[Martin] had been using standard perf board for most of his electronics projects, but as he was starting to utilize more surface mount ICs, he quickly realized that it was time to start making his own PCBs. Having never etched any PCBs using the toner transfer method, he figured it was as good a time as any to give it a try.
Rather than make a board for a particular project, he decided to try his hand at etching a very detailed map of the Paris Metro as a test pattern instead. He grabbed a large image of the subway map, then printed it out on the back of a supermarket flyer. He attached it to his PCB and ran it through a lamination machine to transfer the toner. He figured that the laminator would be easier than an iron to use, and was right for the most part. The only issue he had was that the laminator did not generate enough heat, so he supplemented the its heat output with a hair dryer.
When everything was said and done, he had a pretty good looking PCB on his hands. Most of the Metro tracks and text came out just fine, though he admits there is a bit of room for improvement. It looks nice when mounted in a frame, though we would love to see a functional circuit made out of a PCB map like that. Heck, we’d even settle for a double-sided PCB with a street-level map on one side an the Metro on the other!
[Stephen] often finds the need to make his own PCBs at home, and when he got the urge to do some etching recently, he realized that he was fresh out of “Ferret Chloride and Bureaucratic Acid*.” Undeterred by his empty chemical cabinet, he poked around in his kitchen mixing together anything and everything that might have the ability to strip copper from a PCB.
Now, we don’t necessarily recommend this course of action, but it seems that he finally hit upon a winner. He discovered a formula that can be made at home from simple and safe household ingredients which does the job quite nicely. A fair warning however, standard ferric chloride disposal procedures need to be followed when using this solution.
If you want to know what he concocted in his kitchen as well as the chemistry behind it, you will have to visit his site, we won’t ruin it for you. You can however, see the solution at work in the video we have posted below.
*His joke, not ours
Continue reading “Simple PCB etchant made from chemicals you can put in your mouth”
[Bart] built a giant laser etcher from scratch. One of his first test engravings included the Hackaday skull-and-wrenches on a polished granite floor tile (we love it when people do that). He used an XMOS controller and Mach3 CNC software to handle the device. With just two axes to worry about this seem like an easy project. The difficult bit is controlling, cooling, and focusing the laser. Oh, and if you screw up, you could be blinded, burned or horribly maimed. But if you start from the beginning you’ll see that [Bart] knows what he’s doing.
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.
It might be a little bit of overkill, but this etching container agitator sure looks convenient. There’s not much to it technically, a small circuit with an ATtiny45. For those beginning with this stuff, he has written a pretty good tutorial on working with basic microcontrollers. If you are more interested in a tutorial on etching, we did a guide on how to etch a single sided PCB.
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.