Pen Holder

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Revision as of 21:19, 23 July 2010 by Casainho (talk | contribs) (Added a pciture with EMC2 simulationg the GCode. Changed the text, mainly emoving the last one added by Sebastian.)
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This page is a development stub. Please enhance this page by adding information, cad files, nice big images, and well structured data!

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Pen Holder

Release status: Experimental

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CAD Models
External Link

This Pen Holder can be used to draw circuit boards with an etch resistant pen and is printable on a RepRap. Besides the RP parts all that is needed to operate it is a rubber band which holds the pen in place.

The CAD Models are not available at RepRap but can be downloaded from Thingiverse


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Permanent ink pens

Fine-Tip Red Color Staedtler Lumocolor Permanent Marker 318-2

The Fine-Tip Red Color Staedtler Lumocolor Permanent Marker 318-2 is the best for this purpose.

Fine-Tip Red Color Staedtler Lumocolor Permanent Marker 318-2.

One pen that works well on most etchants is the staedtler lumocolor permanent marker. The red color is best (the ink is also used in the marker for chemical lab glassware).

It only resists strong etchants without fail if the pen is fairly fresh, so it may be best to get the refill station so you always have a "new" pen at low cost. - via Homebrew_PCBs

Pigment ink pens

This pigment ink should resist to the etchant just like the people that are printing PCBs with Epson printers which have his DureBrite pigment ink that resists to etch acid.


  • plot the design on PCB;
  • put PCB on oven for a few minutes to dry the ink very well;
  • etch the PCB.

Gerber RS274X to GCoder Converter

A little Java program to convert Gerber RS274X files, which can be exported from Eagle or KiCad, to GCode.

The code can be downloaded via subversion:

$ svn co
$ cd gerber2gcode/src
$ javac 
$ java Main pcb.gerber pcb.gcode
Gerber RS274X to GCoder Converter for RepRap's

Input: pcb.gerber
Output: pcb.gcode

Pen Width: 0.7 mm
Offset X: 40.0 mm
Offset Y: 40.0 mm
Drawing Height: 1.8 mm
Freemove Height: 3.8 mm

GCode file generated succesfully !

This software is still in a very early stage. The pen width, offset and height parameter can be changed at the top region of the file.

Simulation of generated GCode

You may want to simulate the plot before real doing it with RepRap Mendel, so you can simulate using EMC2. Casainho builded EMC2 2.4.1 (simulator mode only) on Linux Ubuntu 10.04. See here how to build EMC2.

Here is one screenshot took by Casainho while simulating with EMC2 a GCode file generated by gerber2gcode Java software. The gerbers files were exported from KiCad:

Pen holder-gcode simulation emc2.png

For developers

If you are looking on information about RS274X (Gerber) files see this page.