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Forum 2005-2010 (read only) => General => Bar Sport => Topic started by: newman on Nov 22, 2010, 02:53 pm

Title: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: newman on Nov 22, 2010, 02:53 pm
hi,
i am thinking of etching a pcb
(of arduino http://arduino.cc/en/Main/ArduinoBoardSerialSingleSided3)
any suggestions ?  
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Osgeld on Nov 22, 2010, 04:21 pm
wear gloves

stir frequently

heat helps like setting your etching tub in hot water, never heat directly

you can fix toner transfer issues with about 3 coats of sharpie
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: cmiyc on Nov 22, 2010, 04:55 pm
Quote
any suggestions ?

There are some posts already on this topic in this forum and a ton of information on the internet as a whole.
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: newman on Nov 22, 2010, 06:12 pm
Osgeld THANKS

Quote
There are some posts already on this topic in this forum and a ton of information on the internet as a whole.

well actually i needed any advice in making a arduino at home
( perhaps i didnt name the post well  ::) )
any new ideas ?
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: flyboy on Nov 22, 2010, 06:39 pm
You could do your own single-sided serial arduino.  See the main page here: http://arduino.cc/en/Main/ArduinoBoardSerialSingleSided3

Regarding your etching, I'd try this method: http://tanjent.com/doku.php?id=pcb_fabrication
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: newman on Nov 22, 2010, 07:04 pm
Quote
You could do your own single-sided serial arduino.  See the main page here: http://arduino.cc/en/Main/ArduinoBoardSerialSingleSided3

that was the thing i wanted to try out and will there be any disadvantages of this when compared to the readymade board?  :-/

Quote
http://tanjent.com/doku.php?id=pcb_fabrication

goodlink
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: pwillard on Nov 22, 2010, 09:57 pm
I have Build 3 Single Side boards.  I had to modify the board menu so it said SEVERINO with AVR328... but otherwise there seems to be no issues with the Single sided board.  It's fine and fun to make.

I also have been using the EXACT METHODS from that GOOD LINK on fabrication.
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: newman on Nov 23, 2010, 12:46 pm
Quote
I had to modify the board menu so it said SEVERINO with AVR328

i would be really glad to know how to do it  :)
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: george_graves on Nov 24, 2010, 04:04 am
Well, do you not know how to start?  Do you have some copper clad board?
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: newman on Nov 24, 2010, 05:05 am
:) i just ordered some copper clad board and fe2cl3  ;D and the atmega
and pillward could you let me know how to modify the board menu or atleast give your modification  ;)
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Onions on Nov 26, 2010, 06:37 pm
Use sunlight instead of a UV chamber. Much cheaper for just one board!
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: pwillard on Nov 26, 2010, 11:56 pm
Rather than just "toss you to the wolves" and give you my file... here is HOW it's done.

http://www.bhasha.co.cc/pdf/arduino_severino_manual.pdf

And who needs UV when you can just use Toner?
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: newman on Nov 27, 2010, 06:38 pm
Quote
http://www.bhasha.co.cc/pdf/arduino_severino_manual.pdf

is this step compulsary ? i mean what if we dont modifi i guess it is just changing the baud rate waht help does that do
P.S i am not so clear as to why should we change it  ;) will it work if we dont change




Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: newman on Jan 15, 2011, 08:28 am
Hi,
Finally i tried it Today ( Exams wouldnt let me do it then )
the toner dosent stick to the copper clad board im using pohto paper with Cannon Lbp 2900 laser printer i tried it thrice! but no Sucesss :(
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Eiselheimr on Jan 15, 2011, 08:49 am
I was just wondering about the same process, and I found this handy instructable on a solution you can use to etch infinitely. The solution is also very cheap to make, and has less environmental impact.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Stop-using-Ferric-Chloride-etchant!--A-better-etc/
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: newman on Jan 15, 2011, 12:49 pm
I dont hav e any problrm with etching the problem is that the toner is not trnsferred onto the copper clad Board :(
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Fenrisulfr on Jan 15, 2011, 03:29 pm
Hi there

If non of the toner is transferring then either it's not a laser printer that printed the image, used the wrong type of paper, the iron wasn't hot enough or the copper clad has a 'film' or chemical layer that is interfering.

I use matt or semi matt photo paper with an iron set to somewhere close to the polyester setting. Lots of pressure needs to be applied to aid good transfer. I actually use a laminator I converted with a cloths iron thermostat to do the transfer now.

I take it you are cleaning the copper face? I use fine wire wool then wash the copper with hot water and detergent before drying.

I started doing my own 2 years ago and have never had a major issue that a sharpie wont fix.

Hope this is of some help.

EDIT: Read the thread properly. Iron temp is favourite.
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: pwillard on Jan 15, 2011, 05:54 pm
If if you get really lucky, you might find a used Heat Laminator at a local 2nd-Hand (thrift shop) like I did.

I was able to get a used GBC Creative Laminator for $14.00 and now I know that I get nice even heat transfer for the toner.  I pass the paper and board though the laminator about 6 times in close succession and have nice even results.

And as almost all tutorials recommend, rough up/clean your copper surface.  (I use a fine wire brush or very very fine grit sandpaper) and the paper I use high gloss photo paper. I have had good results with generic cheap gloss photo paper as well as with HP GLOSS paper, but I've noticed that the HP paper does have some plastic in it... so you need to test if it that paper works for you.
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Fenrisulfr on Jan 15, 2011, 11:51 pm
Hi Pwillard

I don't want to drag this thread to far off course. But, do you find it difficult to remove the emulsion layer when soaking the paper off the boards when using the high gloss?

I used gloss paper for my first few boards and it was hellish to get off. That's why I now use matt or semi matt photo paper now. It all comes of really easily. I can even, carefully, use a pan scourer to clean the last remnants off to clear the 'through holes' for better etching. The scourer is the type on the flip side of a sponge not a metal pad.

Also, my friendly local printers, did some test prints for me on heavy weight gloss paper that they use to do fancy fliers on for other clients. This paper is very cheap and the results were as good as photo paper and soaked off even easier.

regards

Fenrisulfr
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Nogginboink on Jan 17, 2011, 05:30 am
Fenrisulfr, can you tell us exactly what type of paper you use? I've tried several different types of paper (magazines, circulars, and three different inkjet printer papers) and have not had the degree of success that's needed to etch a board successfully. If you've got a system that works, please share the details with us!
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Nishant_Sood on Jan 17, 2011, 10:34 am
You should use the thin glossy magazine paper, along with copper plate rubbed with sand paper and washed with acetone or citric acid to remove any moisture on it then you should heat the copper plate for about some seconds say..50-60 and then put your print out down,Also use the LASER JET printer's only or the photocopier print out's only and note to keep the PCB STRAIGHT (or else the print inside would get on board and the sidelines will remain)
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Fenrisulfr on Jan 17, 2011, 01:06 pm
The photo paper I have at the moment is -

HP 'Everyday photo paper'. It is semi-gloss (I think I called it semi-matt earlier) for inkjet. It is 170g/m2.

The gloss paper at the printers was also about 170g/m2. It reminded me of the stuff used on 'up marked' magazine covers.

There is a knack to using a household iron. I struggled bravely on with it for a couple of months. It is probably the most intensive part of the process. The iron needs to be moved around. But not by 'skating' pick it up and place it back down. Overlapping where it has just been. Apply plenty of pressure.

Make sure the edges of the PCB are de burred as if left in place it may stop the iron putting enough pressure near the edges leading to poor adhesion.

Pre heating the PCB first with the iron is also a good move. I do have a tutorial posted up at the projectdalek site (I'm a mod there shhhh) If you want I could post it in a new topic? It was written based on my first efforts.

My very first attempt, which was to build a prototype voice mod on, went perfectly, 100% even, using the TT on photo paper. Previously, and at much expense, I had fought with the 'press n peel blue'. This was very hit and miss with regards to the PnP crinkling at the edges during transfer which smeared the traces or left gaps. This may be purely down to not having the knack but I was up and down the temperature scale trying to cure this issue without success.

Local printers are also more likely to let you use your photo paper in their machines as the PnP needs to be attached to a normal bit of paper to act as a carrier to ensure it passes through the printer without mishap. Also if your not using the whole sheet it's pricey or just fiddly cutting out the piece you need to stick to the carrier. with photo paper you can be a bit wasteful for the price.

Obviously I have moved on with the conversion and use of a laminator but the basics are all the same.

To date I have made, in the 2 years since my first efforts, around 40 PCB's and probably a few more than that. I have a page set up now, waiting to print, with about 8 PCB patterns on it. ;D

regards

Fenris
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Nogginboink on Jan 17, 2011, 05:16 pm
Wow! I had the exact opposite results with the HP everyday photo paper. It melted all over my circuit board and left a complete mess.

I had my iron on the hottest setting, and did pick up and move the iron as you say. I probably had a total of 2-3 minutes of time with the iron on the board.

I wonder why our results are so different?
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Fenrisulfr on Jan 17, 2011, 06:09 pm
There is a possibility that the toner had a different make up. This may account for it but don't quote me =D . Using an iron I did on occasion have bad spreading of some tracks so there is a trade off on heat and pressure to resolve it I would think. It's all down to practice in the end to get that 'knack'.

I dread my laminator breaking........In fact I have a spare stashed away ready to modify and press into service  ::)

I should say that from time to time there are minor imperfections that I have to use a sharpie to fix. But usually only a minutes work at worst......so far. But I do expect to have a total screw up some time that will require a full clean down and restart at some point.

regards

Fenrisulfr
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: newman on Jan 17, 2011, 06:10 pm
Hmm.. Lets see what happens to me !  ;)
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: GordonEndersby on Jan 17, 2011, 07:46 pm


I recommend a laminater as well.
I also use magazine paper stuck to normal paper with masking tape.
Also some laser toner is better than others.
I use a samsung laser printer.

Ive had very good results and also with double sided boards as long as Im very careful with alignment.
I tape the paper to the copper clad with masking tape then run it through the laminator at least 6 times.

Heres one of my better ones:
http://scratchpad.thisandthose.org/scratchpad/article.php?story=20100715160140327

Gordon
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Fenrisulfr on Jan 17, 2011, 08:39 pm
Samsung home printers seem to get referred to, in the hobby circles, as a very good make for doing TT prints .

I like your board BTW and in reference to your being able to 'publish' your PCB pattern I think your OK if it's not for profit.

I use PCB Wizard for my board design. I have an official disk I bought from maplins which runs under WINE in Linux. I also have a 'broken version' which runs off my USB stick. This makes it easy for me to take the stick to the printers with the file to be printed as well. So the printer inserts the stick on his PC fires up PCB wizard and opens the file to be printed.

I have no printer at all so this is a great help to me. I have also drawn up some 22mm diameter PCB's for LED arrays using 'The Gimp'. This allowed me to rotate the LED's to 'non- standard' attitudes. That is not just vertical and horizontal. I draw them up twice size then scale, convert to a PDF and off to the printers again.

If this link works you can see the words on the PCB to.

(http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa97/Fenris_2007/SV600003.jpg)

(http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa97/Fenris_2007/SV600091.jpg)

Some of the lettering is only 1.5mm high if that. I am fairly constantly surprised with how much closer I could make things....it's just having the nerve to do it. Using the 'if it ain't broken, don't fix it' mode of thinking  ;D

regards

Fenrisulfr
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: pwillard on Jan 19, 2011, 12:00 am
Right now I'm using "STAPLES" Photo Basic Gloss Paper with good results.  ...and I agree... A laminator is the way.  I had variable results with an ironing method.
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Fenrisulfr on Jan 19, 2011, 12:15 am
My Laminator is a 'texet A4'. cost me £10 sterling. The modification was removing it's thermostats and replacing them with the thermostat from the iron I was struggling with. I really need to get a thermometer as well as there is a fine line between working and the rollers starting to smoke slightly =D

regards

Fenris
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Nogginboink on Jan 19, 2011, 04:53 am
I was using the HP everyday paper Glossy.

Don't make the same mistake I did! The glossy HP paper will melt all over your board.

I found that HP "Presentation Paper 130g" (HP part Q2546A) works wonderfully well. Highly recommended, although it appears that this may be a discontinued product. At ~$15 for 300 8.5 x 11 inch sheets, it's economical as well.
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Jeckson on Jan 19, 2011, 07:01 am
kinds to etch...

used laminator that used press n peel..

Used UV lamp used positive spray.

J
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: mmcp42 on Jan 19, 2011, 07:16 pm
dunno if this link helps:
http://fullnet.com/~tomg/gooteepc.htm

followed by
http://www.pulsarprofx.com/pcbfx/main_site/pages/tech_support/have_a_problem/have_a_problem.html

I used Xerox and HP lasers with glossy photo paper and a hot domestic iron
(not all at once - do keep up at the back there)  ;D
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: pwillard on Jan 19, 2011, 10:42 pm
I'm sure I've mentioned this in the past.   I have basically used GOOTEE's method for years now.   It's the only way I do it... including NOT using ferric chloride.
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Fenrisulfr on Jan 19, 2011, 11:27 pm
That's one of the online tutorials I read when I was 'investigating' the TT method. True to say it was the most influential for me  :) Here's to GOOTEE!

regards

Fenrisulfr
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: 48X24X48X on Jan 20, 2011, 01:28 pm
The trick is to go for semi-glossy photo paper and avoid those expensive glossy papers. Any iron would do and use adequate design clearance in PCB design.
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: thegeekway on Jan 20, 2011, 03:02 pm
Fenrisulfr, I have the same laminator(from asda, £7).  What did the mod consist of?
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Fenrisulfr on Jan 20, 2011, 06:10 pm
Hi there.

Inside the laminator there are 2 sealed thermostats. These need removing. They are in series BTW.

The replacement thermostat is from an old clothes iron. It was fixed to the iron by a machine screw so was easy to remove.

I then used the same screw to fix the irons thermostat to the laminator. I gut a groove in the bolt up it's length for a 1/4" so it would cut and clear it's own thread in the aluminium channel. The bolt needed cutting slightly shorter so it would hod the thermostat securely.

There is also a thermal fuse strapped to the aluminium channel. Remove and join the wires together. The wires from the original thermostats connect to where the irons wires were on it's thermostat.

Do ensure that there is no possibility of making the laminator aluminium extrusions MAINS LIVE!

The plastic case needed a hole cut in it as the thermostat is quite tall. I built a shroud round it to prevent any issues with touching mains live parts. The dial is fixed with silicon sealant.

THIS IS MESSING WITH MAINS POWER PLEASE BE CAREFUL!

A thermometer would be handy as well as the scale on the irons dial isn't exactly accurate and it is easy to get the rollers smoking!

The largest PCB I have done with it was 5 x 4 inches. My unit is getting a little tired and the gears in the AC motor gearbox start slipping if the unit starts getting to warm. But it has done a lot of boards.

regards

Fenrisulfr
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Valalvax on Jan 20, 2011, 11:26 pm
I'd like to repeat

Quote
THIS IS MESSING WITH MAINS POWER PLEASE BE CAREFUL!


If you do not absolutely know exactly what you're doing, DO NOT RISK IT...
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Fenrisulfr on Jan 20, 2011, 11:49 pm
Absolutely. If in doubt just use the clothes iron as is. It is a knack and practice will pay off.

regards

Fenris
Title: Re: etching pcb at home (any suggestions)?
Post by: Si on Jan 23, 2011, 09:56 pm
Yet another PCB making tutorial. But this includes a UV LED light box.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3993179/pcbs.pdf