My Homemade Etching Tank

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by bluebrakes, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. bluebrakes

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Oct 17, 2009
    I thought I would share with you my homemade etching tank.

    More importantly, it does exactly what it says on the tin without stretching your budget to several hundred on a professional system.

    I made mine in 20 minutes.

    I bought the following...

    A 3.0L breakfast cereal container. cost £5 from tesco
    An aquarium pump kit from ebay... cost £10 incl P&P from ebay
    1.9mm square garden mesh... cost £0.99 from a garden centre
    An Aquarium heater £7 (optional)
    A few cable ties, a drill and a hot glue gun.

    The aquarium pump kit (ebay) came with a pump, hose, one way valve and a 12 inch flexible air curtain. Bargain! I thought it would be a good idea to buy a cheap one in case i have issues with using ferric chloride.

    I drilled a small 6mm hole at the top RH corner of the cereal container for the air hose to go through. Used the hot glue to stick the air curtain to the bottom of the container.

    Cut the garden mesh to size, folded in half, cable tied.
    Then I drilled four small holes in the lid of the container. Cable tied the mesh to the underside of the lid.

    Attached is some pictures.
  2. bluebrakes

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Oct 17, 2009
    A few pics of a circuit board i made with it...
  3. KL7AJ

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 4, 2008
    Nice job!

    Another method, commonly used when I was a squirt, was the "auto-slosh" method. You rigged a clock motor up with a cam that would tilt the etching tray back and forth slowly to agitate the solution. I imagine the bubbler does a more effective job. I'll have to present this to my students.

    An additional note on etching boards from my "Opus of Amateur Radio Knowledge and Lore" due to be published some year soon. :D

    We occasionally use corrosive compounds in the ham shack, like circuit-board etching solutions. It is advisable to use rubber gloves and chemical goggles when etching circuit boards. Dispose of the used etchant solution in the proper fashion, which means, don’t flush it down the sink. Save it in a proper plastic bottle, sneak it over to your neighbor’s garage, where, upon its discovery, they can flush it down their sink. No. Just kidding. Scratch that from the record. Forget I ever said that......"

  4. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    I've been thinking of doing something similar with a RC servo and a couple of 555s (of course :rolleyes: ).

    Nice job though, what work, works.
  5. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    You can use a microwave oven turntable motor, with a simple 2 bump cam, it wil rock the tray every few seconds.

    Personally I don't know what the fuss is about, I just hand-slosh them and they are done in 5 mins and that's at room temp. Maybe people mix the FeCl too weak??

    (edit) And that's a cool setup bluebrakes. :)
  6. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
    It has been some wild rumours on this side that BIll actually is looking for uC development tools, but I guess some people will prove overunity before that happened:cool: Ha ha
  7. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008