PCB etching gone wrong, please advice

Thread Starter

David Sanchez

Joined Dec 16, 2016

Hey everyone, I am completely new to electronics and I am trying to make a circuit board.

1st. I transferred the printed circuit onto photo paper with an iron.

2nd. I immersed the pcb in the ferric chloride that I prepared, I think with a higher concentration than recommended. I left it on for 15 minutes and since I didn't see much happening, I took it out and removed the toner with acetone.

As I saw that it wouldn't come out, I passed it a fine sandpaper, and that's when I realized that the ferrous chloride hadn't had an effect.

Does anyone have any advice or have an idea of what might have happened?

Thank you


Joined Aug 21, 2008
Sometimes 15 minutes is not enough, especially if the ferric chloride is "used up" or cold. The unmasked parts of the copper should be shiny and bright in order to etch well.

It speeds things up if you warm the ferric chloride a little. A friend would etch his boards in a Pyrex dish on his stove.


Joined Oct 2, 2009
Heat the etching solution. Agitate the board vigorously all the time while etching.
We held the board vertically in a tank and used a peristaltic pump to spray etchant on to the board.

Instead of spraying, we would fill the tank with etchant. Drill two holes close to one edge of the board. The board would then be suspended vertically by the two holes. Then we would manually move the board up and down in the solution. Total time to etch is about 5 minutes.

Thread Starter

David Sanchez

Joined Dec 16, 2016
Thanks for the advice!

I'll try hearing the water before making the solution.

Is it true that is I add more water (hot) to the ferric chloride, the hydrogen in the water activates the solution and it acts faster?