.  Based on the board’s size, you can complete the process in about an hour or two. There are several steps and lots of manual interaction.

When using Voltera, you can easily to over-deposit solder. Also, the Voltera’s software can request too much ink. This excess ink functions well with solder paste for surface-mount soldering,.

Features of V one

Interchangeable drill heads

The interchangeable drill heads help to create through holes and variable width vias. Also, the  V-One drill works at a 3-mm runout. The Voltera  V one printer has various rivets, size drill bits, and other accessories needed to start your work. However, you can get more on the Voltera website. For instance, a pack of 200 rivets goes for $12.

Built-in reflow platform

If your components get accidentally damaged when using a soldering iron or your solder joints are messy, the Voltera V-One printer comes with a built-in 550W heated bed. This bed helps to reflow solder a whole circuit board of SMD components. Also, the heated bed can get to a 240 °C in about two minutes.

Printing speed

 Users can create a single-layer board within an hour. A single-layer circuit board could print in almost 5 minutes and then it could take 30 minutes to bake since you need to dry the ink.   It can take about 15 minutes to deposit solder paste based on how fast the components are placed.

Voltera V one currently has no integrated pick-and-place feature for components. Therefore, you will need to place components by hand on the entire board. This drawback is a major concern for Voltera users.

Conductive ink and paste

V-One inks’ performance is similar to copper used for RF and digital circuits. The complexity and the size of your circuit board will determine the number of boards printed using one ink cartridge. However, one ink cartridge has six months shelf life. Therefore, this ink needs to be carefully stored in a refrigerator. V-one only deposits tin-lead paste on necessary pads. A single solder paste cartridge can easily cover about 11,000 0603 solder pads.

Other Features of Voltera V one

Easy-to-use software

The Voltera software is compatible with open-source platforms such as Raspberry Pi, Particle, and Arduino. Also, this software comes with easy-to-understand tutorials. These tutorials enlighten you about reflow, soldering, drilling workflows, and printing. Also, the Voltera software features six different languages. These languages include Russian, Korean, English, Spanish, French, and  Arabic. There is a library of useful tutorials and several tips on troubleshooting on the Voltera’s website.

Circuit beds

With Voltera V one’s bed size, you can easily create two-layer or single layer printed circuit boards. The bed size is 127 mm x 104mm. Also, Voltera V one has various bare boards available for printing your own boards.

How to Improve the Print Quality when using Voltera V one

There are two main factors dictate your trace quality. These factors are your print height and your ink pressure.

Ink Pressure

The Ink pressure describes the pressure of the dispenser on the ink while dispensing. If the pressure is too much, there will be shorts and possibly a pierced piston. However, if the pressure isn’t enough, it will result in open circuits.

The calibration step involves printing a specific pattern that comprises parallel and curved lines. Press print. Therefore, the pressure buttons will simply control the thickness and correct the ink flow if the traces are very thin or very thick. Also, you will notice a difference in the thickness of the trace when you click the pressure buttons. Go back to the priming step if there is no ink or the ink is too much. While printing, you can simply click the pressure buttons to see any flow changes.

Print Height

The print height simply describes the air gap between nozzle’s tip and the substrate. There is a default height. This height is 0.14 mm for solder paste and 0.08 mm (80 microns) for the silver ink. Also, you can maintain print height during a print according to the height map produced via the probing step. Press print

Design Rules for Circuits Printed by Voltera V-one

  • Keep the Minimum trace width and trace spacing at 8 mil (0.2mm). New users can use 10 mil.
  • The minimum pin pitch for IC packages is 0.65mm
  • Make use of standard pad shapes and standard packages. You can experience processing errors when you use custom pad shapes.
  • The minimum size of the circuit should be 1 x 1 mm.
  • Ensure you integrate hatched planes. This helps in reducing print time.

Conclusion

The Voltera V one printer comes with a lot of features which makes it easy to print circuit boards. Also, the Voltera software is compatible with open-source platforms.