Let's Make Robots!

A PCB printer for photoresist which uses a PHR-803T Blue-Ray™ pickup

Print PCB's on photoresist materials with a blue-ray pickup


About a year ago my brother and I engaged on a quixotic project to build from scratch a low-cost PCB printer for photoresist. 

Finally we did it using a Blue Ray™ optical pickup (PHR-803T) and his UV laser/electronics to sensitize Dry-film.

The optical pickup is used through his own connector without any modification. We deduced the pinout using reverse engineering and designed a driver for an Arduino UNO to control it. Basically, we can adjust the laser power, turn the laser on/off, move the focus lens servo and read the photodiode array signal.

The control of the pickup allowed us implementing a laser auto-focus algorithm based on the astigmatic method. Is the same method used to focus the laser beam on the Blue Ray™ disc.

The mechanics is a X/Y Cartesian robot which moves the pickup with two Nema 16 stepper motors and T2.5 timing-belts.  Most of the printer framework has been printed with a 3D Reprap printer, so it’s replicable.

We also developed the Arduino UNO firmware, based on 3D printer firmware Marlin, and the server side software which send the HPGL commands to the printer. Eagle Cadsoft complete the “tool-chain”. It supports HPGL in his CAM processor, so is easy to design the circuit with Eagle, generate the HPGL file and send it to the printer.

DiyouPCB is a prototype and it's still not perfect: we have some resonance and vibration issues that affect the quality of printing, but it's a first step to have an alternative method to indirect methods as the famous toner transfer.

We shared all the information about how to build it and use it in our web site www.diyouware.com.

Our next project will be to build an UV resin 3D printer using also the PHR-803T.

Charlie & Victor

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I used more simple solution from two old DVD drivers.

I named this BluePCB project :-)


(sorry on Russian only)

Photos at bottom of page

Good idea to use the CD/DVD stepper motors. Really, we should have done our
machine smaller because we never we are going to print so large PCB's so we
think small and precise will be better. I saw that you are using the laser diode
with a laser case. We decided to use the original pickup without
modifications through his own connector and move the lens to do auto-focus.
In our approach the lens are very close to de PCB.

I have tryed to resolve problem with autofocus. Second version of my machine has Z axis small stepper motor (used FDD parts).

But while without success :-)

Maybe I will try to use your solution with stadard optical pickup module. But is is not easy.

About precise. My solution allows move XY with 0.04 mm per step of motor. But my laser beam is too big for such resolution.

Sorry, I published the anwer to your message above: see Diaphram

Thanks for information. I will try to play with SPU3200 pickup. It has more simple connector and possible default red LD can be replaced by 405nm LD.

Looks great.  Phase II should have a drill head to drill the through holes after etching!  Same chassis, I don't see why not.



Yes, drilling is still a nightmare.

Yesterday I received an email from a guy who wanted to add our blu-ray pickup head to his CNC machine like any other tool.

Some expensive CNC machines has this feature and can automatically exchange the carving or drilling tool. Why not print in 3D a tool holder and install there the optical pickup?. The CNC machine could cut the board, drill, them paint the circuit with the laser, all with the same machine.



I saw in some UV resin 3D printers that they use an Iris Diaphragm to reduce the laser spot diameter.


I unknow the cost. May be you can use or create something similar.

Anyway, if you go for a solution with a focusable laser diode with alu case, lens plus iris diaphragm, then I will also add two galvos to move the laser beam because the laser feedrate can be really fast using galvos. Galvos are simple: a stepper motor with a piece of mirror.


I'm think you can make them with a stepper motor like this https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10551 and a piece of thin mirror or even better use two RC servos.