DIY Flex Circuits

PCB Boards are Cool, but the Holy Grail for robotics are the Kapton Flex Circuits which are both wire and circuit in one.

Using This Material, I was able to CNC a single-sided SMD circuit which is thin and flexible - though not quite Kapton :-(

For lightweight circuits that fit into odd shapes (like fuselages), etc, this is a process that can't be beat. You could probably use a chemical etch, but the CNC does the routing and cutout with the same tool.

First Design in Eagle then export in PCB-GCODE. I used 20mil spacing in eagle and a 16mil tool in gcode with a 3mil default (offset). I glued the scissor-cut material to a thicker PCB with spray glue, then held it down with clamps. It is critical to get the working surface flat (which took time and error).

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  • Sorry I did not add
  • i don't think the 2K is a good number
    so $300 plus $40 shipping for the controller and motors
    and if you want to go cheap you can build the frame for under $200

    or you can check this thread or ebay item
    This domain may be for sale!
  • @Taylor,
    home brew cnc start at about $2K. (About $1K for the framework/mill and another K for the electronics). I think this comes down to $1K for seriously economized models (wood frame etc...)
  • Fantastic and inspiring work! Thank you for sharing it.
  • How much would it cost if I were to build one myself or buy one factory made ?
  • It is homemade by someone - I picked it up on ebay. It has some really poor qualities, (like 1/8 inch vertical play/give) but still managed a nice board.
  • Is it a homemade Cnc. Or is it store bought ?
  • @Taylor,
    yes, the cnc (dremel router) removed the unwanted copper. Then cuts the part out.
  • So how does that cnc work with the copper? Do the cnc cut away the excess copper, leaveing the copper traces for the the components to be soldered too?
  • Some years ago I tried hot iron transfer method to copper plated (single layer) capton and etching after all - was quite good, but nothing followed. As far as I know LPKF S100 and their laser protomat can also handle capton, but on very high price for the machine. 6-8layers rigid flex board/10pcs/ 4 rigid panels/5x5cm with 363 ball BGA and microvias is something like 500USD per piece
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