Monday, October 17, 2005

PCB Creation 101

Materials used for this step of circuit board creation:
  • PC board from Radioshack
  • PDF image from Chris's RS Theremin Page
  • glossy photo inkjet paper
  • Laser Printer
  • Etchant solution (ferric chloride)
  • large plastic bowl
  • 1/16" drill bit
  • Dremel coarse cutting bit
  • White-Out pen
  • Iron
The first step in this part of the adventure is to trim the board to size. As you can see, the stock dimensions of the copper board from RS are slightly larger than necessary. Here is where I utilize the ever-helpful Dremel... carefully cut the board to correct dimension...

And generate this fine looking board (remember to clean, windex works for me!):
Next, I printed the diagram to be silkscreened for the copper traces on the non-component side of the board. This is the bottom half of the PDF printout, with all the curvy lines. (By the way, Chris is willing to send this PDF file to anyone that requests it via his web page). I tried printing the image many times on our HP Laserjet (which is a bottom feeding laser printer) to no avail. Finally, as a last resort I decided to try my sometimes-working Samsung top-loading laser, which fed the paper fine. Note - using a laser printer is important, because it is the toner that will transfer onto the copper board and protect the traces and pads. After printing off the sheet, I cut around the diagram, leaving about a half inch of excess paper to tape to the board. Then, the diagram gets taped face down on the copper board, with another sheet of normal printer paper on top (over the photo paper). Now for the ironing:
Recommended iron settings: Cotton setting, lay on top of the top piece of paper for 1 min to preheat, then thoroughly iron using edges of iron.

OK, due to server congestion or limits on blog post sizes, I am having difficulty adding more pictures to this post, so I will continue with Part 2, when "PCB creation" returns tomorrow!


Blogger ThePurpleSeal said...

Hi there,

Just incase it is of any interest to you, a while back i came across a british labels company who sold me a batch of laser labels for a really low price. If you are at all interested then it may be worth taking a look at their website.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 7:14:00 AM  

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