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Home made PCBs

Discussion in 'Misc Electronics' started by Periproct, Mar 16, 2006.

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  1. Periproct

    Periproct Guest

    I guess this topic has probably been thrashed out many times here

    I'd really like to move away from Veroboard and make my own PCBs.

    I have fallen in love with Marix Multimedia's Technodrill, a sort of mini
    three axis CNC machine which mills the copper from the board but the price
    is way out of my league.( page 9)

    Bearing in mind I'll probably only be making the occasional small board I
    seem to have two choices. Press and Peel and photo resist boards.

    Having read the instructions on the back of a pack of Press and Peel in
    Maplins (I'm in the UK) it warns of the tracks 'spreading' if you press too
    hard with the iron so it doesn't sound like a foolproof method. It also
    mentions 'topping up' the tracks with a etch resist pen if they don't adhere
    to the board. I also wonder if you can send a sheet of Press and Peel
    through a laser printer a second time if you've only used a small portion of
    the sheet.

    Photo resist sounds good as (I assume) you can print onto easily available
    overhead projection film but (again I'm assuming) will need another chemical
    to etch the photoresist from the board before you etch the copper. More
    trips to Maplin only to find they are out of stock, unless you can get the
    right stuff from the chemist.

    Any tips from the PCB makers on here?

  2. CWatters

    CWatters Guest

    Look at the prices of some of the on-line PCB fab houses. Much less hastle
    to have the boards made for you. You can get very good deals on single sided
    or double sided Eurocard (160 x 100) PCB. Even double sided PTH boards
    aren't that expensive. Bit more if you want solder resist and silkscreen. If
    your board is smaller you can fit several onto one blank etc. You don't need
    fancy CAD systems. Several will give you one free and there is even one
    that's extreemly simple to use..

    Just a few examples I had to hand..
  3. This is not a foolproof method, but can work acceptably on some
    cases where circuit boards are not too demanding.
    I have not tested this myself. I have my doubts on that.
    Most propably running this kind of sheet through the laser
    printer second time is not a good idea.
    Photoresists is good method that I have used many times.
    With proper tools it works very well and is a reliable method.

    The chemical to "etch" the photoresist from the circuit board
    is NaOH. You can get that from chemistry shops.
    Also many "drain pipe opener" chemicals I have seen in my countru
    (I live in Finland) consist mostly of NaOH and water (plus small amount
    some other chemicals). Some people have used those also as
    this photoresist "etch" chemical (suitable mount of water
    and "pipe opener").
    You can get NaOH from chemist. It is a very commonly used chemical.
    Check information and links at

    Here is my older posting on making circuit boards posted
    May 9 2005:

    Newsgroups: sci.electronics.misc
    Subject: Re: Home made PCB
    References: <d5m5u9$5m7$>

    For information on this field take a look at
    This depends on the process you plan to use, how good equipment
    you want etc..

    Tou can start making simple circuit boards with tools
    that cost less than 100 Euros. But using those you can't
    get best quality, there is lots of hand work and slow process..

    For best quality you need much more expensive tools.
    I do not have a recommendation for cheap UK supply.
    You can get all the needed thigns from RS Components but this is not
    a cheap place to buy many things. But they have
    a very good selection of all kinds of electronics items.

    For ideas what tools you need read article links on circuit
    board making at

    Tools for normal "photocopy" method are the following:

    - photo sensitive circuit board material
    - suitable UV light source for transfering image from "film" to
    the cirucit board
    - suitable development solution (typically NaOH) and suitable
    thigns where you can do the development and store chemicals
    - suitable etchant (Ferricloride, etc..) and suitable container
    where you ca do the etching
    - small drill with sutiable bits to drill tho holes to circuit board
    (a suitable drill holder is a good idea to have)

    Those are the basic tools.
    And the "film" can be for example a cirucit board layout on
    maghazine page, circuit board image printed to paper,
    printed/photocopied to transparency film etc..
  4. Periproct

    Periproct Guest

    Thank you both for the advice.
    (I missed a UV box on Ebay earlier this week because I didn't think I'd have
    any use for it).
    I think I may start with the Press and Peel method. It cuts out the
    developer so one less chemical.
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Guest

    If you can draw your board layout and print it in reverse on a laser
    printer then the method I use and show others is quick and flawless
    once you understand the method. It can be just a thirty minute etch &
    drill process.

    Good Luck,

    * * *

    Temecula CA.USA
  6. 1) use precoated photoresist boards.
    2) Laser print onto tracing paper, not OHP film
    3) use a silicate based developer, not hydroxide.

    More info and explanations here :
  7. Periproct

    Periproct Guest

    Just a quick 'thank you' to all who have given advice.
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