The Voltera V-One circuit printer gained big interest among top tech media over the last few weeks. They won the TechCrunch Hardware Battlefield (Karolina Bołądź was a judge) and launched campaign on the Kickstarter and hit $100,000 in 35 minutes. Is the Voltera V-One the future of rapid prototyping of electronics?
Circuit boards are everywhere, in every electronic device such as a camera or a smartphone. The Voltera V-One is a perfect tool on the early stage of prototyping, when all we need is a couple of boards for prototyping. Most designers outsource creating such boards to manufactories in China and wait for delivery for about 2 weeks. The V-One speeds this process up to 1-2 hours and that is the major argument used by Voltera to support their idea.
The Voltera solution provides multiple capabilities – it will print at 8mil trace width, dispense solder paste to allow users to place SMD components on professionally manufactured boards, and provide heat for reflowing those electronics onto boards. It also prints multiple layers (as many as 2 according to Voltera team).
This solution allows to cut the cost of prototyping before mass-manufacturing started. The team said that:
–“Electronic designers want to place their printer (Voltera) besides 3D printers for truly rapid prototyping”.
So what a 3D printer user can do with the V-One? Quite simple devices such as remote control gadget, a quadcopter, remote control lightening, projects based on mini computers as Raspberry Pi etc. Anyway, most of these devices can be easily produced in-house. So why Voltera has gained such interest? Most probably because of the direction they heading into. The solution is in the early stage of development and needs further updates and solutions, and this is something Voletra team is aware of. For the hobbyist, it’s still much easier to produce a board on his own and the actual breakout is a print of multi-layer circuits.
Still, with a 3D printer and V-One you could produce quite awesome stuff.