Another make-your-own PCB thread... what sort of blanks should I buy?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Evil Lurker, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. Evil Lurker

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 25, 2011
    I think its way past time to start crafting my own PCBs and have a few random questions involving what type of blank stock I need and where to get it.

    What I am looking to build as of right now are some PSU boards, some based around LM317's in through hole and some surface mount SMD LM1117's and LM2596s. As such double sided boards are a must because I will need to implement a ground plane/cooling areas.

    I hear terms like FR-4, 2oz and 1oz, along with .060 thrown around but not sure what they mean as I don't really have anything to compare them with.

    So my questions are, what kind of material should I be looking to get, how thick does the type of stock need to be, and what weight of copper clad should I select?
  2. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    FR-4 is the type of epoxy fibre boards used in PCB manufacturing. This is standard.
    0.060" is the thickness of the board. This is a standard thickness.
    1oz refers to the thickness of the copper layer on the board. Do not choose 2oz since this is going to require longer etching in order to remove the copper.

    Copper laminates also come in single sided and double sided. For simple projects and just starting out with DIY PCB fabrication you want to begin with single sided. If you want to experiment with making low noise circuits with SMD components you can get some double sided stock.

    When laying out your circuit for DIY PCB fabrication, an objective is to leave as much copper on the board as possible. This will speed up the etching and will make your etching solution last longer.
  3. SPQR


    Nov 4, 2011
    Amen to THAT!
    I just learned that over the last few months - It's a pain to have to change your chemicals part way through the etching just to finish a board in which you forgot to cover up the unused space with copper.

    I've also read that it can make the board stronger - but my boards are so small that it's probably not relevant.

    I've even thinking of switching from Express to Eagle - I've seen Eagle boards that allow you to automatically "fill in the space".
  4. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    I use a fresh batch of solution most of the time, unless I am making multiple boards, and do not fill the board space with resist. I have yet to have the etchent peter out, ever. This using both Ferric Chloride, and Muriatic Acid / Peroxide mix.

    Bill's Blog

    How I make PCBs