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Transparent PCB

PCBBUY experimented with transparent (glass) PCBs.
Published June 11, 2022

So after today's transparent hotswap socket, it came to me that there was a transparent PCB: PCBBUY's Johnny teased some of their transparent PCBs last year – claimed to be made of glass.

It seems people at PCBBUY like to toy around with unconventional materials and manufacturing methods since the same team posted the color-printed silk screen just a few weeks ago.

Apparently, the new transparent PCB was not production-ready at the time of posting, it had some serious limitations. E.g. asking about flexibility, the representative replied:

it's rigid, it's kinda glass PCB. haha

Two layers seemed possible, but tests were still going on. They couldn't answer the question if trough-hole plating or via was possible. As some comments indicate, even if they ever go into production, custom shapes won't likely to be supported either, so square shapes only.

Anyways, SugaaH posted a similar PCB on r/mk a while ago and shared his thoughts and concerns:

For anyone wondering clear PCBs can be done a couple of ways. Normal PCBs use FR-4 as the plate material with thin copper sheets attached to each side. FR-4 is basically just resin and fiberglass. To make a clear PCB I could just use clear resin without fiberglass. Which makes the whole thing pretty brittle and I would not count on it surviving a fall from my desk. Clear resin can also then used to make a solder mask. It is also possible the deposit copper onto glass and use that as a base. With glass though holes should become quite the hassle, so that's more feasible for one-sided PCBs.

Regardless, while this method is not yet available trough the PCBBUY site, you may contact @pcb_Johnny with your gerbers. ;)

Published on Sat 11th Jun 2022. Featured in KBD #82 (source).

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