4. Printing

With your dispenser assembled, material and substrate added to the materials library all the prep work is complete and you're now ready to get to printing. This guide will take your through your first print with NOVA.

From the main menu select the ‘Dispense’ workflow.

The ‘Create a Job’ step is an optional step. For the Terra NOVA project we can skip this by clicking next. In the future if you plan on doing a print that uses the same pattern (circuit), paste, substrate, and alignment multiple times you can use the feature to speed up some of the processes.

Choose Materials

First, select the ink and substrate you added to the library earlier on.

Load Pattern

The next step is to load your pattern to generate the toolpaths. In this case the Terra NOVA file is pre-loaded, select the Load Sample Files option and select the Terra NOVA print file.

Mount Substrate

At this point, you will be prompted to mount your substrate. If it is a flexible substrate, it will have a vacuum power setting, which will prompt you to insert the Vacuum table. You can then lay your substrate (like a PET film) on top of the vacuum plate.

Note: For best vacuum performance, make sure that your substrate covers the entire vacuum plate. If necessary, you can always put down some paper around the edges of your cut-out substrate to cover any open area.

Align Pattern

For alignment, there are three sections. Set Pivot, Set Pivot Position, and Set Rotation. For this design, we don’t need to do precise alignment since we’re not trying to line up to any existing features. You will just need to ensure the printed pattern will fit on the substrate. But, we’ll go into a bit more detail on these steps so you have a better idea when you go to print your own patterns.

Set Pivot

The purpose of setting the pivot is to select a feature in your design that you want to use to align around. This will be the point we use in the next two steps to move the design and rotate around. It’s usually easiest to select a point in one of the corners of your design.

Set Pivot Position

During this step you are moving your printed pattern where you want it on the substrate using the Pivot point you selected previously. The main focus in this step is to focus on aligning the pivot point itself, not the full design. You can use the arrow keys to move the pivot point around and you can fine tune the alignment by clicking the number in the center of the movement controls to adjust the step size.

Set Rotation

Once you have the pattern aligned to the pivot point, you may need to do some rotation around this point to get the rest of the design aligned. Again, you can fine tune the rotation by clicking the number in the center of the rotation controls to adjust the step size.

Tune Alignment

At this step, NOVA will create a virtual overlay of your printing pattern on a series of photos from different areas of your substrat. This lets you confirm that your toolpath is in the correct position and fine tune the alignment before moving on to printing. You can toggle between rotating the pattern and moving the pattern with their respective icons.

Measure Height

This time around, NOVA will probe on both the calibration plate, and on your substrate, generating a heightmap for printing.

Flow Check

This step is like a final test to make sure your ink is flowing well. You aren't putting in any new settings - just letting NOVA print three clean lines. It may take a few passes to get the ink flowing. But, once that happens, you're ready to go.

At this point, you can sit back and let NOVA do the work. Click Start, and NOVA will print the pattern.

Inspect Job

The last step is to inspect your print with the built-in camera. If it looks good, you just click done, give it a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, and you're good to go!

Cure your print

For this you can use a box oven set to 150°C for 5-15 minutes. We found this information in the data sheet for ACI FS0142. If you're using a different material, make sure to follow the curing instructions in that data sheet.

With you print complete and cured, you can move onto 5. Final Assembly.

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