Like making circuit boards, but don’t like all of the toxic chemicals that you have to use to do it? You might want to take a look at Stephen Hobley’s directions, then. He’s claiming to be able to etch boards using only diluted hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and a bit of table salt. [via]
Etch circuit boards with common household chemicals – [Link]
After you’ve developed a circuit, perhaps tested a prototype and have finally got the perfect design, you may wish to create a printed circuit board. There are some home-brew methods, but if you get to the point of wanting more than a few boards, it may be time to turn to a commercial fab house….
To help you find a good fab house, the tables below list some of the sources I have used that produce good boards as a reasonable price.
PCB Fabrication Sources – [Link]
The Real Elliot writes:
Ferric chloride is a traditional home-use circuit board etchant. It’s easy enough to come by, and the Ferric by itself is no big environmental problem. However, once you’ve etched a board with it, you’re left with a solution with a bunch of copper chloride in it. This dissolved copper is an environmental problem, and you can’t just pour it down the drain (legally) — you’re supposed to take it to a hazardous waste facility.
A better etching solution than Ferric Chloride – [Link]
Since the widespread commercial use of the transistor, electronics minded people have assembled their circuits on a printed circuit board (PCB). Even if the circuits are increasingly complex, PCB design is actually becoming easier thanks to the availability of efficient design tools in the CAD realms. Whereas ten years ago CAD software to accomplish serious PCB design was beyond the reach of many, today you can download some of these tools for free on the internet. Often these tools are free but with limitations of some kind in terms of board size, number of components or file exporting. By contrast, a recently launched product called DesignSpark PCB has no restrictions, says the supplier RS Components. [via]
ShareBrained writes: [via]
I have these Avery mailing labels that I use to address Chronulator kit shipments to my customers. They’re made of paper, and they stick to stuff. What if I cut my stencil from a mailing label? Let’s give it a try…
To start with, I need to prepare a solder paste template. I output a PDF with the paste layers shrunk a bit. I shrink the paste layer because the mailing label is quite thick, and therefore so is the paste when it’s applied. So I need to compensate for the thick paste by making the paste areas smaller.
From the paste template file, I laser the mailing label with the Epilog 45W laser at work. My settings are “speed 25″ and “power 25″. I use raster mode, as it tends to produce more accurate, even results.
PCB stencils on the cheap – [Link]
Jean-Baptiste Labrune and his research group at MIT’s Tangible Media Group have been experimenting with using a laser cutter to turn ordinary materials into printed circuit boards (PCBs). [via]
They have a clever process for making the traces. Since it is very difficult to cut metal with a laser, they can’t start with a solid sheet of metal material and burn away the parts that they don’t want. Instead, they put a piece of masking tape over the material that they want to make traces on, then use the laser to burn off the tape in places where they want metal to be. Finally, they use a paintbrush to apply conductive paint into the newly cut grooves, and remove the masking tape mask. They’ve got some more photos of the process in a Flickr set.
Laser cutting circuit boards - [Link]
Are you ready to wake up from the cult of Arduino? Tired of plugging together black-box pre-built modules like a mindless drone, copying and pasting in code you found on Hackaday? You’ve soldered together your TV-Be-Gone, built your fifth Minty Boost, and your bench is awash with discarded Adafruit packaging and Make magazines. It’s time to stop this passive consumption. It’s time to create something that is truly yours. It’s time, my friend, to design your first circuit board. And you’ll need a machine to print it.
Outsourcing printed circuit board (PCB) manufacture can be expensive and slow. You want your board now, for free. And designing PCB’s is hard. You’ll make mistakes, and some boards will be wasted. You can etch your own PCB’s at home but the process is fiddly, and notoriously difficult to perfect. What if you had a printer that could make PCB’s? A rapid prototyping machine for circuit boards.
In this talk I will present my progress towards an inexpensive PCB printer by reverse engineering Epson inkjet technology. And I’m not talking about the crappy print-and-bake method you might have seen on the internet. Come and learn about the miracle of microfluidics within the modern consumer inkjet printer, and how to push it to do new, exciting things. I’ll be describing some reverse engineering techniques, a bit of electronics circuit design and the potential for 3D microfabrication with inkjet technology.
A PCB will be printed and etched live, on stage, at 27C3! [via]
Printing circuit boards lecture - [Link]