[clug] PCB printing - Queanbeyan

Ben Nizette bn at niasdigital.com
Thu Nov 26 15:26:55 MST 2009

On Thu, 2009-11-26 at 22:34 +1100, Adam Baxter wrote:
> Hi all,
> Thanks Tridge for the coffee and quick intro to USB hacking.
> A funny thing happened on the way home in the taxi. Turns out the driver
> works in a factory producing PCBs.
> http://www.lintek.com.au/contact.html
> Not sure what the prices would be for a small run, but it's worth asking.


Yeah, Lintek use a pretty unique process which gives excellent
reproducibility but it's darn expensive.

Usually a manufacturer gets a fibreglass board plated with copper at the
right thickness, applies an etch resist in the shape of the tracks and
dunks it in an etching chemical.  This is quick and easy but the
chemical actually etches under the resist a bit, making track with a
cross-section like a trapeze balanced on its short edge.

Lintek get that same board, etch off /all/ the copper then
electro-deposit a new layer of copper, just a few microns thick.  They
etch that in the normal way then grow new copper on top of the thin
tracks.  This way they can grow the tracks up with a perfect
cross-section and, for that matter, pretty much as thick as they want.
They can also make narrower tracks - by a traditional process there
comes a track width where the cross-section goes to a triangle balanced
on its point, but Lintek don't have that problem.

As Geoff said, this makes them great for RF boards because the track
shape is almost perfectly defined and very similar across all boards in
a run.

All this said, I've used Lintek a fair bit in the past - if you've got
the $$ they're pretty accommodating.  I've had massively urgent 2 layer
boards produced same-day (no screen-print, no bare-board test etc).

FWIW the best short-run PCB manufacturer I've found is Print'N'Etch,
they'll do a 2 layer panel (unlimited number of PCBs on that panel),
10"x16", full screenprint and test, 10 day lead time, $295.


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