Printed circuit board etching


This isn’t meant to be the definitive PCB etching post. I don’t have any experience etching boards and was hoping readers could contribute their best/favorite methods for etching boards in the comments.

We’re linking to Tom Gootee’s page on toner transfer etching. The first step is to print the design on glossy paper using a laser printer. An iron is then used to transfer the toner to a prepped copper board. The board is then soaked in etchant to remove the exposed copper. The printer toner is mostly plastic and resists the etchant. Once the board  is etched, Acetone is used to remove the toner. Tom has been keeping his site up to date and as his research progresses.

53 thoughts on “Printed circuit board etching

  1. As somewhat of an amateur pcb maker myself I thought I’d throw out a couple of tips I’ve come by. First is that a heat laminator is invaluable in getting your toner transfer to work nearly perfect. I tried for years with an iron before picking up a used lamination machine and bieng struck by the difference. The second is don’t waste money buying special paper to do the transfer. I spent alot of money buying various inkjet papers over the years. The absolute best paper I’ve found for making pcb’s I get for free. The mailman leaves a quantity of it in my mailbox almost daily. Those glossy looking advertisements are a far superior transfer to any inkjet paper you can buy and they scrub off easier too.

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