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Want to make PCB's?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Richard Harris, Jan 11, 2005.

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  1. Clarence_A

    Clarence_A Guest

  2. jtm

    jtm Guest

    Forget the photo-sensitive boards and the "light box". Go with Press-n-Peel
    Blue iron on transfer film: Am able to
    do .5mm spacing with it. Also, no problems when agitating the etchant.

    Instead of printing to a PDF you can print to a postscript file, use a
    printer driver like the "Tektronix Phaser 780 Graphics". Then do your
    manipulation in Photoshop. With this method you only mirror (flip
    horizontal) the TOP layer(s).

    You don't mention how to cut the boards. Lowe's has a diamond blade wet
    tile saw for only $58. Quick, precise, dustless, clean.

    Tip: Leave the 'film' a little large to make it easier to handle. Lay it
    over and align with the PCB, then lay them down on an ironing surface (I use
    a manilla folder on my desk). Use a piece of plain paper between the iron
    and the film to reduce friction, this keeps the film from moving and

    Use acetone and a paper towel to remove the resist after etching.

    Tin coat with Liquid Tin.

    Next, use the same method to print your own silkscreen layer (it will be
    black not white). Iron it on the top side of the PCB and spray coat with a
    clear acrylic to protect it. The surface has to be smooth so do this before
    you drill the boards, it also doesn't "take" over etched traces (therefore
    single sided boards only).

  3. Yep
  4. Jim Douglas

    Jim Douglas Guest

    The guy at a local electronics store told me to use a heavy paper cutter,
    like in the office. Cut's those boards like butter. Hopefully I'm not
    totally screwing up the blade.
  5. Tom Woodrow

    Tom Woodrow Guest

    FR4 is VERY hard on cutters.

    Tom Woodrow
  6. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    The guy at a local electronics store told me to use a heavy paper
    FR4 contains tough polyester resin and glass.
    As Tom said, it's hard on tools.
    If you're going to do this a lot,
    be prepared to have your guillotine blade sharpened.
  7. Can press and peel produce boards with 0.01 mm detail?
  8. jtm

    jtm Guest

    I'm sure it can't do a .01mm trace (that would be 20 times smaller than the
    smallest trace you show!). PnP Blues easily does the smallest that
    ExpressPCB can output: .18mm traces, 1.27mm text.
  9. Dan

    Dan Guest

    Hmm. I tried using the expressPCB pcb layout tool.
    That works well, but when I print to a PDF or postscript
    file, I get a 0.10" grid and the background is gray. Makes
    for a lot of editing in photoshop. It seems I can't turn
    the grid off or even change it to some big number (I can
    in the editor but not for the printout). Is this right?
    Any non-obvious solution to this?

  10. Joe

    Joe Guest

    Hello Dan,

    I use pcbexpress to layout my pc boards, but I take a screenshot of the
    finished drawing. It comes out as a bitmap and then I go to paintshop pro to
    resize it (first, a pixel resize to 150 pixels/inch, and then a bilinear
    resample to the correct size) so that it can be printed. I have never had a
    problem with the grid.

  11. No it should not have the grid present, what options are you selecting when
    you go to print in PCB Express?
  12. Dan

    Dan Guest

    Im using version 4.1.1 of the expressPCB
    tool. In the print layout dialog the only
    thing Im selecting is the "Top Copper Layer",
    there is no option to print/notprint the grid
    and when I change the grid on my layout
    I still get a grid on my print out on 0.100"

    My workaround at the moment is to print to a file.
    Then move my whole design by 0.040" and print to
    another file. Then in paint shop pro I do an
    arithmetic AND of the 2. Seems to work ok.

  13. Since writting that document (Professional PCB) I have located a better
    program that is a lot harder to use but works ok, Easy PC can be downloaded
    in a demo form. If you would like to know how to start working with it email
    me and Ill explain how to use it.
  14. Omair

    Omair Guest

    Thats the method I used too. Take a snapshot of the screen and paste it
    into photoshop. Cut the design out and paste it into a new picture.
    Change image size and resolution (i used 600 p/i with a laser printer)
    and viola! This way you can also print out multiple copies of the PCB
    on one transparency
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