Having waited for 3+ weeks for PCBs from a board house (have you tried to order PCBs from China in January?) , this sounds like an interesting approach I would like to try. Given that first version of a board is guaranteed to have issues, I would rather make something (crude as it might come out) in my lab than to waste time and money on a professionally made board.
So, laser cutting the stencils and laser-printing the actual board for etching sounds like a nice match for a DIY lab
Originally posted on MAKE:
I love this — a laser cutter just powerful enough to cut vinyl, but that’s great for creating your own PCBs.
Are you sick and tired of using a tooth pick to apply solder paste? Are you still using through hole components because you don’t want to deal with soldering surface mount devices (SMD)? If so, this post provides you with guidelines for building your very own laser cutter for cutting PCB stencils. With a total cost of approximately $200 (it can be significantly less if you already have parts laying around), this project can pay for itself very quickly. While you can get “low cost” stencils for your PCBs, they still can be quite expensive if you are only creating one or two boards
[via Electronics Lab]