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Old 24 May 2007, 16:32   #1
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HomeMade PCB

does anyone know good starter tutorials/homepages for making your simple PCBs at home ?
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Old 24 May 2007, 19:44   #2
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I would like to know too! Planning on getting a soldering iron!
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Old 24 May 2007, 20:50   #3
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there's not a lot to it really, if you're talking really simple stuff, a marker pen, copper clad board, and a tray with some ferric chloride in it will do all you need. if you want to do more complex designs, then google press n peel, it's an iron-on film that you print the mask on with your laser printer and then iron onto the board. For larger boards, and easy production of multiple boards, you'll want to be looking at using photoresist boards with the artwork printed onto transparencies, along with a UV lightbox and a heated bubble tank for etching.
Drilling is important too, you will at the very least need a miniature drill with a stand of some sort to accurately make holes without snapping bits constantly, and you will want tungsten carbide drills if you intend to use glass fibre boards, as they'll blunt HSS very quickly (Likewise, you'll probably need a guillotine to cut them if you intend on making large quantities) you can get fancy drills operated by a foot pedal for easier drilling, but they cost more, and are probably not worth it for home use.
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Old 02 June 2010, 21:18   #4
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Home made circuit boards

Hi all,

i am looking around trying to find out what the best way to produce home made circuit boards and what i would need. What are people here using for their home made jobbies, any links etc greatly appreciated
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Old 02 June 2010, 21:41   #5
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Had the same idea some time ago. This is what I've found:

[ Show youtube player ]
[ Show youtube player ] (this one is a bit different)

EDIT: loads of interesting stuff at hackaday.com

Last edited by gilgamesh; 02 June 2010 at 21:50.
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Old 04 March 2011, 01:34   #6
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Now this is cool, an etchant consisting of household materials: vinegar+peroxide+salt
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Old 04 March 2011, 17:26   #7
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My friend, Making your own PCB's is a real buzz as you bring something from your mind into a tangible form of existence

Making PCB's at home is a very involved collection of processes this is why I find it better to do more than one at a time =)

SO before I jump into "what you should get" let me explain the process of processes =)

To Begin: Proofing
Lets say you have your design on computer using say, Eagle Cad or something similar, you print out a test sheet to ensure all the components have room on the paper design and that edge connectors all line up and are the right pitch. From here we start the first process - getting the art onto the plate =)

Transfering your design to Copper
There exists a few ways to do this, some are involved, some are simple but limited and some are quite exotic.

1. Classic Photo-Lithography
This method will see you transfer your image to transparency which is then place ontop of a copper plate with a (UV) light sensitive chemical on its face.

Step 2

You then place this in a (UV) light box for about 5 - 20 minutes pending its intensity.

Step 3

You then use developer to develop the resist layer

Step 4

You then Use Ferric Chloride to "etch" the copper away from PCB

Step 5

Rinse the PCB and using Acetone liquid rub - off the resist layer and you will be left with a shiney copper PCB =)

Step 6: Protecting the PCB

As you probably know, Copper is amphoteric, which means it will oxidize and react with air / humidty. to stop this you need to protect your PCB, you can do this in a couple of ways.

By far the cheapest is Flux protective spray - you spray it on, it will harden and will also provide a great base to solder too.

The slightly more expensive way is Tinning - to do this you can use Liquid tin, and just dip the surface of the copper PCB into the liquid TIN - this will coat the copper in TIN that wont react and provide a fantastic base for soldering (it also look very COOL)

The very expensive way is to use electrolysis and plate the copper with GOLD! this is the shiz-niz of finishings and really just looks delicious... but lets just say that damn pricey!

Thats the classic basis of making your own PCB's - If I was to suggest anything to invest in, I would say that using light lithography is the best way to go - if not a bit expensive to begin with!

I think you will find YouTube particularly useful for this, as it will show the process from start to finish [ Show youtube player ]

2. Other Methods: Laser Photo-Paper
There are other methods that are slight cheaper - but are a little more involved - [ Show youtube player ]

I had mixed results when using this method, I found it a bit patchy, although its possible the boards that I worked on where perhaps to large. In the end to get any form of reasonable result I had to leave the iron on for the better part of 10-15 minutes.

2. Other Methods: Laser Press 'n Peel
If you just want to have a crack at making a simple single layer PCB, then perhaps "Press 'n Peel" might be your method, I have had reasonably good results - but I will say that its best to do a couple of boards at a time to really maximize your throughput otherwise one PCB could take you a day or two to produce (and that is before you put components on it!)

For quick prototyping on small projects I would recommend "Pess and Peel" transfer paper its a very simple way of making proto's from a laser printer / photocopier.

have a look here for [ Show youtube player ]

I hope this all helps.

Last edited by Zetr0; 04 March 2011 at 17:35.
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Old 04 March 2011, 18:15   #8
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my advice is forget about it (especially if you want double sided PCB). its a waste of time, nerves, health and money.
better find someone in your town making them professionally, it can't be that expensive.

I made few and gave up.
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Old 11 March 2011, 10:45   #9
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Probably How not to do it ?? LOL

Try to get it a bit better looking than this...

Not afraid to show the dodgy ones?, .

One of my first ones , an amiga Sampler..

Done in 1990's approx ...

I left it stewing in the etcher so long it nearly removed everything, Spent a while repairing with solder and/or wire , Almost total solder ? .

Industrial strength tracks !

.But was still ok until this week , cannibalized an IC off it . and nicked the metal case I made up . TUT ..
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Old 11 March 2011, 17:53   #10
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I made the same mistake. The trick is to cover as much copper as possible. that way etching is quick, and it looks better. also might help reduce interference.
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Old 11 March 2011, 18:19   #11
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Not sure if you heated up the etchant, but you should heat up the solution with a glass bulb heater you can buy specifically for etching (and also an aquarium air pump. The heat and the agitation makes it work faster and will reduce the over etching a bit
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Old 13 March 2011, 01:55   #12
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Making PCBs at home takes some trial and error to get the right process but once you find what works with your equipment, you should have a repeatable process.

Take a look at this first:

The method I use is detailed below.

I use a Mega electronics UV box with 2-3 minute exposure on to Photoboard2 (UV photo resist). I have the expensive PCB transparencies but have successfully used 65gsm tracing paper from WHSmith for transparencies.

Then either Seno photoresist developer is dabbed on or I use developing solution, also from Mega electronics, if a batch has been mixed recently. Wash PCB afterwards.

Etching is done using the Seno GS etching system, the ferric chloride is contained within an etchant sleeve. You insert the PCB, seal the sleeve and leave the board to etch. A heatgun is used to raise the temperature of the etchant to 50-60C, this really speeds up the etching process. Alternatively, put the ferric chloride in a an ice cream tub, insert PCb for etching within. Then place the ice cream tub in larger container of hot water. This will heat the etchant and again speed the etching process.

After etching, the board is washed in water and left to dry.

Next the board will be drilled and any shaping of the PCB finished.

The board is cleaned using a PCB polishing block, this removes the UV photoresist. Then the PCB is coated with Kontakt-Chemie Flux SK10 spray. This helps prevent the copper from corroding and provides a good coating fo flux to make the soldering easier. Works well for SMT boards.

The two most expensive pieces of equipment were the UV light box (currently £138 from Rapid electronics) and the Eagle CAD licence, £475 for a standard licence. For non-commercial use you can buy the non-profit licence for £125, which is what I originally used.

I have made 23 different PCBs using my equipment. Considering a one-off PCB from PCB train or PCB pool is around £40, I have recouped my initial outlay.

In the UK, I buy PCB materials and accessories from ESR (www.esr.co.uk), Rapid Electronics (www.rapidonline.com) and Farnell (uk.farnell.com).

Finally, a few design guidelines when tracking your own PCB are detailed here:

All from the 'lessons' learnt making numerous PCBs.

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