PCB Making Guide

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About: I love electronics and all about DIY.

There are many ways to make your own homemade PCB's, They all work, but some better than other, some faster than other, ones are cheap and others expensive....
After several attempts, i found the way of making PCB's, wich is the cheapest, easiest and fastest for me.

I hope this instructable will help you to decide what's the best method for you, because there are so many to choose.

Step 1: Materials

Formaking the circuit you will need:
-A copper board.
-The design printed with a LASER printer on glossy paper, antiadhesive oven paper works the best!
-An iron or a laminator.
-The etching solution (Hydrochloric acid + Hydrogen peroxide).
-a plastic flat container.
-Steel wool or fine sandpaper.
-Acetone.
-A Dremel for the trough-hole components.
-The components.
-A soldering iron.

Step 2: The Board

Firstly, cut a piece of board with the size of the circuit plus abot 3mm per side.
Then scratch the surface with some sandpaper to make better the toner transfer.

Step 3: Toner Transferring

Place the paper with the circuit design on the board and make sure it fits and there isn't toner out the board.
Then fold the paper wrapping the piece and hold it together with tape.
Iron the toner side for about a minute or slide it 10-15 times in a laminator.

Step 4: Removing the Paper

Put the circuit under the tap and wet it until the paper softens. then rub it off to expose the toner circuit.

Step 5: Etching

The etching is the most important step, so do it carefully.
First, fill the container with the etching solution (in my case Hydrochloric acid + Hydrogen peroxide).
Place the circuit floating in the solution with the copper facing down.
Check the circuit each minute to see how it goes.
When the last copper trace disappears, dry the circuit to stop the acid action.

Step 6: Cleaning the Board

Rirst, remove the toner with acetone. Then you can polish the copper to give it  better appearance.
Clean the polish and the remain toner with a paper moisten in acetone.

Step 7: Drilling the Holes

If you're using trough-hole components as me, you'll need to make holes in your PCB. Learn how to do your own LED ring here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-your-own-LED-ring-for-dremel/
With a Dremel equipped with a fine drill bit, drill the holes for all the components.
Then, with a round tip mill, make "funnels" to make easier intalling the components.

Step 8: Final Steps

Tin all the parts where a component is going to be soldered. Then solder all the components in place and clean the remaining flux or resin.

If you liked my instructable, please vote me for the Laser Epilog challenge.

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    98 Discussions

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    Yousefs21

    11 months ago

    hello,how can I cover the tracks by solder (painting) Electrically using Acid

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    Stefano2800

    1 year ago

    How did you choose the PCB? I mean how much current can it withstand? how to choose the proper one?

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    Andre82693

    1 year ago

    Hi and thanks for your help
    I have a problem with finding the right paper for this project . Do you have a brand or model number of paper you have used that works well. I am using the Iron on method with MG Chemicals Ferric Chloride etch

    1 reply
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    pinomeleanAndre82693

    Reply 1 year ago

    I use either smooth glossy parchement paper (not easy to find) or i just buy adhesive paper rolls. The backing they come with is very good for toner ransfer, as the toner comes off extremely easy. No need to wet the paper after ironing, just peeling it off is enough.

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    Andre82693

    1 year ago

    Hi and thanks for your help
    I have a problem with finding the right paper for this project . Do you have a brand or model number of paper you have used that works well. I am using the Iron on method with MG Chemicals Ferric Chloride etch

    Hi,

    Inkjet printer will not work (different kind of toner/paint, different way of printing etc.). Only laser.
    Etching solutions is usually available at local electric shops (where normal components are available: resistors, leds or even plain PCB boards). Note that it is not available for on-line orders in most countries due to postage restrictions.

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    pinomeleanmanicmonday

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    I think it won't, tones is a polymer composite that melts onto the paper during the printing (or transfer) process, ink doesn't work that way.

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    sathees31

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks a lot! It was really geniune. I was looking for a copper board to buy; Is there any thickness recommended??

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    Love this guide. As someone who's started dabbling in DiY/hobby tech design stuff this is really helpful. Also works well with some other info I've been pouring over like this: http://www.elex.co.nz/services/pcb-design/ . Though I think it's about time I pulled my head out of books/guides/texts and started cutting some copper :P Anyone have any links to other resources or step-by-steps I should use too?

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    diy_bloke

    3 years ago on Introduction

    I use this method for a long time already, goes perfect. Still, i observed something odd: when I used the printer ink that came with my printer it went well. after I bought new brandless ink the toner transfer didnt go so well.
    Now I am not saying you shld buy expensive ink, on the contrary as I have only tried it twice since I bought new ink. But I am wondering if others have the same problem.
    Maybe it is just a matter of adapting the heating, as my new ink seemed to melt and smudge

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    tantrisschabanow

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    > CuSO4 is bluestone

    Also available as root remover for drain pipes.

    > and NaNO3 is cooking salt.

    Please don't invite me for dinner.

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    schabanowtantris

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    > Also available as root remover for drain pipes.
    Well we use ax just like as our ancestry did ... or air compressor cleaning + chainsaw then = in most complicated cases. ))

    And our bluestone is good for tomatoes' cure for many blights (in mixture with lime and water).

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    schabanow

    3 years ago on Introduction

    > ... antiadhesive oven paper works the best!

    I'm sure THICK GLOSSY PAPER for INKJET PHOTO PRINTERS works MUCH better than your oven paper. Cause glossy layer impregnated and baked into melted toner traces gives much more thick and robust mask than naked toner itself... Try and compare!

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    cburg

    3 years ago on Introduction

    I have been using this same basic method for years, and it works great. This is very good write up of the method. This old dog learned a new trick ... The Paper!

    The paper that I used in the past was the cheap photo high gloss print paper from Staples. After testing many other kinds this is what I found worked best BUT not all the time.

    I will buy some "Parchment Paper" tomorrow! This old Dog wants to try out this new bone!

    Thanks, Great Job!

    BTW: I use 40% Muratic Acid and 60% Hydrogen Peroxide. I buy the Muratic Acid anywhere they sell building supplies. It is used for both drain cleaning and brick cleaning. I buy the Hydrogen Peroxide at a beauty supply store. I use 20% concentrate.

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    camoraal12203madman

    Reply 4 years ago

    hydrochloric acid is normal pool acid found in general groceries stores

    Also known as Muratic Acid (aka HCL). Available at any big box home improvement store or any large discount store. Look the pool maintenance section.