Etch resist ink?

Discussion in 'Request a Feature' started by Terry Mackintosh, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. I just remember that some time ago I had thought about building a gantry printer, not for printing silver, but for printing etch resist onto standard copper clad boards.

    This printer could be used for that as well. Has anyone tried it? Would standard black ink work? if printed multiple times?
  2. Johns

    Johns Staff Member

    Hey Terry. Printing an etch resistant ink is an interesting idea. It wouldn't work with our standard black ink because it's water based and will just dissolve when exposed to a water based etch solution. It might however work if you filled an empty cartridge with a pigment based ink. The tricky bit would be finding a pigment based ink that's compatible with our cartridges which are thermal ink jet and require a decent amount of water in the ink. I know these exist but they're not too common. You could also look into using a UV curing ink. We've briefly experimented with some UV ink but haven't had time to test it fully.

    If you decide to give it a go i'd love to see what you find.
  3. Johns

    Johns Staff Member

    Ok, quick update. I actually tried making a cartridge that was the opposite to what you're suggesting. I tried filling a cartridge with iron nitrate which is a great etchant for silver, though it can less effectively etch copper. The cartridge worked great and was able to etch silver nicely but after a few few days it started eating through the cartridge :(
  4. Woops!-) Did it eat the plastic? or the nozzles? If the plastic, possibly a cartridge made of PLA would work, as PLA is quite chemical resistant. Of course that raises the question: does anyone make a cartridge of PLA? probably not. Another possible plastic is HDPE, also very chemical resistant, commonly used for holding stuff that will dissolve most other plastics.
  5. Johns

    Johns Staff Member

    Unfortunately it was actually the nozzle plate of the cartridge which is made from nickel.
  6. Well, it could still be useful, if it is good for a day, and if one has a need that would warrant killing a cartridge after only one days use.
    It would just have to be sold as an empty cartridge and a bottle to fill it from.

    Back to the etch resist idea though...
    I know nearly nothing about ink, though I do understand what you said about it needing to have some water content to work, and if it is water soluble, it would be no good for etch resist.
    Two things though: 1. You had also mentioned that there might be some low water content inks that might work, and 2. what about something that could be "developed", like heated or exposed to UV light to make it hold up to etching? What ever you know about inks, a lot or a little, is a lot more that I know about inks, which is nearly nothing.

    Printing etch resist would be quite useful.

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