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where to get blank circuit boards

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by guilty, Apr 1, 2012.

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  1. guilty


    Apr 1, 2012
    Hi and I hope I'm not intruding too much on your forum to ask one stupid question. Please be forgiving, I'm a mother who screwed up. Here it is.....My daughter had a stack of blank circuit boards she found in a factory waste bin that she was making jewelry from. I didn't know what they were and threw them out. She was pretty upset and I want to replace them. According to her, they were perfect because they didn't have all that "crap" on them, they were just the plain printed boards and she was making a pretty penny selling the things she made.

    Where do you buy these things? Are they expensive? Do places frequently throw them away when they are damaged or discontinued, or whatever? Sorry for the stupid questions, I know absolutely zero about this stuff.

    Thanks for your expertise.
  2. duke37


    Jan 9, 2011
    You could try going to a PCB maker and ask for some scrap boards.
    You can get copper clad board (not cheap) and can etch it yourself if you are happy to handle nasty chemicals.
    You could get populated boards from the local recyling centre but these will contain solder with a poisonous lead content. The 'crap' can be removed with a hot air paint stripper blower. These are the interesting bits!
  3. shrtrnd


    Jan 15, 2010
    Your daughter already knows where to get them, as she has done this once before, it
    won't be easy for YOU to get them because manufacturers get money for recycling the copper
    and any other metals on them. I'd apologize and remember from now on, that electronics
    is not a venue to be trifled with (tongue-in-cheek intention here).
    As a side note, in case your daughter is interested, all that 'crap' on the boards is also
    good for making jewelry. The integrated circuit chips (the rectangle black things with
    all the silver legs on them) have been made into 'insect-like' pendants, that were
    pretty popular for quite a while.
    If she insists on sticking with the copper PCB boards, you can contact some electronic
    salvage or recycling places in your area, and inquire about them. Most would have
    all the 'crap' on them, but the salvage companies would also get boards like your
    daughter was using from manufacturers who discontinue product lines. If you can
    pay a little more than what the scrap value is to these recycling places, you can get
    some more 'printed circuit boards' for her.
    Good luck.
  4. jackorocko


    Apr 4, 2010
    Now is a bad time to go for copper. I just took a load in to the recycling center and got over $3 a pound.

    Wait till scrap prices go down, late summer early fall. You might have better luck finding some with a cheaper price tag
  5. guilty


    Apr 1, 2012
    "I'd apologize and remember from now on, that electronics
    is not a venue to be trifled with (tongue-in-cheek intention here)." Oh, I've learned my lesson. Thanks for all your help, guys.
  6. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    Just to add another point of view...

    If your daughter is reusing boards that would otherwise go to scrap then that is a good thing because reuse is always better than recycling.

    It's even better if she ensures that all the waste she creates (presumably she does not use 100% of each board) goes back into the recycling stream.

    I would only want to be sure that any boards you get don't have solder paste on them, or (if they are used in any way) that they're indicated as ROHS, which effectively means "no lead". The lead isn't likely to be an issue for her (since she is unlikely to suck on the boards, but you can't control what happens after they get out of her hands)

    Also, if she is cutting these boards in any way that creates dust, remember that the fibreglass can be an irritant and is not real great to inhale.
  7. guilty


    Apr 1, 2012
    She was cutting up unused boards and making earrings and necklace pieces using up most of the board. But she claims that unused boards for cheap or free are hard to find. If we do find her another stash I'll remind her to wear a mask while cutting. Thanks.
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