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Any way to print your own PCB without a laserjet

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Nostrafus

New Member
Well I wanted to know if anyone has a way to make your own pcb without a laserjet printer, because I myself just have an inkjet and can't afford to shell out the money just to save a bit on pcb's, and using one of those pens that put down the silver wiring is out of the question because I get an occasional hand tremmor and I'd end up slipping and screwing the entire thing.
 

john1

Active Member
Hi Nostrafus,

You can get transparencies for inkjet printers.
You can also get light sensitive etch resist.

This suggests that you could coat the board with
etch resist and use the transparency as a mask for
the etch resist, and maybe put it out in the sun.

Or probably use a U.V. light.

I have never done this, but i feel it could be done.

Cheers, John :)
 

Nostrafus

New Member
Thanks man, any other ideas ?

I was taking a look at the beginners pack on Radio Shacks web page, but due to my many beefs with radio shack (Poor labeling of products, bad packaging labels, yes, mainly labels, picked up a pack of transistors, but when I inspected their markings, they were all different types instead of the one I needed which it was labeled as) and the quality of their products, and lack of info, I decided to keep it as just an idea before picking it up.
 

john1

Active Member
Hi Nostrafus,

Try Maplins.
They aren't the cheapest, but as you only want small amounts
its not going to cost much.
When i last looked you could buy a spray can of light sensitive
etch resist, which you could spray on rather like a can of spray
paint. They also sell the stuff to make up the etching solution,
i think it was white crystals.

Because the inkjet printers rely on water content to make the
jet which deposits the ink, they are by necessity water soluble.

So the way to use the print from an inkjet has to be as a light
mask, to get the design on to the board.

It means one more step in the sequence of stages, but it is a
well known and traditional method. I would imagine you could use
tracing paper instead of transparencies, as the transparencies i
have seen are quite expensive, i buy them one at a time. Thats
ok for me cos i cut them down to size anyway. Most boards i do
are only small.

Briefly:

print the design with black being the conductors.
spray the board, let it dry.
put the design on the board, like a contact print, with the
print side in contact with the board.
Expose to U.V. light (i have heard you can expose it to the sun,
but ive never done this).
After a suitable interval, wash the board in the solution for
removing the 'developed' etch resist, from what i recall this
was not a special solution, it was a readily accessible house
hold product, but i forget what. You get full instructions with
the kit anyway. That leaves the copper clad board with the etch
resist only on the copper that is to remain.
Then put it in the etching solution.
After its etched, clean it and thats it.

If i have forgotten a step, please excuse me.
I usually mark the conductor holes, so they get etched too,
i find it helps when drilling cos the drill locates on them.

Just realised that i don't remember if its the developed etch
resist that washes off, or stays behind. that makes a difference
to which bits get printed black, so you'll have to read the
directions carefully, i might have it backwards.

You ask if there's any other ways to do it?

The only other way that comes to mind is stick on strips of
etch resist, they used to be available, but i haven't seen them
for a long time.

*Press and peel from laser printers,
*light sensitive etch resist,
*stick on tracks,
*draw your own with etch resist pen.

There might be other ways, but nothing comes to mind.
I think you can get a kit for drawing on tracks,
but ive never seen or used one. I think its for temporary
fix of rear window demisters in cars, when they have
breaks in the tracks.

Best of luck with it,
John :)
 
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