20W/40W Laser modules: new PCB engraving method?

Hi to you Snapmaker community !

I’m fresh new here, and I didn’t order my 2.0 yet, because I need you for my choice ;).

Im very convinced by the 3-by-1 system offered by the Snapmaker 2.0, but after looking forward for tutorials and testimony about PCB engraving with the CNC module, the results are not as good as I was expecting (maybe I’m wrong !)
One of my goals with this machine is to make 1 layer PCB prototype, and I will also use it for metal engraving.
So, I was wondering to buy the 40 W laser module, because I was thinking that maybe it can be used to engrave the ouline of the tracks. What do you think of that ?
Because otherwise, my second option may be the 200 W CNC module, that can rotate faster.

Can’t wait to get your advice :wink:

If your entire reason is to make PCBs, I’d look into a wegstr CNC. Check out their YouTube channel if you need convincing.

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Still blue diodes. I’ve seen no indication it can lase thru copper.

Could lase thru a mask for subsequent etching step…but could use that technique at 1.6W even.

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I’ve seen one video where it seems that the 2W IR laser (upcoming) may be able to do this. A 30 W 1064 nm Laser certainly can: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=d7yR-QOJuos

With 2W IR lasers out in the wild, I wonder why you find only very little info on the topic of circuit board with 2W IR…

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Yeah, i saw those, the results are stunning.

But no, PCB engraving won’t be my main utility of the machine, that is why i was really convinced by the 3-in-1.

Alright, so you say that Snapmaker 2W IR is in dev ?

My research was manly pointed around the CNC module and the available laser modules from snapmaker. Also, im not an expert in the laser engraving/cutting technologies, so i didn’t know the possibilities of an 2W IR module. But good to know, ill look into

Are you talking about this particular process ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=d7yR-QOJuos&ab_channel=Barbatronic

Yep, it is. No release date yet, but communication by Snapmaker suggests that it is right around the corner.

Sorry, not watching YouTube video.

It’s pretty self-explanatory isn’t it? Mask with something… adhesive backed vinyl [ be careful about type and whether it’s something that really should be laser cut] paint, whatever. Laze off to expose copper. Then use some sort of etchant to remove exposed copper. Last step clean off your paint/masking.

I used to do a process where I would laser print on glossy magazine type coated paper, use an iron to transfer the toner to the top of the circuit board which also kind of melted on the paper, dissolve the paper away in a water bath, then use an acid etchant mix to define the circuit board. Messy and not capable of the best resolution, but it worked.

Lasering off a mask from the PCB in order to prepare it for etching is commonly done, and any of the lasers Snapmaker currently offers is capable of that, even the 1.6 W laser.
The video shows a different process, and that is isolation routing directly with a laser, i.e. it evaporates the copper itself. No need for etching anymore, no chemicals involved. None of the current lasers can do it (all blue), but perhaps(?) the 2W IR laser can do it. The video linked here shows a 30W IR laser that obviously is capable of doing it.
If the 2W could do it, it would be awsome - isolation routing with milling is cumbersome, because leveling the circuit board is tricky with the required precision.