Creating Easy Glass Circuit Boards at Home

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Introduction: Creating Easy Glass Circuit Boards at Home

Printed circuits boards surround our daily lives : High Tech products, computer tools, household appliance, have one or more electronic circuits. Before in tutorials, I explained the manufacture of a printed circuit at home. Today, You’ll discover the process of constuction of a PCB on glass. It’s beautiful, fun and original !

Supplies

Step 1: Realization of Electronic Printed With EasyEDA

For beginning, choose the electronic components which
you’ll need. For this project :

- The microcontroller : ATtiny84
- Leds : 7 leds SMD. Size : 1206
- 7 electronics resistor to SMD. Size : 1206
- One switch SMD.

When all components are chosen, begin to create electronic diagram.

For that, I use the software EASY EDA. It’s free, very complete, you will fin dit here : https://easyeda.com/fr. Open the software and begin to create a new project : For that, click on « Document » on the top corner left and click on « New ». Fill the name of your project and validate. Two icons will be essentials for create your eletric diagram : « EElib » which offers all tools and symbols, and « Libraries », that open a window. It willl allow you to search for specific electronics components. Well, for this example (picture), an ATtiny84. Click on « Place » to ad dit to diagram. Do the same for Leds, switch, and resistors.

When you wiring diagram is finished, convert to PCB. To convert the electric diagram into PCB, click on icon at the top « Convert », and « Convert to PCB ». The software will imports components automatically. You just have to place components in the desired position. Then, you tace differents tracks. They should’nt cross because we’re working on single layer circuit. I purposely extended tracks to 1.5mm to anticipate cuts. Papers copper are comparable aluminium foil. With this size, they’ll be clean ! Next step, when your pcb is finished it into .PDF. In top task bar EasyEDA, click on « Document », « Export » and « PDF… ». A pop-up appear, check only « Top layer » and click to « Export ».

Note : The .PDF format allows for a 1 :1 scale of circuit. It retains vector quality of tracks.

So, you can convert your .PDF file to .PNG with the software of your choice. I’m using Photoshop for the conversion. /!\WARNING : Don’t use EasyEDA to convert in .PNG. This one degrade the quality of the tracks.

Step 2: Use of the Vinyl Cutter.

Next paragraph explain handling the vinyl cutter to create the PCB on copper paper. I use CAMEO 4 cutter from SILHOUETTE : http://silhouettefr.fr/silhouette_cameo4.html. But all vinyl cutters are compatible with this project. Before, here is a way to configure this machine for this project : First, import the file (.PNG) into the cutting software, I use the « Silhouette Studio » delivered with the machine. You can also download it at this address : http://silhouettefr.fr/silhouette_studio.html.

When the software is started, click « open » on the top task bar, and import your .PNG file. Next, on the right task bar, click on « TRACE », « Select Trace Area » ans select your PCB project. Finally, click on « TRACE » at the bottom right. Keep the graphic part drawn in red. The cutter will cut at these specifics locations. Some parameters have to be set : click on « SEND », blue icon in the right top. Adjust « FORCE » to 10 and « SPEED » to 2. Note : FORCE and SPEED are determinate values according to type of material you use.

In a Second time, prepare the paper cutting copper. It must be glued to the cutting support delivered with the package machine. Cut copper to the correct dimensions and position this one onto the corner of support as show in the picture. Insert the paper into the machine, and press the button « top arrow »

Click on SEND in the software.

Wait for the end of the process, and remove gently the copper which will not be used.

Step 3: Transfer Copper Tracks

For this step, you have to transfert tracks on a special sticky paper. This will allow tracks of the circuit to stick on glass.

Step 1 : Cut the paper to thre desired size.

Step 2 : Remove protection

Step 3 : Paste and flatten the paper using a card.

Step 4: Cut the Glass to the Right Size

Next I got to cut the glass. You can find in a lot of DIY store. Use a special tool to cut the glass :

Step 1 : Draw a rectangle larger than the circuit.

Step 2 : Using the special tool and a ruler, cut the glass.

Step 3 : Cut the glass with two wooden wedge positionned at the cutting line.

Step 4 : Sand paper down with the edges iof the glas board.

Tep 5 : Take off the circuit of special paper.

Step 6 : Apply the circuit on the prepared glass.

Step 5: Component Welding

Here is the final stage of the project, the components welding. For that, prepare components to be ready to solder. With the software Arduino IDE, send this programm http://bit.ly/3aLnn9m into the Attiny84 Fold gently PINs of ATiny84 and cut PINS who’ll not serve. To weld surface components, it’s necessary to tin one on both sides of the location components on the circuit, to position them, and solder them.

Traces of welding on the glass can be cleaned with a glass cleaner.

Finally, Insert a 2032 reference battery in its location. Press the button to play the electronic dice.

ENJOY !

(Thanks to IHM3D for the translation)

PCB Design Challenge

Grand Prize in the
PCB Design Challenge

3 People Made This Project!

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73 Comments

0
spark master
spark master

5 months ago

Sorry but I am in, le camp du pointless. Sure it shows a nice technique for say a homemade sci-fi film, and you can make them actually do something. Unlike the pointless props in "The Expanse" Seriously, the idea looks interesting, but I modestly suggest a roll of copper tape for lead glass window making, or alarm systems. It is still pointless, but perhaps cheaper. And rubber cement is helpful and removable.

A roller knife , razor blade, and steel edged ruler let you trim the copper on the glass, or, cut the lengths you need then use them to slice the copper into thinner pieces, then apply them.

Seriously other then looking interesting why bother with the expense of this?

0
Techhlp
Techhlp

Reply 4 months ago

C'est une excellente application de l'art et de la fonction, rappelez-vous à tous que STEM / STEAM est particulièrement recommandé pour encourager les jeunes esprits. J'ai vu pour la première fois de l'électronique soudée à Disney World, pas de PCB mais monté dans ce qui semble être une carte dans un cadre en bois. L'appareil était ce que nous appelions une boîte «Ne rien faire». Il n'a pas la forme d'une boîte, mais vous savez ce que nous voulons dire. Le circuit exposé et à vendre n’a fait qu’allumer, puis éteindre une lumière au hasard, c’est tout. C'était un éclair occasionnel lent donc pas trop distrayant.
La seule chose que je ferais différemment est de suivre l'une des méthodes des techniques industrielles, au lieu de couper les broches inutilisées, d'avoir une trace de 2,7 à 3,4 mm à souder. Oui, je sais que c'est plus de soudure sur ce verre délicat, mais cela ajoute à la résistance mécanique.

0
Parky1972
Parky1972

Reply 5 months ago

Why is it pointless?
The technique can be used for installations that are not just functional but artistic too.
Imagine a digital clock where you can see through the clock to all the circuits.
Art painting are pointless. Just take a picture.
But people still do it and enjoy it.

1
lawrence.esterlen
lawrence.esterlen

Reply 5 months ago

It's an electronic die, for board games. It looks neat, it takes advantage of materials and tools that the creator likely already owns and knows how to use, and it's cool and unique.

0
digeridooblue
digeridooblue

5 months ago

Nice idea! As your circuits become faster you should add a ground plane under your circuit traces. You will need to place a via at the ground pin, connecting the upper ground trace to the back-side ground plane (you're attempting to minimize signal's the current loop). When possible, a top side ground plane will also help to reduce the plane inductance (minimizing the plane inductance is important for fast edge signals). When a back-side ground plane is added, thinner glass will help with the signal integrity. You may consider placing the copper traces on plexiglass instead of window glass so you can drill holes through the plexiglass, this will let you add vias to connect the back-side ground plane to the IC's ground pin.

0
Parky1972
Parky1972

Reply 5 months ago

Adding a ground plane defeats the object of having a circuit board that you can see through.
Might as well just be on fiberglass board.
But from a circuit design point, what you say makes sense.

1
belsey
belsey

Tip 5 months ago

Skip a step and buy self adhesive copper! I used it on my pop-up Menorah circuit and it works beautifully. Here's an Amazon link to the copper -- which, incidentally, is the same copper I used on the facemask in my profile picture. It's wonderful material...

2
tom-ii
tom-ii

5 months ago on Step 5

I'd encourage you to take a look at this good friend of mine - he might be able help you with getting to more complex designs (if you're interested). This youtube video is his, he was etching copper circuits on glass (especially microscope slides) way back in 2012. this one is particularly neat, and I believe was highlighted on Hack-A-Day.



0
halciber
halciber

5 months ago

Terrific project! Thank you for sharing this with us.

0
inspiredStudio
inspiredStudio

10 months ago

It's really cool, never seen this technique before, now i'll have to try it myself :)

2
Diwiak
Diwiak

1 year ago

Nice job, but what's the purpose??

0
leomleao
leomleao

Reply 1 year ago

Its a dice

0
Valvelifter
Valvelifter

Reply 1 year ago

I thought the same thing. Very interesting techniques but what's the advantage of using a glass substrate?

1
Jimichan
Jimichan

Reply 1 year ago

It's pretty.

0
Valvelifter
Valvelifter

Reply 1 year ago

So are xmas tree lights.

0
Jimichan
Jimichan

Reply 1 year ago

So's my wife! I like pretty things, don't you?

1
jrial
jrial

Reply 1 year ago

There's no functional purpose, no performance benefit. The purpose is to create visually interesting circuits.

0
rafununu
rafununu

Reply 1 year ago

This was my first reaction when I saw this on YT ! So what ?