On Monday (February 10th), Waterloo, Canada-based Voltera launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise $70,000 for its new self-titled protyping machine. Within only 35 minutes of its debut, the device impressively surpassed its initial goal and was quickly dubbed one of the crowdfunding giant’s staff pick.
Voltera V-One is a circuit board that can create a prototype board right from a work bench. Gerber files go in, FR4 boards come out. Its print lays down a conductive ink to create the traces and an insulating ink as a mask between the layers.
The Voltera team stated, “These boards aren’t meant to replace mass manufactured PCBs – this is a prototyping tool that helps you get there faster. How amny times have you tossed out a board because you used the wrong footprint or because you forgot a pull-up resistor? If you’re anything like us… more times than you’d like to admit. Now you can quickly test an idea without wasting money or two weeks of your time!”
In comparison to the costs of a printed board to a fabbed board, the team shared certain advantages:
- domestic fab shops tend to be more expensive
- printed silver ink isn’t the same as plated copper. Similar to how you can’t compare a 3D printed part to a molded part; however, both have value for their application
- with the printer, you won’t have to expedite your order
- with the printer, you won’t need to pay shipping costs
- with the printer, you won’t need to pay or wait for stencils
Explaining how Voltera V-One works, the team noted, “Creating a two layer board is a breeze… While designing, keep the vias and layers like you normally would. After the first layer is printed and cured, swap in the insulating ink cartridge. The software automatically detects traces intersections and lays down a mask where two traces overlap.
“If you’re still etching or milling your own boards, gone are the days of aligning double sided boards and fly-wiring through tiny holes to get your circuit to work. Once your board is ready for components to be added, set your iron to 240C and solder away!”
The template boards that are provided for the Voltera V-One are Arduino Uno and Mega shield boards. The team promises they will be adding more as they go and the backers will get a say with what boards come next, whether they be a Spark Core, Raspberry Pi or Beagle Bone.
Since its launch, the Voltera V-One has raised nearly $255,000 from 400 backers. It is set to close on March 12th.
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