PCB Etching

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by nDever, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. nDever

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jan 13, 2011
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    Hey,

    First time fabbing my own PCB. I've been looking around for the method that best fits my needs (there are tons of ways to do this). I've decided to go with the toner transfer method using just glossy paper and an iron.

    Has anyone etched any boards using RadioShack's brand of copper-clad two-sided boards? I have seen reports from a small number of people reporting that RadioShack's brand of boards are not good for heating: the fiberglass layer bubbles underneath the copper when heated. Most people, though, have had good results with the brand.

    I would like to use Staple's brand of glossy paper, but some complain that their brand of paper, in particular, leaves a substantial amound of glossy film on the copper, preventing the etchant from getting to the copper.

    I would just like to hear some opinions from people who've done this before, especially those who've done it with the aforementioned brand names.
     
  2. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I've used radioshack's boards and had no problem. I also heat the dog crap out of them because I use a Brother brand printer, which uses some stubborn toner that only melts above probably 300 degrees.

    I tried several brands of glossy paper, and they all left behind an unacceptable amount of glossy residue. I switched over to magazine paper (yes, pages ripped out of magazines) cut to 8.5X11 and it works beautifully. 100% transfer of toner, no gloss, super easy to remove just by rubbing with a thumb under water. I highly recommend it. I highly discourage using glossy picture paper.
     
  3. nDever

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    154
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    Yeah, I've seen where people have used magazine paper too. I didn't know how well it worked, though. Apparently, it works fine.

    Thanks for the tip, strantor.
     
  4. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I posted an article on it just around a year ago.

    How I make PCBs

    I haven't had good luck with irons lately, so I've been experimenting.


    My blog...

    Bill's Index
     
  5. nDever

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jan 13, 2011
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    4
    Does anyone know whether the iron-on transfer method works well for dual-layer boards?
     
  6. nerdegutta

    Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
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    It works. It's the alignment that is though.

    One way of doing it, is making a "pocket" or "envelope" of your graphic, and put your pcb inside that. Graphic inside, but I guess you knew that. :)
     
  7. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    This "pocket" method works well if you have a laminator like bill, but for me, I can't make it work using a clothes iron.

    I do each side seperately. I iron one layer on one side, then remove the paper and drill a few of the holes for vias or through-hole components. Then I use these holes to line up the printout for the the other side.

    In doing it my way, when ironing the second side, you have to be very careful not to get any tape on the first side, as the adhesive will melt off onto the toner. I have a way around it, but I dont have time to describe it.
     
  8. nerdegutta

    Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
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    ...and that's one of the reasons I use UV...
     
    strantor likes this.
  9. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I'll have to look into that. I sure hate my method, it takes forever. I just don't make PCBs often enough to justify spending much money on a better setup. How much does it cost to get started with UV?

    Considering my garage projects are starting to lead me in the direction of CNC metal milling, I might end up milling my PCBs too. That would be even better, if I can make the mill drill all my holes for me too :).

    (don't have a mill yet, or I would)
     
  10. nerdegutta

    Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
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