DiyouPCB is an open-source PCB printer which uses a Blu-Ray pickup #3DThursday #3DPrinting

Here is an interesting open source project sent to us by Kevin Groce. He had this to say: “This group from Spain reversed engineered a blu-ray head to expose UV film resist with some amazing results. Guess what? It’s all open sourced and they are already working on the next version.”

DiyouPCB is an open-source PCB printer which uses a Blu-Ray pickup:

…We used the famous Toshiba PHR-803T Blu-Ray™ pick-up (really it’s HD-DVD). We though we could use a Blu-Ray™ pickup laser diode to sensitize Dry-Film: a photoresist material very popular to print PCB’s. Dry-film is easy to use (adheres to the copper board through heat) and has a reasonable price ($15-$20 per m2). We have used it extensively with very good results.

The PHR-803T

The idea of using a Blu-Ray™ laser diode is not very original; we found some experiences of this type on the Internet, all based on removing the diode from the pickup and installing it on a CNC machine or a laser printer.

But we din’t want to tier down the PHR-803T because it is a jewel of engineering; we hate to destroy things (although finally we broke some of them to learn how they work). In addition, we wanted something as simple as buying the pickup and connect it to the printer. Fortunately the lack of PHR-803T technical information forced us hacking it. 🙂  And using reverse engineering we figured out the connector pinout and took advantage of the complete system: auto-focus, lens up and down, laser power, laser oscillator, etc, all through it’s own electronics.

We started the project in February 2013 but break on several times thinking that it was not feasible. Finally, in October 2013, we did all tests successfully. In total it have been about 8 months of work.

…The PHR-803T is a masterpiece of engineering manufactured by Toshiba. It’s an optical HD-DVD pickup very well known in the market because it’s used in the Xbox360. Nowadays, optical storage technology has been largely superseded by other technologies like flash memories. In fact Toshiba has discontinued HD-DVD readers/writers so there are in the market many spare parts at low prices.

The pickup incorporates some interesting stuff:

  • Two laser diodes: one of 405nm (HD-DVD) and another of 650/780nm to CD/DVD.
  • A focus lens and coil servos for auto-focus, tracking and correction angle.
  • A photodiode array which receive the RF signal and help focusing and tracking.

Thanks to the page of Sam (Sam’s Laser FAQ) we learned a lot about how the laser works and got the little information available about the PHR-803T on the Internet. Sam include in his web a very interesting photo of a exploded view that helped us to identify its components….

Read more.

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