Microfibre cloth is the only fabric based substrate that has thus far been successfully tested with the Argentum Printer. The reason that microfibre is suitable is that it has a very fine and tight weave of fibres, with coarser materials, the printed silver would have to build up a very large amount before it could bridge the gaps and height differences.
Microfibre cloth is only 'tentatively supported' in the current revision of the Argentum. Even though it works much better that other fabrics, the extreme flexibility of the fibres makes it quite easy to wear down tracks to high resistances. The Cartesian Co team have successfully printed some reasonably complex circuits onto microfibres but they are yet to prove very durable.
Where to Find
Microfibres can be found from sporting stores as clothing, from fabric suppliers or in various places as cleaning cloths for glasses, electronics etc.
|2/5 The conductivity of Microfibre Cloth is quite low when compared to other materials because the weave of the material is relatively coarse. This means that the silver will need to build up significantly to begin bridging the gaps and pits between fibres. Generally the first few layers will result in very high resistances but this will begin to drop quickly after ~5 or more layers.|
|2/5 The achievable resolution of a print on Microfibre Cloth is also reduced when compared to smoother materials due to the ink bleeding into the gaps of the fibre weave. The Cartesian Co team has successfully printed and used an SOIC chip footprint without shorting (pitch spacing of 1.27mm or 0.05 inches) but this was a challenge and any finer pitches would be impossible at this stage.|
|0/5 Due to the breakdown & warping of almost any microfibre cloths at anywhere upward of 80C, it becomes virtually impossible to solder anything to the traces - only suitable for Z-Axis Tape or Silver conductive epoxy.|
|2/5 The material itself is inherently waterproof, ductile and resilient to tight radius folds but the surface leaves adhesion very low for the top surface of traces. Some of the silver that penetrates deeper into the fibres can withstand more rigorous wear but this often results in conductivity dropping significantly and then stabilizing.|
|5/5 Microfibre is extremely flexible, it can be deformed in more than one axis at a time quite easily and as such drapes itself over forms very easily. The material is well suited for potential uses in wearable electronics.|
|5/5 Microfibre cloth can be cut, folded, sewn or anything else you can do with any other fabric. The material however doesn't have very much stiffness at all so will not retain a folded shape like Linen Paper.|
Compatible Component Attachment Methods
|Silver Conductive Epoxy|