Pulsar Professional FX has a neat tip on their site for getting a really even toner transfer when making your own PCBs. First, the PCB is cut to size, and the paper is tacked to the board. Then, the PCB is placed paper up onto a dowel and rolled back and forth with the iron. Since the board bends slightly over the dowel the toner sticks evenly to the copper. After that, just remove the paper as usual and etch with your preferred method.
Etching a printed circuit board generally takes a bit of time and uses a lot of etchant. [TechShopJim] posted a method that uses a sponge to reduce the amount of etchant used while speeding up the entire process. First, a resist is applied using either a sharpie or the toner transfer method. Using gloves to handle everything, he soaked a sponge in ferric chloride and continually wiped a copper-clad board until all the exposed copper was removed. This technique moves the etchant around more, keeping “fresh” etchant closer to the copper. If you can’t procure ferric chloride, you can also use our method that uses 2 household chemicals: hydrogen peroxide and hydrochloric acid.
[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.
Geekware.ca has some ideas for geeky tree ornaments. This is a great way to add some personality to your holidays as well as recycle some of that electronic junk you have laying around. From RAM stars to floppy disk ornaments there are certainly some quirky ideas here. They would make great last minute gifts for someone who can appreciate your nerdiness. GeekAlerts also has a couple interesting ideas too.
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!