Professional circuitboard ?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Mathematics!, May 21, 2009.

  1. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
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    I am wondering what I need to make PBC board like the ones you buy for a computer like the motherboard , sound card ,...etc

    How do they make the board have the tiny copper lines and the board green?

    How much will it cost me and what would I need ?

    I believe the guy at radioshack told me.
    I could use part #276-1535 PCB ETCHANT SOLUTION , and some kind of special pen that draws the copper lines.

    If this is all I need then great it won't cost to much!

    But then how do you do it. Do you draw the lines with the pen then dip the whole board into the solution for an hour or so then rinse with water and peel off?

    I would like to know how to do this since twisting the components legs or making solder lines makes it look bad.

    Thanks for any info.
     
  2. Dr Oetker

    New Member

    May 21, 2009
    5
    0
    You may (may) make a good two layer PCB at home, but it is a hassle, especially for high pin count design. However, if you are using dense BGA packages, then better find inexpensive/free Sch/PCB SW and let professionals make the pcb.
     
  3. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    1,022
    4
    I am not using dense BGA packages. And I am not willing to pay for the professional and give them my circuit design everytime I want to make a circuit look professional. Note I get by with just making solder lines or twisting component legs just fine. However it would look better and be easy to place the components in one place and not worry about what has to get connected to what.

    I was just wondering if I could do it from home and how,what ,where,...etc to do it?

    For the board do I get the nondrilled copper boards and is it then just that one solution with a special pen?

    What makes the board green? <-- is this just what happens when you put it in the solution?

    And why are you saying it is going to be a hassel?

    If the pen is easy to draw lines with then where is the hard part?
     
  4. Dr Oetker

    New Member

    May 21, 2009
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    0
    "Pen'n'acid" is for making copper traces. You draw lines, pen protects copper and then acid eats away copper from unprotected areas. What you get is copper pattern that you need to drill. Accuracy of the PCB footprints depends on your artistic ability. This method is prone to error, as you need to do all manualy, no PCB SW to do the precise design and check for you.
    The green area - not sure if you can do it at home, you need sort of special membrane that covers the board, and lets the dye thru only on specific areas (i.e. not on exposed pads). OR you need to protect the pads by other means. On top of that, you need to print "silkscreen", that is, components referrence designators. Similar printing method. Hope you know what you are going into, I would never dare:)
     
  5. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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  6. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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  7. DC_Kid

    Distinguished Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    638
    9
    the best you can do at home is to print circuits on transparency film via laser printer. use photo reactive pcb. i had bought a MG exposing lamp kit to expose the the print onto the board. i created my 1st circuit in photoshop. i then etched using standard etching solution in a small plastic tank heated by a fishtank glass heater and i used a fishtank bubbler to agitate. this proved doable but a pita and time consuming (you need a dark room to expose correctly, etc). this worked for me for doing some prototyping. you cannot use this method to obtain the thin/dense traces you see on motherboards.

    i then moved to DipTrace software and i found a pcb maker in CA that does short runs for a decent price.

    there are some free pcb softwares out there. from there you could contact someone like SparkFun as they have access to a china pcb fabricator that does one-off's fairly cheap......
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2009
  8. Slider2732

    Member

    May 6, 2009
    17
    0
    While experimenting with the etching processes, you might try a method I use regularly.
    Search your stock of spares boards, presuming you have as many folks do, a large collection of circuit boards from various bits of electronics. Find one with quite a large area that's free of components and snap/sand/break it away and tidy the edges. Place the components to the design of the circuit in the approximate places, to work out the size you need and mark the placings with a pencil point. Then further trim the circuit board piece.
    Use a Dremmel to make the tiny leg holes where the pencil points are. You can connect underneath in your conventional manner.
    It gives a much better look to the circuit than breadboard from Radio Shack and gives practice with component layouts, if you've only ever spider legged a circuit before.
     
  9. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
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    The photoreactive method is a lot more comlicated than the toner transfer. Best keep it simple, unless you plan on doing this a lot.
     
  10. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    1,022
    4
    My problem is not drawing I was very good at art. So I don't think I should have any problems in drawing the copper lines.

    I have played around with some of the free PCB software.
    Just praticed making different designs and printing them off.

    But what I want to know is what else do I have to get other then
    part #276-1535 PCB ETCHANT SOLUTION
    the etching pen ("Pen'n'acid")

    Forgetting the coloring green part.
    Are those the only 2 parts I need. Because if that is the case the solution cost $10. And I don't know what the pen will cost but I am assuming not more then $10 or 15
     
  11. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
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    Read the links I gave you, both recommend different kinds of etchent other than ferric cloride, both are different from each other. The second one you make yourself from common chemicals, and is much greener (good for the ecology).

    You can even mix the two methods, they have a lot of similarities. I like the thought of using the toner transfer to lay out a parts diagram on the blank (no copper) side. Very professional.
     
  12. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    1,022
    4
    Ok, I have done some research on the subject.

    This link is the way I want to do it.

    http://www.societyofrobots.com/member_tutorials/node/103

    Is the Ferric chloride used the same way as the AMMONIUM PERSULPHATE that they use in the example.

    Because the radioshack part I believe is ferric chloride but it is not a powder form it is liquid.

    So I am wondering how I would use this radioshack part instead of the ammonium persulphate .
    I have printed off a circuit design on some semi gloss paper and I have ironed it in and put it in soap water then peeled it off.

    Looks good on the copper board. But I am a little shakey with how to finish the etching process?
    Is it just setting it in the radioshack Ferric chloride solution and moving it back and forth until the copper under the ink on the board is the only copper left.

    How long does this usually take?

    Some last minute questions

    Also for the printing of the circuit will any laser printer do?
    I just used my HP laser computer printer with just black ink. Seemed to come out OK, but I haven't finshed the etching.

    Also Just curious I don't have a lot of gloss paper left is it still ok just to use regular computer paper instead ?
    I am getting the hint that gloss paper just makes it stand out more but you could do it with other paper. .
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2009
  13. DC_Kid

    Distinguished Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    638
    9
    how long it takes to etch depends on severeal factors.

    1. % strength of ethcant
    2. agitation
    3. temp
    4. the pcb copper weight (typically said in "oz"), heavier boards have more copper to etch off, etc
    5. repeated ethcing dilutes the etchant making less effective, etc


    ... and using the toner method is slick. i should have trued that instead of using photo reactive boards, etc. i think you need gloss paper so th toner can easily/fully transfer off to the copper.
     
  14. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    1,022
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    What exactly is toner. Is it just black ink. Or is it a special ink.
    I have a HP printer. Do I need a special printer or special ink?

    Would they sell this stuff at staples along with more gloss paper?
     
  15. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
    15,648
    2,346
    Hello,

    The toner transfer methode uses a black and white laser printer.
    The toner melts again when heated, it will transfer to the PCB (if properly cleaned).
    It helps if the PCB is "pre-hreated".

    Here is a link how they do it:
    http://www.qsl.net/ve2emm/pcb/pcb2e.html

    Greetings,
    Bertus
     
  16. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    1,022
    4
    All I am wondering now is what ink cartarge to buy for the printer?
    Would a staples have the ink?

    Wondering if toner is just another name for the regular black ink cartarges.
    That you buy to print regular documents on?
     
  17. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
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  18. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    1,022
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    Sure how do you do this.

    And must you have an ink jet printer?
    You can't use a lazer printer to make the design on the gloss paper?
     
  19. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
    15,648
    2,346
    Hello,

    I have a pack of glossy paper for my laser printer.
    I have a color laser printer. I even use it to print photo's.
    The glossy paper for my laserprinter is much cheaper than glossy paper for an inkjet.

    Greetings,
    Bertus
     
  20. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    1,022
    4
    Yes , but must your printer be an ink jet to make the PCB board correctly or will any type of printer due?
     
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