Inkjet PCB Etching

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Born On:
13:08, 28 February 2012 (CST)
Last Updated:
13:05, 01 October 2012 (CDT)

This is where I'll keep notes on the Inkjet PCB project


So apparently I am no good at the Laser Toner transfer method for PCB Etch resist. I seem to have issues getting things to line up on multiple applications (read: ironings). Using an Inkjet Printer to apply an etch resist layer to copper clad pcb is by no means a new idea. A bunch of people have gone before, making this project a relatively pain free one. About the only pain I experienced on this project was the Epson Artisan 50 that I bought new/unopened off ebay was a bit finicky starting up. I had to pop the ink cartridges out and re-seat them before it detected them and initialized them. See the Links section for my sources.


The PCB Printer is located in the Fap Lab


  • Yahoo Group These guys rock.
  • Full Spectrum Engineering Tutorial page These guys also rock. (plus they sell awesome lasers!)
    • (on step 6 - the images are wrong - but you can browse to them; they should be "tutorial9.gif" and "tutorial10.gif", respectively)
      • also the settings are a bit different in Inkscape (what can i say: i am an Inkscape junkie). In Inkscape, its just easier to move the pattern to where you want it to show up on the page - I couldn't find any Page Offsets like in gimp or Paint - Trial/Error/Calipers
  • Direct to PCB InkJet Resist Printing page A thorough project page.


  • Specific to the Epson Artisan 50 Inkjet Printer
    • History
      • According to The Internet, in the halcyon, carefree days of yore, Epson built the R280 printer. This printer, like its predecessor the A50, could print to Inkjet capable CDs. Sadly, word got around that you could re-purpose that function for printing counterfeit ID cards. So Epson did what any responsible manufacturer would, and ended the R280 line. They did not, however want to abandon the lucrative direct-printing-to-a-CD market, so the Artisan 50 was made. It had a feature that would prevent people from misusing the CD-print feature: its drivers disallowed the printer heads from firing in the area where the CD hole was. This made it so that anyone trying to print IDs with it would come away with a blank somewhere in the badge - an obvious imperfection. One would then assume that due to this Feature, the A50 would be less than suitable to our goal of printing circuits onto copper cladded plates. That unfortunate One would be misled. The reason being that printer drivers for the maligned R280 are still available from Epson's website. Along with the fact that the R280 and the A50 are effectively the same printer (though the R280's drivers don't talk well with the ink level sensors). One can then download the R280 drivers (after installing the A50 drivers), use the manual port designation to point to the proper USB port, and then print images sans hole.
    • Printer Settings
      • A50 Inkscape offsets: Horizontal:16.680mm | Vertical 167.942mm
      • CD Offset File for the A50

Pretty Pictures

Inkjet Cartridge
Another pic of the Inkjet Cartridge
Inkjet Cartridge in the printer
Lasers are fun
Pretty little chip