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Speeding up and re-using Ferric Chloride etchant tips:

Discussion in 'PCB Layout, Design and Manufacture' started by FuZZ1L0G1C, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. FuZZ1L0G1C

    FuZZ1L0G1C

    365
    112
    Mar 25, 2014
    As a long term ferric chloride user, I came across this interesting 'Instructables' article, so decided to try it out.
    It definitely makes a improvement to the etching time, with the downside being that the user is working with dangerous corrosive acid (Muriatic, aka Hydrochloric acid), as in Pool Acid.
    what surprised me is the mention of Ferric Chloride being so hazardous.
    I for many years, I've often just lifted a pcb out of the solution by hand, rinsing the paws immedialtely under running tap water without burns, etc.
    The worst effect is a slight brown stain on the skin, and of course, it stains clothing brown.
    Googling it, it is a midly acidic etchant, poisonous if ingested, but may irritate sensitive skin.
    Thought the 'Instructable' link may be of interest to the 'etchanter' community...

    https://www.instructables.com/id/Stop-using-Ferric-Chloride-etchant!--A-better-etc/
     
  2. kellys_eye

    kellys_eye

    4,284
    1,145
    Jun 25, 2010
    If I wanted to be PC-orientated I'd tell you off for using chemicals without the appropriate protective clothing etc :p but I've been-there and done-that with yellow/brown fingers over the years myself!

    My preferred method is to use really hot water when making up fresh FeCl and etch immediately - 'fast' is a by-word! Of course, I could keep the solution permanently heated but another method favoured by many is to 'bubble-etch' using a simple fish tank air pump and a bubble stone/pipe.

    I'd rather keep the 'acid' part to a minimum and unless I was making boards practically wholesale (in which case I'd go for pro-manufacturing as it's infinitely more cost-effective these days) I tend to use-and-dispose of FeCl to keep it fresh every time anyway.
     
  3. MidNor

    MidNor

    5
    1
    Sep 24, 2018
    I have also read this article and since I am just starting with pcbs was considering using this method.
    The author does make it seems like a good alternative.
    Has anyone used it and what were your results like?
     
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