Ever annoyed by those pesky stickers on your fruit? They never seem to pull off in one piece and they always leave a little glue behind. Well, the industry might be moving away from them in favor of laser etching each piece of fruit. They are using a low energy carbon dioxide laser to etch the skin. The FDA is in the final stages of approval for using this in the states. It is already in use in New Zealand. We might find this a bit weird, but we’ve seen weirder.
This clever Instructable demonstrates how to etch beautiful aluminum control panels for electronics projects. We like how similar this process is to DIY circuit board etching. Both abide by the same technique and use blue transfer paper. The primary difference is in the use of muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide for etching aluminum.
The Motori plotter is fast and high precision. One image shows that it is drawing lines at .5mm. Like others in the flickr set, we keep thinking of how we could apply this to PCB creation. Great job [svofski]. If you want one that’s not as precise, but might have a much cooler drawing mechanism, you might want to check out the lego arm plotter we posted back in May.
[xander] built this LED valentine for his loved one. It’s interesting because he used Pyralux, a flexible circuit board material from DuPont. He describes the consistency as “tough plastic tissue-paper”, but had no trouble using standard toner transfer etching. It has an ATtiny45 microcontroller that pulses the 16 LEDs at an approximation of his heart beat. To avoid soldering a bunch of surface mount resistors, he used two constant current shift registers.
While we hope you enjoyed our How-To: Etch a printed circuit board, toner transfer certainly isn’t the only way to get the job done. [Garrett] from macetech has recently been playing around with using an Epilog laser to etch PCBs. He started by applying a thin even coat of flat black spray paint to the copper board. The laser is used to remove paint in areas that you want the copper removed. Once that’s done, you proceed with etching as usual. He eventually removed the paint mask using acetone. The result has very fine, sharp traces, but most people that have tried this agree that using spray paint is less than ideal.
Making a PCB is very simple; it does not consume a lot of time and the results look professional. After reading this How-To and watching the step by step video, you will be able to make your own PCB in your workshop using just a few inexpensive materials.
Many people use protoboard and point-to-point wire everything, but needing multiple copies of the same circuit is the reason that forces many away from using protoboard. After making your first circuit board, you might not point-to-point wire anything again!