My goal in writing this is to document the modification of the Epson R260 type printer (R260, R265, R270, R360, R380, R390) for use in directly printing resist on copper clad boards to make printed circuit boards. This “hack” has been done many times by numerous others over the last few years, but there does not seem to be a detailed “How To” that includes pictures and descriptions, starting with the intact machine and ending with the finished pcb printer.

I chose the R260 for several reasons. It is readily available in used condition on eBay, Craigslist, etc. It is relatively inexpensive – I bought a working R260 for $60 including shipping, but there were others available untested for much less. There are a number of similar models, also relatively inexpensive and readily available. However the main reason I chose the R260 is that this group of printers can be easily modified to accommodate very thick pcbs. In fact, it can easily pass a .125 sheet of plastic with room to spare!

My modification produces a printer that:

Allows easy adjustment of the printhead height. The height can be smoothly varied by turning a gear to print a range of thickness from paper thin to well over .125 inches. This allows a .062 board on a .062 carrier to be printed!

Allows boards up to 5 inches wide to pass through the printer with no rollers making contact with the top of the board. 8 inch wide boards will pass through if you don’t mind the rollers contacting the surface of the board.

The modification requires no sheet metal cutting and a minimum of plastic cutting – just the rear of the case to admit the board and a couple of non critical changes to the rollers. It does require a very simple microcontroller to emulate to Automatic Platen Gap, making the printer think it is varying the printhead height when it really isn’t. For those interested in duplicating this hack, I will provide a programmed microcontroller for a minimal price.
Modification of the Epson Stylus Photo R260 and Similar Printers for Direct Printing on PCBs
Mark Lerman mlerman@ix.netcom.com
February 19, 2011

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Epson Stylus Photo R260.
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R260 Service Manual
What you will need:
1 - R260 or similar printer. I got one on eBay for $60 including shipping.
2 - Service Manual for printer. It is not copywrited, so I am posting it here.
3 - Printer software and User Manual.
4 - A small snap switch. Digikey part #SW144-ND will do, but so will many others.
5 – A microcontroller. The circuit uses only the micro and a decoupling capacitor. I used an Atmel ATtiny13.
6 – Mispro ink. Yellow will do.
7 – A set of resettable ink cartridges. See eBay.
8 – The usual assortment of tools. A dremel with a small routing bit makes things easier.

Links
R260 Software
R260 User Manual
Mispro Ink
Digikey SW144-nd
ATtiny13 Program