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Turn a flatbed scanner into a PCB UV exposure device

Arduino TeamDecember 23rd, 2017

If you want to create your own custom PCBs, you could design it and wait for a fab house to send it back, dealing with any errors, or you could do it yourself. Hacker Andras Kabai decided to go for the second option, and made his own UV exposure tool to help him with the process using an old flatbed scanner as the base.

Rather than line the entire underside of the bed with LEDs, he cleverly repurposed the single-axis gantry that would normally hold the scanning unit to instead contain a row of LEDs to expose the PCB on top.

The project was prototyped with an Arduino Pro Mini, but was eventually supplanted by a Mega when the smaller board’s limits were reached.

Plenty of DIY PCB UV exposure tool building posts are available on the internet with total different approaches. I also designed my own, to fulfill my needs: it should be relative small and portable and the hacking/modding should be fun. ? Flat bed scanners were found as possibly good target. Compared to most of the other scanner mods, which use LED arrays or fluorescent tubes across the whole scanner bed area, my plan was to use the scanner carriage with only few LEDs and control its movement (and brightness) under the given PCB.

You can check out the device’s development in the videos below, which show off its interface and the gantry in motion.