any advice on etching PCBs for beginners

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by JohnnyD, Sep 2, 2006.

  1. JohnnyD

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Aug 29, 2006
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    0
    Hi,

    I've gotten really annoyed at arranging circuits to fit on veroboard so i think it's time I worked out how to make PCBs. I don't know anything about it so I'd appreciate any advice on the subject. I'd only need to make the occasional PCB, nothing major.

    Thanks.

    John.
     
  2. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
    6,960
    144
    Hi John,

    If you are doing occasional circuit development have you considered purchasing a breadboard? Its both quicker and easier than using veroboards and you can easily modify your circuits as required.

    Depending on your requirements it may be an option for you to look at before you start getting into the realms of PCB manufacture.

    Dave
     
  3. JohnnyD

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Aug 29, 2006
    79
    0
    Hi, thanks for the reply. I probably didn't explain the situation well enough. I have a breadboard thing for prototyping and generally messing around. but when i come to putting together the finished article I only use veroboard as I don't have the knowlege or equiment to make PCBs. I have one project in which a number of people have expressed an interest so I'm thinking I should really make a PCB for it instead of selling units to people with veroboard in. I just don't think it's very professional looking if anyone were to take a look inside.

    I've been reading some stuff about laser printer things but i only have an inkjet printer so that rules out that option.
     
  4. mrmeval

    Distinguished Member

    Jun 30, 2006
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  5. Gadget

    Distinguished Member

    Jan 10, 2006
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  6. thingmaker3

    Retired Moderator

    May 16, 2005
    5,072
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    I take .pdf files of my circuitry to photocopy places and have them printed out on laser.
     
  7. Chris Wright

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2006
    62
    0
    I just downloaded a free PCB layout program from this site: http://web.ift.uib.no/~bruce/eda.htm

    It has dozens of links under each of the following headings:

    • Schematic entry, IC and PCB layout
    • Logic design and synthesis
    • Simulation
    • Autorouting
    • Manufacturing tools and Utilities (CAM, viewers, converters, etc.)
    • Other stuff (download sites, tips, links, etc)

    And here is a site telling how to make the boards Using Laser Printer Toner Transfer from plain paper instead of the special transfer film. (I think it is a repeat of above)

    http://www.fullnet.com/u/tomg/gooteepc.htm

    Check out your library, they usually have laser printers. Just take in the right paper.
     
  8. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
    15,815
    282
    Hi,

    I use photosensitized blanks from Circuit Specialists. They are positive resist, so I can pring the pattern on a transparancy with a laser printer, and expose from that. The developer is an aqueous solution - no poisonous solvent fumes. The traces are good down to 12 thousandths, but it's hard to get a good etch.

    I have a Kepro spray etcher, which goes a lot faster than bubbler systems. With age, the spray pattern is not too great, so it's possible to overetch some places, while others are not clear.

    Using 1/2 ounce copper will give better results than 1 ounce with narrow traces. The 1 ounce has more metal exposed under the resist, and the traces will often be dissolved under the coating.

    Don't forgrt the old eXacto knife and 30 ga wire for those little mods to the foil after things are put together and need a bit of help.
     
  9. Chris Wright

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2006
    62
    0
    Print out your circuit on your inkjet and then take it, and the right paper, transparency or film, depending on the method you use, to a photo copier and use your materials in the manual feed.
     
  10. JohnnyD

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Aug 29, 2006
    79
    0
    Thanks everyone, that's given me a lot to think about!
     
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