UV box for PCB exposure

uv box

Hack-A-Day reader [Mindaugasu] built this box for exposing copper boards to ultraviolet light before etching them. It has two banks of four 20W UV lamps. The box is lined with reflective foil. The banks can be controlled separately and the exposure time is set by an Atmel AT90. You can change the time using button panel and LCD. He’s got some example boards in his ARM development section.

Comments

  1. Lewis says:

    We have one of these at school and its pretty similar to this one, nice build…

  2. Alex says:

    wow i have 1 but it has only 4 bulbs and $ alot well ill sell mine and buld this

  3. AC says:

    Also good for exposing screens for screen printing.

  4. I do enjoy seeing this sort of thing on hackaday. =)… Things for making things.

  5. John Bokma says:

    Just curious, would it be possible to build such a thing using UV LEDs?

    I made a scorpion detector (see http://johnbokma.com/pet/scorpion/detection-using-uv-leds.html ) and used UV LEDs because I understand that they are more efficient, etc.

  6. anion says:

    I built my own using a normal flourescent light (while it was in my ceiling), a ladder, a cardboard box, some tape, and a transparency with the circuit on it. It works quite nicely if you don’t accidently move it during exposure.

  7. hex4def6 says:

    #4:

    I don’t know if LEDs would be a good idea; not only would you need *hundreds* of them, but you may run into the problem where since the beams of the LEDs are very focused (compared to the diffuse nature of the flourescent tube) that you get strange polka dot type effects.

    Also; Flourescent lights are way more efficient than LEDs — see http://www.otherpower.com/otherpower_lighting.html

  8. hex4def6 says:

    #4:

    I don’t know if LEDs would be a good idea; not only would you need *hundreds* of them, but you may run into the problem where since the beams of the LEDs are very focused (compared to the diffuse nature of the flourescent tube) that you get strange polka dot type effects.

    Also; Flourescent lights are way more efficient than LEDs — see http://www.otherpower.com/otherpower_lighting.html

  9. dl7und says:

    You do not really need this if you live in a “sunny” area on this planet. During Summer in Taiwan, you need at least 15 and better not more than 45 seconds exposure – thanks to our sun. OK, you can not work at night and when it is raining, but in most cases you should be fine. I did this with layouts down to 0.2mm track width…

  10. Henry Hallam says:

    Does this thing really need a microcontroller? What happened to a 555 timer & variable resistor?

    I built my PCB exposure unit using UV LEDs, because they were cheaper than fluorescent tubes. It pretty much works but the diffusion/polka dot issue is a hassle. I use a couple of layers of tracing paper spaced at different heights away from the LEDs in order to spread it out. I do think fluorescent tubes would probably be easier to work with.

  11. hackattack says:

    hmm, a commendable effort but this isn’t really a hack now is it?

  12. ed3 says:

    A little larger and it could double as a tanning bed.

    Ok, probably not…

  13. Mindaugasu says:

    We wouldn’t do that big, but we already had a bunch of UV lamps – I think it’s a good idea to use them this way, isn’t it? Of cource it is enough to use one lamp or even sunshine – it is just matter of time.

  14. ladyada says:

    wow what luck, i was just looking for plans to build a PCB exposure lamp!

  15. fred says:

    Bah, if you buy the right presensitized PCBs, you don’t even need a special UV exposure lamp. Look here:

    http://www.web-tronics.com/printed-circuit-board-supplies-positive-photo-resist-pre-sensitized-pcbs.html

    These photo resist pre-sensitized boards are so highly sensitive to UV that you can expose them to regular fluorescent bulbs and have them fully developed in 8 minutes or so. Plus, they are really cheap too!

    You can buy a regular fluorescent lamp fixture and bulbs for less than probably $20 down at Wal-Mart.

  16. h3avyarms says:

    does anyone have a link describing the process of creating a pcb with this method?

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