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Iron-on PCB's w/ photo paper


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I want to try my hand at making homemade PCB's. I read an article describing how this can be done by printing the layout on glossy photo paper (w/ a laser printer) and then using an iron to transfer the toner to the copper clad PCB. The board is then etched w/ Ferric Chloride.

Here's the article: http://www.fullnet.com/u/tomg/gooteepc.htm

Is this a good technique for a beginner?

Can someone recommend a good (and cheap) PCB layout software?

Also, how should one dispose of used Ferric Chloride? Is this stuff harmful to the environment?

Thanks.

Darrin

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As for the disposal, first neutralize what you're planning to throw away. One good way to use up it's oxidizing capacity is to drop in scrap aluminum, but do it outside away from anything you value. Once it's inactive flush it down the toilet, never the sink. Flush a few more times.

For software I've used MSpaint to make the image, but something else (I forget what) to print because MSP gives no control over print pitch.

Yes, it is a good technique for beginners. There are no toxic chemicals until you're ready to etch. If you find that the transfer is incomplete it's a cheap mistake to fix, just clean it off and burn another copy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dear darrin

I have tried many ways for making PCB, Do not make yourself tired with making PCB, The Cleanest & Cheapest way is to draw your Schematic and PCB yourself and give the file to Fabrication...
Today no one can do everything, Desinging, PCB, Soldering and etc. Spend tour time with designing and thinking about circuits instead of Seaching in PCB meterials.

Protel DXP and Eagle are two good Softwares.

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  • 4 months later...

Heh...most fab shops seem to go out of their way to get it wrong on the first go-around. It's not worth the time and hassle of waiting for it to be done right the second or third time they take a crack at it.

My favorite method is to reverse the image and to laser print to transparency stock at 1:1. Use this positive mask to expose a photoresist coated board.

Develop the photoresist and etch in the usual manner (agitated Ferric Chloride).

I get perfect boards fast enough for my prototyping needs.

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  • 7 months later...

  I have a old plastic bucket I toss my used up Ferric Chloride into then let the sun dry it out, then into the garbage it goes. They use Ferric Chloride in waste treatment sites all the time, it helps break down the solids.
                                                        gogo

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 weeks later...

I actually do the opposite. I put the ferric chloride in sealed plastic containers and let it sit in my exterior shed for the season when it is spent. The change in temperatures causes it to separate. Then I pour the clean etchant off the top and re-use it.

MP


reuseable echant? cool.
How long does it usually take to seperate?
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8) You know another thing you can do with  Ferric Chloride is add  Muriatic acid to it.
Muriatic acid is about 30% Hydrochloric acid and the rest is water. That will replenish the mix > I add a quart of  Muriatic acid to one gallon of mixed ferric chloride. Let sit for a day and its just as good as when I first mixed it. Learned that one off a user net site, whis I could find that site again
                                        Have fun
                                            gogo

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  • 1 month later...

reuseable echant? cool.
How long does it usually take to seperate?


Depends on how much copper is in it. Usually takes a whole year with this process for me. Sometimes even longer.
There are etchant recycling systems on the market which cost a lot. They use a similar method but with faster results. They use freezing and heating methods to achieve the same process in very little time.

Regarding the trace sizes in the last post: I use 7 mil traces in many designs. Gloss paper or photo paper will not work for me, either.

MP
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  • 11 months later...

Hello Tecno
  Welcome to the site.  If you look in the Articles on top of this page you find severial posts. Also if you do a search on this site you will find more.
              Making PCB's are easy you just have to do a little experimenting.
                                                        have fun
                                                      gogo

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