Introduction: Custom PCB's With a Laser Cutter
Soldorless Breadboards, Breadboards, and Direct wire connections can be good for most applications but if you want something small and complex you need a PCB. Buying PCB's online custom made is not cheap it can up to $100 for three boards! This is a cheap and useful way for you to make PCB's your self.
Step 1: Parts
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- Laser Cutter (>900mw) -----> I used this one (it works pretty good and it is cheap)
- Ferric Chloride (1 Liter is plenty)
- Cheap BLACK Spray Paint (white will not work)
- Plastic or Ceramic Container
- Ceramic or Metal Container
- Lots of Newspaper
- Glasses (Laser Cutter and Safety Glasses)
Step 2: Convert Gerber (PCB) Files
To make the pcb you first will need to convert the Gerber into a picture (or g-code) file. I used Rapid PCB to GCode online to convert the file then I used snipping tool and edited it until i got a white/black image like I have added.
Step 3: Engrave
This part is easy just engrave it. Warning: It may take a few times depending on your engraver (mine took 4 times)
Step 4: Etch
Once you are happy with the engraving results you now can etch the board! You can do the standard method with just swishing it around in the ferric chloride but I found it more efficient to use a cotton swab (with ferric cloride) to rub away the copper.
How do you know when it is done? When there is no more reflective-ness from the board or about 20min depending on the size.
Step 5: Remove Paint and Soldor
Once you remove the paint (paint remover is suggested but not required depending on the paint) you can clean then solder.