Fabricating PCB




About: i m an undergraduate student, trying to share my ideas with everyone possible and eager to learn new tech stuff

Generating a final printed circuit board for anyone's circuit or project is a tedious work, either print it which takes time or order it online which takes much money,

This tutorial is about printing (the already designed circuit in eagle cad or any other alternative )

the circuit onto a single layer copper sheet(known as copper clad).

Step 1: Arrangements

- Copper Clad

- Iron (Press)

- sand paper

- water in bucket

- FeCl3

- dish wash

- scrub

- drilling machine

- acrylic spray(optional)

- solder wick

- solder wire

- solder wax

- solder station

Step 2: Clean Copper Clad

we have to clean the copper clad so as to remove the oxide layer deposited over it over time

To do so take any sand paper and rub it over the copper clad preferably in one direction until the surface looks shiny and bright

Step 3: Print the Layout

Be very careful about printing a layout file

A laser-jet printer and a photography paper should be used to print the circuit.

Photographic paper has a tendency to loose the ink spattered on it by the laser printer.

tips and tricks----

apply thicken or harden option while printing it makes circuit print even more dark and equally proportionate in darkness everywhere.

after we have circuit on paper

hot the iron(press) and put a hard surface on table put the copper clad on it and the printed layout inverted over the copper clad and apply constant heating with press over it applying little force over it exactly for 1 and a half minute to 2 minutes all over.

after pressing put it under some water and gently scrap of the paper over the copper clad and the result should be like shown in photograph

Step 4: Little Tips

the press should be kept at a setting of cotton

because a little high heat can damage the copper clad hence pcb wont work

fecl3 i used was diluted by just approximation

high concentration wont do great harm but can dissolve copper tracks too so fecl3 should be diluted but not too much then it can take a day or two to finish.

make soldering rod pre heated at 180^c

Step 5: Scrap Useless Copper

when you will have the printed board put it in fecl3 diluted acid

and keep agitating the solution having the board for like 15 minutes

(don't forget to put on the rubber gloves)

check if all the copper have left the board's surface.

afterwards clean it with water;

and wash it like any usual dish(utensil) with a scrub but try to wipe only in one direction

and what you will get is the visible golden brownish tracks

and as soon as you wash it dry it with tissue and spray acrylic spray so as to protect copper from reacting from gases in atmosphere

Step 6: Drilling

i did used a dremel drilling machine to drill holes in board

but one can use a hand drill too

Step 7: Soldering

Soldering is a process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal (solder) into the joint.

soldering is the most important part of any circuit which can make any of it work better, look better and again work for longer time

There are little tips and tricks for that

-Use of proper iron tip

that comes in huge variety like well shaped or conical in various shapes and sizes

so for pcb designing a conical with small aperture would work great

-the solder should be pre heated before actual task(180^c is fine)

-solder wick can be placed over soldered area and heated to suck of that copper

Step 8: Implementing the Soldering

-firstly make your workspace free

-after that put solder rod on your dominating hand side

-component placement

any component have to be put according to its size arrange all components in a tray or plate and put them in an order of increasing sizes

-insert component of smallest height in the holes of board then just tilt the wires from opposite side a little bit so component dont fall and then gently put the hot rod on area and after 2 seconds apply the solder wire over it touching rod and area simultaneously

-slowly remove the wire first and the rod later

-you can inspect that with any magnifying glass

-put all components in accordance to their sizes and there you have your pcb

-finally check with multi-meter the board if it is short at places needed or not

but put multimeter probes at joints only as on tracks the acrylic is still there but due to heat that has been removed from the joints..

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38 Discussions

Jose FR

Question 10 months ago

Which proportion water/FeCl3 do you recommend?


3 years ago

What is thicken or harder option


3 years ago on Introduction

Nice instructable, I was thinking of making one myself since this is a valuable skill for any electronic application and I feel that too many people depend on pre-made modules.

I use a similar technique but more simple:

1. Print the Schematic on a transparent foil instead of photographic paper

2. Iron it on the board using a piece of cloth between the iron and the foil to avoid melting it

3.Corode it in FeCl3

4.Apply soldering paste on the circuit then add a thing layer of solder all over to protect the copper from corrosion.

The method has its quirks because usually the ink transfer from the foil is not perfect and I have to go over it once again with a permanent marker. That is why I decided to try using photographic paper like you did and after 5 minutes of furious ironing I couldn't get a drop of toner on the damn board :(

2 replies

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

apply some pressure while pressing the copper clad and almost instantly scrub it under water and apply pressure while pressing but only for maximum 2 minutes but if its not happening that means you didn't use laser jet printer

or photographic paper is old


Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

You might be right, I didn't print them myself, probably they didn't use a laser jet printer, I'll investigate and give it another go.


3 years ago on Introduction

Very good and well explained instructable. I have seen there is an insulating coat on the PCB we usually find in electronic devices. I suppose these are to protect from accidental short circuit. What is actually this material? And how to apply that on the PCB?

6 replies

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

It's just a clear acrylic spray like you'd find in the hardware store. I think the purpose is to keep the copper from oxidizing, but unless you are putting the board in a really hash environment, I think I'd be inclined to skip that step. Also, it might make it a little harder to solder with an acrylic coating, as the heat and flux has to somehow get through it, unless you scrape it clean where you want to solder.


Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

The spray is usually applied *after* the soldering process to seal everything against moisture and oxidation. It's a true pain in the ass if you have to do any repairs, but not too hard to work with as a finish to a build.


3 years ago on Step 3

Is that etching fluid you are using? If yes couild you give me an email addresss or web site as I am finding it so hard to find here in Spain :-)

4 replies

Reply 3 years ago on Step 3

I am sorry but I do not understand your reply. What is HCL/H202 and where can I get it. I need to know a supplier. An email or web site? Thank you!


Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

Ferric Chloride (FeCl3), is a common echant, in jewelry and electronics. if you look on here there are several instructables on how to Copper Chloride HCL, etching solution, make https://www.instructables.com/id/Stop-using-Ferric-...

or even better, salt, vinigar and hydrogen peroxide, makes for a pretty good albe it a little slower copper etching solution, https://www.instructables.com/id/Is-the-best-PCB-etchant-in-every-kitchen-/


Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

thats simple fecl3 in photo its too diluted and used for long time

you can get fecl3 as powder anywhere


3 years ago on Introduction

In the printing phase you use standard ink? I have a HP Officejet 4500 printer. The normal ink it uses will work? Thanks