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new to etching

Discussion in 'Electronic Projects Design/Ideas/Reviews' started by dasatboy, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    Now that you have toner that works try the lamanitor again. You only need to run the green through once or twice.

    To fill in the pads type "run drill-aid" on the command line.

    To make larger pads you need to increase the restring percentage in the DRC setup. Click the DRC icon then on the restring tab. Change the bottom min from the default 10 to 15 or 20 if you have the space.

    Keep in mind that the space between pads and traces is important too.

    Once you get the hang of this it is nearly foolproof.

    I made a bad board last week. Used an off brand laser printer at school and did not use the green foil. Then I left it in the etch too long while doing a tutor session. The traces did not look too bad but after populating the board and trying to get it working I tossed it in the trash. Such a beast is not worth bothering with. I had drilled 3 boards so did the other two right and they came out great.
     
  2. dasatboy

    dasatboy New Member

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    Thank You sir I will try waht you suggest!
     
  3. dasatboy

    dasatboy New Member

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    this is proving to be harder then it looks. I tried the laminator again 3v0 but it was worse. I went back to the iron and dowel. I will try running the green trf through the laminator at aparently you don't need to have as much pressure or heat for this! That is assuming I can get image to transfer!


    I don't know guys maybe my wife is right. I am gettig too old and you can't teach an old og new tricks. I have to stop for the night. The toner didn't transfer to the copper very well! Guess I will try again in a day or two!
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2008
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    I would say the answer is to get a known good laminator as you suggested earlier. If you have that and good tonner most of the guesswork goes away.

    The nice thing about the green stuff is that there is no alignment. You can even reused the same sheet it did not stick too well the first time. Make sure you put the dull side to the copper :)

    PM me if you want to talk. I have skype and VOIP (flat charge) long distance.
     
  6. dasatboy

    dasatboy New Member

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    is there a simple way to remove all the traces from my board.

    thanks 3v0 I will keep that in mind. I have a few more ideas to try first!!


    Answered this above question. I didn't need to rip up all teh traces, I just right clicked on the traces and choose "ripup" then replaced components and ran the new traces!
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2008
  7. dasatboy

    dasatboy New Member

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    Ok I finally got a usable toner trnsfer. My aparent problem with the iron tech. was I was runing the tape up and down in the same direction I was rolling the board on the dowel. This time I taped it at the ends. It let the pressure disperse evenly accross the board. I then fired up the laminator which I used to transfer the green TRF. Now on to the actual etching!! I am excited!!
     
  8. dasatboy

    dasatboy New Member

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    is it true 1 cup of ammonium persulphate for 1 liter of water?
     
  9. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    Mine says 250 gram per liter of water.

    I put enough water in the bottom of a glass bread pand to cover the board, no more then 1/2 inch. Then add about 2 TBS of ammonium persulphate.

    It likes to etch hot.

    My etcher at school is an old crock pot. I put regular water in the crock pot and etchant in a small jar that sits in the hot water. Down side is that it takes about 2 hours to come up to temp.
     
  10. dasatboy

    dasatboy New Member

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    k well I did it! YEA. anyways. I ended up using the 250g per L idea and split that in half. the board is not perfect, some of the traces split. I can use jumpers just to make sure the circuit will work though. I am going to order one of those etch resist pens in next digikey order,probably a laminator too. I found when my board was finished it was not as crisp as some of the pics you guys posted. probably because you used a laminator.

    I read that the etch likes around 40 deg c so I just ran the water till it got as hot as it could. Started drilling some holes but I have t go to bed. Work in the AM. and I didn't shower yet, figured if I screwed up some cloths it would be the ones I don't own!
    Thanks alot 3vo. I am sure I will be back with more "?" but for now I have the idea!!
     
  11. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    Congratulations. It should be mostly downhill from here. This is the sort of thing that once you have it down it becomes difficult to make a bad board.

    For now stick with wide traces and big pads where possible. As you get better you can make things smaller. :D :D :D
     
  12. Ambient

    Ambient New Member

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    I guess this phrase can be used both ways lol. Anyways, in all that discussion I didn't notice anyone mention that you have to make sure you scrub the copper with Acetone (nothing else works as well) an something abrasive like steel wool (but not steel wool). I use the green dish washing pads. I have tried using degreasers, lacquer thinner, rubbing alchohol...nothing else works as well as acetone. And wear clean nitrile gloves too. Fingerprints have a lot of oils in them.
     
  13. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    Cleaning is important. What you do depends on the condition of the PCB material you have.

    I use the same green pads but with dawn dish soap. It may be the the texture (tooth) the pad give the board may help the toner stay put. Not sure.
     
  14. Ambient

    Ambient New Member

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    I will have to give the dish soap a try. I would definitely prefer that over acetone. But so far acetone is the only one that seems to ensure all of the toner sticking. But the toner makes a difference, too. I bought a Brother HL-5240, and the toner sticks perfectly. But before when I had copies made at Office Max I always had problems making clean lines, and little bits would come off. The Brother ink is great.
     
  15. dasatboy

    dasatboy New Member

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  16. Ambient

    Ambient New Member

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    The slight scratching will help it stick because it removes the oxidized layer of copper. I am not using the Brother printer with pulsar paper though, and luckily it is not on that list. I am using it with glossy photo paper and simply ironing it on. Then I scratch the back of the paper a little and soak in cold water. Then the paper comes off easily by peeling off some layers and scrubbing with a toothbrush. I still have yet to try magazine paper.

    If anyone here has tried magazine paper: Do I have to use a blank page? I was not sure if the color ink on the pages would come off or cause problems.

    EDIT: Forgot to mention that when I used acetone to clean the ink it dissolved the ink fine. But it left behind black streaks on the pcb material. Ugly looking... Then I tried lacquer thinner, and that made the ink curdle, and did not leave behind any. So I got a nice white board. So try all kinds of different chemicals if you can.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2008
  17. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    Ambient:

    I do not understand why you are not using Pulsar or P&P both give better results then various paper not intended for the purpose. You live in the US where both can be had and at reasonable prices.

    I do not have any experience with the P&P but I know the pulsar can make boards with more detail then most people can solder and most often without any touch up. It also works to create fake silkscreens.
     
  18. Ambient

    Ambient New Member

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    Making fake silkscreens would be very handy. But so far I have made near perfect boards using inexpensive glossy photo paper, so I never bothered to buy the special sheets. The only problem on my last board was due to my fingernail scratching a small bit of toner off. I have not tried getting traces closer than 0.12", but so far I have not needed to.

    The sheets are not too expensive, but I am a penny pincher lol.
     
  19. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    I too pinch pennies. With a bit of care you can dry and reuse the paper that transfered the board foil. I use it to print the silkscreen. I think it could be used to print a 2nd PCB but I would rather use a new bit of paper. Never tried using it a 3rd time.

    The paper itself is $1.50 for a 8x11 sheet. That works out to 1.7 cents per square inch. You do have to buy 10 sheets at a time. My first pack has lasted over a year. A lot of that was used up in the first few months when I was learning. Now the boards are smaller and a single sheet goes a long way. You have the option of using the green foil which adds another cent or so to the cost. The foil seals the top of the toner and prevents pinholes in the traces. With that you can get traces below .010" wide. I do not like to go below .012" because the wider traces stand up to rework better.
     
  20. Ambient

    Ambient New Member

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    So the Pulsar paper is reusable...nice. I will get some and try it out. So far the most time consuming part was removing the paper, so Pulsar paper is much faster. I thought it was simple paper with some special coating, and you still had to scrape off paper.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2008
  21. dasatboy

    dasatboy New Member

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    Almost a year? My first pack is still half gone. Good thing the beginner kit came with 2.

    Anyways, I just ordered a laminator, carbide drill bit (as it has 1/8 shank for my cheap drill press) and 2 etch-resist pens from digikey.

    I do have an off beat question. I am going to try and combine two projects into one unit.

    The deal is both circuits individually have a DB9 plug and a special plug with 10 leads on it. I want to build a circuit that will house the DB9 and the other plug. Is there some kind of relay? that will let me use a switch to jump between the two different circuits? I need to relay 19 different traces is what I am trying to say!
     

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