A PCB For A Quarter?

As time has gone by and PCB assembly companies have reached further into the space of affordability for our community, the available types of board have multiplied. No longer are we limited to FR4 with a green solder mask, we can have all colours of the rainbow and a variety of substrates. The folks at BotFactory have taken things a step further with their PCB printer though, by printing a fully-functional PCB on a quarter.

As a base layer the printed five passes of insulation on the coin, before printing the traces. Holes are left in the insulation to create a form of via that connects to the coin. On the board is an ATtiny2313 microcontroller that flashes an LED, and on the reverse side of the coin is a CR2032 cell that’s secured with a set of bolts and washers. You can see it taking shape in the video below the break.

It’s true that an LED flasher isn’t exciting, and that this is a marketing stunt for BotFactory’s printer. But it’s an inventive one, and reminds us that with a bit of ingenuity anything can become a board. We’ve had our share over the years, and instantly springing to mind is this stretchable PCB.

 

20 thoughts on “A PCB For A Quarter?

          1. Ah, then perhaps you have some input on the details available on your website?

            Perhaps you guys could put an actual starting price on your web page. When I see “contact for quote” it makes me feel like even they people selling the product are embarrassed by the price.

          2. Hi JF,

            Is there a reason you used the ATtiny2313 instead of a smaller ATtiny footprint (i.e. ATtiny 9 or even the ATtiny 85)? You could have probably fit it on a nickel or penny with those. Is that the next project or is there some limitation to go that small? Thanks!

    1. They actually broke the law!, Defacing coins is an offence.

      Section 331 of Title 18 of the United States code provides criminal penalties for anyone who “fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the Mints of the United States.” This statute means that you may be violating the law if you change the .

      Go to jail, do not pass go…

      1. This is probably not illegal at all. The key word there is “fraudulently.” This law is generally interpreted to mean that it is illegal when you are doing it to commit fraud, such as gluing a corner from a $20 bill onto a $1 bill to cheat someone out of $19, or shave silver off coins when they were still made with silver.

          1. What you feel doesn’t matter, precedent and intent of the law does. Can you cite prior cases where money modified for the sake of art resulted in prosecution? Generally, doodling/modifying currency is not a problem. If it ends up at a bank, they might slate it to be destroyed and replaced.

  1. Interesting approach and a piece of art as well, sort of.
    Reminds me of the higher education paradigm that in Australia Arts and Sciences are separate faculties. Whilst in other parts of the world there are universities which share those streams eg “Department of Art and Science” etc.

    Of course there is some art in designing PCB layouts, as well as I (cough) explored circa 2002 designing a circuit board replacement for the thermoplastic Holden Commodore notorious melting fuserail which caused much havoc in the tight engine bay mostly for the turbo model using the Nissan RB30 engine around 1987. Replaced with an interlocking heavy copper double tracked plug in assembly in a kit with MP4 videos on cd. Original web page was here http://niche.ii.net

    Here’s my feeble effort on eBay which resulted in heaps of sales all over the world and not just for that Australian model & other cars but also caravans, VG Maloo in USA and others in ASEAN region https://www.ebay.com.au/usr/purple_engine

  2. “But to our knowledge, there is no way one could fabricate this except with Inkjet Printed Electronics which is the core of our technology.”

    Spray paint and copper tape?

    It’s definitely cool and gives me tool envy, but there’s always a hackier way to do something. ;)

  3. Just to note: Smart way of contacting: Screws bring the voltage from the coincell-holder around the coin, then using a shorted (Or not, Doesnt matter here) capacitor as a contact-pin… NICE! Thinking out of the box here! :)

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