Voltera V-One: Fast PCB prototyping for electronic devices
Creating a printed circuit board at home or in a small laboratory workshop is a rather laborious task. Making a layout, etching, heating and other related tasks take a lot of time and energy from an electronics engineer. Today, few people are engaged in this, more often they order from specialized companies - but in this case you have to wait for your order for many days. In the development of electronics, the production of prototype boards often slows down the process significantly.
Voltera V-One proposed a solution to this problem - a portable station (no larger than an MFP) for printing, sorry for the pun, printed circuit boards. The fundraiser for the Voltera V-One, which was featured at CES 2015, is extremely successful at Kickstarter.
How it works?
The principle of operation of the station is similar to the principle of operation of a conventional inkjet printer. Only as ink is a special conductive substance used here, which the “printer” applies to the board. In addition, a special insulator material is used, which isolates layers from each other if the board is multilayer. The insulating composition is also applied automatically, another type of printhead is used (they change in a matter of seconds).
As a result, after downloading the file with the trace of the board, we get it within an hour or two, and not days or weeks. This is capable, on the one hand, of significantly accelerating the development process, and on the other, of increasing the number of iterations for optimizing the board without wasting time. Of course, we are talking here about small series, in a few pieces, because the boards printed on the Voltera V-One are more expensive than conventional ones. But nowadays, in the fast electronics market, the difference in price for several boards can be neglected if you gain time. A large series, of course, it is advisable to order "the old fashioned way."
In addition to the main functionality, the “printer” should also work as a dispenser of solder paste, which it applies in a matter of seconds in the right places. Then, at the right time, the board heats up to the temperature necessary to melt the paste and components can be mounted on it.
How easy is it?
The printer has only one button, and the cartridges change without any problems - the nozzles are magnetically based, there are no complicated mounts. The software, according to the developers, is reliable, and there are no problems when working with it.
The process of changing cartridges for printing two-layer boards.
The software tracks intersecting tracks, and takes into account the places where the intersection occurs, for subsequent application of the insulating layer.
Wiring the components The
manufacturer promises that after applying the solder paste it is enough to install the components and turn on the heat - and the soldered board is ready. This functionality is not yet ready, the developers are now working on a heating module for the Voltera V-One.
Each device comes with a set of prototyping boards with already drilled holes for the most common solutions today. At the start, this is Arduino Uno and Mega. Further it is planned to add other boards.
How much does it cost and when to wait on sale?
Pre-ordered Voltera V-One is available for $ 1,200 . After entering the market, the device will cost about 1700 US dollars.
The first batch of devices will be shipped in September 2015, the second batch will go to the "depositors" in January 2016.