Reusing Ferric Chloride for PCB Etching at Home




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I feel PCB etching is one of the most required skill for a DIY electronic Hobbyist. During the etching procedure, you might have obviously heard of a useful chemical known as Ferric Chloride. You might have even tried etching a custom PCB by sponge rubbing method. People normally use the chemical just once and dispose it off. But in this instructable, I will teach you how to "REUSE" this Ferric Chloride solution and save your precious making "COSTS" right from your home with very less apparatus.

Most of the methods other than the method I used are relatively slower processes. So my method also saves 90% of your valuable "TIME".

Step 1: Materials Required

Please don't feel bad if I make your Kitchen a temporary Chemistry Lab ;-)

Materials Required:

>>A Metal Plate

>>Some Water

>>A Good Quality thick Plastic Container (Usually a grade 5 plastic and the one which in which your PCB board fits)

>>A Gas Stove for Fire

>>Reusable Ferric Chloride Solution

Step 2: To Start With

Fill a metal container (Plate) with water and start boiling it.

Place the plastic container with ferric chloride on the boiling water .

Reduce the flame so that its job is to just heat the chemical indirectly.

Step 3: Immersion

Immerse the PCB board that you have created using a Toner Transfer method into the ferric Chloride solution.

Since the rate of this reaction gets damn faster as the solution gets heated, you could expect the etching process completed within 5 to 10 minutes!

Its quite faster than any other method online that uses a PCB etching process using ferric chloride at home.

Step 4: Final Step

Since we are using a plastic container to keep the chemical, we can easily hold it with bare hands and stir it after every minute so that the copper precipitate that is accumulated over the board spreads out.

Repeat this procedure until the Board is free from any copper that is naked.

Store the ferric chloride in the same plastic container until next use.

Step 5: Tips

>>You can even choose the plastic container according to the shape and size of your PCB.

>>Solder the pads (and paths) with a layer of lead so that the tip of the driller stays well within the hole.

>>If possible, try to separate the copper precipitate from the ferric chloride solution before reusing it next time. You can do this easily by pouring the top layers of the solution into an another container and disposing the bottom most copper precipitate layer.

>>I have used a Unique Method of Recycling Ferric Chloride at home by turning your kitchen into a temporary laboratory. ;-)

Happy Etching



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    8 Discussions


    what is the name f the software where i can design pcb.? and after dat etching process takes place.? plz rply.:)

    1 reply
    TryxCorpkavish laxkar

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    I used "diptace" software for PCB designing and I didn't get what your second question of your comment meant


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Same thing works for Sodium Persulfate. Normally I etch at ~40°C, but at ~50-60° you can still get a bit more out of presumably used up solution.

    Etching speed is definitely lower, but if it works - it works!



    3 years ago on Introduction

    If you want to make your etching even faster bubble the acid bath.
    Bubbling the bath etches take about 2 minutes. Stirring, and shaking is
    for the birds.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Have I ever mentioned a word about stirring or shaking in my instructable?

    Just observe from the below picture and please conclude that even bubbling the bath isn't necessary, the self vibration acquired by the plastic container is enough to do the job that u meant. Also note that this is only one of the best and cheapest alternative to a chem lab at home....


    3 years ago

    great tutorial thanks
    is it necessary to solder the pads and paths?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    the advantage of soldering the pads is that when you drill through the pads, the drill bit won't divert away from the hole


    3 years ago

    sorry, replace **paths with pads in d above comment ! :-p