Etching pcbs

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Robin Mitchell, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. Robin Mitchell

    Thread Starter Distinguished Member

    Oct 25, 2009
    Ferrice chloride crystals...
    instead of dissolving loads and getting a nasty quick etcher can you use a few crystals and etch over a long period of time so the solution is safe?

    Thanks :D
  2. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    Not a good idea. I don't know the ideal solution for FeCl, but you need to etch quickly then stop the process. Otherwise it goes around the edges and takes out small traces. Ideally the solution should be warm to speed up the process even more.

    Have you seen this thread?

    How I make PCBs
  3. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
    How is the ferric chloride solution unsafe? Other than doing in steel, including stainless, the stuff does not seem to give off fumes or attack skin like nitric acid. The solution does not degrade over time - I have 4 gallons I have been using for about 8 years now (I have a big Kepro spray etcher). Even the stains bleach out.
  4. kubeek


    Sep 20, 2005
    Well, my cotton shirts say otherwise :) The soulution eats nice holes through them over time, but otherwise it is perfectly safe.
    The only problem I had was when I poured a little of the warm etchant into sink and it made interesting maps on the chromed parts.
  5. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    Not to mention what it did to the other plumbing.

    I've never heard any mention of FeCl being unsafe, unlike the etching solution I've been using lately. FeCl stains badly, will eat tools if stored next to them, and other problems along that line, but it isn't that toxic.

    The hydrogen peroxide and hydrochloric acid solution I use will burn you with acid burns if you don't wear protection, but it isn't that toxic either. I do not recommend it for beginners because of the acid, but it is a lot cheaper.

    When I store FeCl (I still have some in the garage) I wrap a rolled up paper towel tightly around the seal (it is liquid) and tape it in place to soak the fumes. It works. Before I ruined a drawer full of tools because the fumes caused something that looked a lot like accelerated rust from a bottle with just a cap tightly screwed on. I do the same thing with the acid.