Linen Paper

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Example of a simple circuit printed onto linen paper with the HackADay logo printed with a silkscreen cartridge
Simple game based on Atmega4313 printed onto linen paper

Click here to see a full list of substrates that can be used with the Argentum printer.

Description

Linen paper is simply a thick craft style paper (often sold as a cheaper/easier to use alternative to Linen Paper) that you can find at any local (or online) craft store. Unfortunately many craft stores tend to be pretty skimpy on product specifications - we will try and generate a good guide for selecting appropriate paper in the future. Linen paper is very useful for making circuits as it is extremely easy to form (cut, fold, bend etc), bonds onto the Silver traces well by embedding them within the fibrous matrix of the paper & is of course very cheap/disposable.

Linen paper can also be soldered to quite easily which is a big plus & if you are looking to generate an ultra-light circuit for some application it's a good alternative to heavy FR4 (Polyimide is also well suited to lightweight applications). See here for a close up video of solder re-flow on linen paper.

Where to Find

This style of paper will be available from the Cartesian Co Web-store shortly but can also be found in very similar forms in any art/craft store online as well as locally. In Queensland Australia, we can source this material from a store called Spotlight.

It is sometimes sold as a cheaper/easier to use alternative to Linen Paper as it has a similar texture.

Parameter Details

Property Value Description
Conductivity.jpg
3outOf5.jpg
3/5 The conductivity of linen paper is reasonably high but the looser matrix of fibres in the paper means that conductivity will always be lower than say FR4 or Polyimide. Generally the first few layers will result in very high resistances but this will begin to drop quickly after ~3 layers.
Resolution.jpg
3outOf5.jpg
3/5 The resolution of a print on linen paper is a little lower than materials like Stone Paper or Polyimide because the inks tend to bleed a small amount. An SOIC chip footprint can still be easily achieved without shorting (pitch spacing of 1.27mm or 0.05 inches) but going below this is difficult to achieve.
Solderability.jpg
4outOf5.jpg
4/5 It's actually very easy to solder to linen paper as the fibrous matrix keeps a tight hold on the Silver preventing it from lifting. One downside to soldering linen paper is that the material will warp under heat so if you'd like to keep the circuit flat, you need to hold it flat while soldering. For a video example, see here.
Durability.jpg
4outOf5.jpg
4/5 Linen paper has great resistance to water damage & has been shown to be able to sustain a working circuit for very long periods of time. However, the traces on the paper are less resilient to scratching than say FR4.
Flexibility.jpg
4outOf5.jpg
4/5 Linen paper has a flexibility similar to a thin cardboard sheet - this allows for unique form fitting shapes while still retaining a minimum bend radius that can help to prevent intermittent contact to pins.
Formability.jpg
5outOf5.jpg
5/5 One of the greatest features of linen paper is that it can be cut with scissors, a blade, torn, folded, laser cut, stamped etc. It's just a craft paper so it's very simple to make a uniquely shaped board for mounting in an odd fashion etc.

Compatible Component Attachment Methods

Soldering
Solderability.jpg
Silver Conductive Epoxy
ConductiveEpoxy.jpg
Z-Axis Tape
ZAxisTape.jpg