Etching PCB boards

I know that copper is a better conductor than tin or aluminum. But one of my friends a few days ago told me that instead of etching his layout on copper, he used the bottom of an altoids tin. he said all he did was sand the bottom until there was no paint of the altoids can and then he etched his layout. (Chemical bath, toner, etc.) So my question is, Does anyone know how to etch custom layouts (toner layouts) on tin or aluminum? **I figure this could save people some money and time on some projects. :)

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firesurfer8 years ago
Big Bwana9 years ago
If you want to use the toner method, I found that getting an old laser printer from a recycle center or a very very cheap used laser printer works great and disconnecting the fuser in the laser printer (( this is why I suggest getting a used printer and not buying a new one )) and using most high gloss photo paper, you can print your circuit on the paper in toner and then you just tape it to the PCB and iron it on the PCB, then carefully peel the paper off, and you'll have a nice toner layout on the PCB.. (( and just touch up any thin spots with a waterproof marker.... And if you don't want to mod your printer they do sell specialty PCB sheets at most good electronics stores, however they can cost more then a free laser printer on freecycle.. And they do need a Laser printer not a inkjet...
NachoMahma9 years ago
. For most DIY circuits, steel should be OK. You may want to make the traces slightly larger. . Masking should be the same as with copper PCBs. . Not sure what to use as an etchant. If you use Al, phosphoric acid (Coca-Cola) may work. . As guyfrom7up points out, you need an insulating substrate. Maybe epoxy the steel to a fiberglass sheet?
guyfrom7up9 years ago
well, you need a backing such as plastic so that the traces don't just float away. altoids tins are steel...so I don't know
You don't have school?