1. itel933

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 26, 2010
    38
    0
    I would like to have a PCB with all of the components made. How do I go about doing so? what should I be looking for?
     
  2. tom66

    Senior Member

    May 9, 2009
    2,613
    214
    First, you'll need a schematic layout of your design.

    Then you can take two routes with designing;

    • You can route it manually from memory and reference to the schematic. Prone to errors but easiest to do (i.e. no software required, you could even use MS Paint or equivalents.)
    • You can use a netlist (basically a list of connections) with a program set like gEDA, Eagle, etc. It tells you where to route the wires. More advanced packages can do this automatically (auto routing) but this can be more problematic.
    When you have your design you can have it produced at one of many PCB fabs. The cheapest ones are in China, so shop around for the best deal. You'll be looking at somewhere from $25 to $100 to fab a PCB in low quantities (generally most of it is the "tooling cost", only $5 is for the actual PCB), depending on parameters.

    Finally when your PCBs arrive from wherever, you can solder the components onto them. Some PCB fab houses can also do this for you.
     
  3. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,536
    There is one level simpler, also more prone to errors, hand draw your layout on a piece of copper board with a sharpie (an American brand of magic marker that comes in several widths). Basically it needs to be water proof.

    Etchants are not too hard to find, there are several different kinds, some you can make with hydrogen peroxide and Muriatic Acid, which are available from pharmacies and hardware stores (the latter being a swimming pool chemical, basically hydrochloric acid). You will need good latex gloves, a deep glass dish, and some simple tools (wooden dowels come to mind, they will be destroyed long term).

    One of our members here on AAC (Tom Goottee) has an excellent website for how to DIY. It is possible to use a laser printer (not an ink jet) to make high quality printed circuit boards. He also describes how to etch a board that has been prepared.

    http://www.fullnet.com/~tomg/gooteepc.htm
     
  4. tom66

    Senior Member

    May 9, 2009
    2,613
    214
    When it comes down to the investment Bill, given you can only produce 1- and 2-layer boards with no silkscreen, I don't think it's worth making home PCBs. I'm lucky enough to have been given a 4 lamp timed UV exposure unit (approx value £200) and was actually considering manufacturing some boards at home, but given you can get them done for maybe £40 each it's not really worth it.
     
  5. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,536
    I've never done it any other way, so obviously I disagree. A lot of people produce high quality PCBs this way, so they would disagree too. It is also not the only way to do it, home made routers are also popular, and produce very clean results (but when it goes wrong you need another piece of PCB stock). It is extremely inexpensive is a large part of the reason, about 1/50th the cost (give or take).

    Another transfer paper to use for laser printers besides Tom Gootee's recommendation is high gloss magazine pages, the kind with color graphics on them. They have a high clay content that will hold toner (which is a form of plastic) but allow it to transfer off easily. Never done this method, but I am told the gaudier the page the better it works.

    Ferric Chloride is available from Radio Shack (sometimes).

    Ammonium Perchlorate was available from Fry's.
     
  6. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    5,201
    312
    If you cant produce a PCB at home for under $20 starting costs, something is wrong.

    You can get Muratic Acid from ACE hardware for $5ish a quart and hydrogen peroxide at the dollar store..or even WalMart for $1.

    The toner transfer can be done at home with a laser printer or visit a fedEx kinkos or other type of printing shop and have them print your design on a laser printer onto the paper of your choice for about $1.13

    The rest is your time.

    I cant see how that can be much cheaper.

    However, OP, if you want the board assembled as well, 4pcb (as well as many other outfits) will etch, drill, silk-screen, mask, and populate your design for a cost.

    There is a setup cost that makes doing small numbers board rather costly, as mentioned previously. BUT, If you want it done, you want it done!
     
  7. Rbeckett

    Member

    Sep 3, 2010
    205
    32
    There is a book available that makes PCB design a simple cook book affair. The Book is "Making Printed circuit Boards", by Jan Axelson. The ISBN number is 0-8306-3950-0 for the hard cover edition through TAB books. Although the book is dated in terms of age, it is timeless in it's presentation of DIY/low volume PCB fabrication. Populating a PCB is easy and can be done at home while listening to music and making money. Depending on complexity and total parts count any number of boards can be produce effectively for a very reasonable price in a pretty timely manner. I found my copy on WHEE-bay for less than 10USD shipped to my door express. Worth a look, especially if you are interested in making a little cash on the side, as well as expanding your skill set and being productive. Hope this helps...
    Bob
     
  8. Pich

    Active Member

    Mar 11, 2008
    119
    4
    There are PCB houses in north America that will do it all for you .$$$..at a price..$$$. You have not indicated what part of the project you will do. If the circuit is not very complicated and can be done on one side of the PCB then you will be better off going with some of the suggestions here. Unless ofcoure you have the money to spend.
     
  9. Realwin

    New Member

    Oct 18, 2010
    3
    0
    You can choose a few online quote and order manufacturers. the quality is very good and low cost.For Example: PCBwing.com , You should try it.

    If your PCB is very small size, you should try BatchPCB.com group purchase.
     
  10. itel933

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 26, 2010
    38
    0
    thank you for the sites....maybe PCB is not entirely what I am looking for. I want to streamline/ miniturize a circuit and have it sit on a board (all of the parts caps, resistors, led, etc) do you have any other information to that?


     
  11. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    5,201
    312
    Isn't that a Printed Circuit Board?(PCB)

    What EXACTLY do you want to do?

    What do you have and what do you need or want?
     
  12. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,536
    That is still a PCB. It sounds like you are talking surface mount instead of through hole, but the board fabrication is the same.

    The only advantage a commercial product will have is multiple layers, instead of two layer (bottom, and possibly top) with via holes (the holes are interconnected between all the layers). I can usually do what I want with single layer.

    The chemicals are cheap, and there will be enough for 5 projects, probably a lot more. PCB stock isn't too hard to find, and if bought in surplus can be very inexpensive. I figure a board costs me between $1-$5, usually on the low side.

    I have made boards using conventional through hole parts with no holes. It looks uglier, but it works well.
     
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