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etching circuit boards

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chris54

New Member
Hello and thanks for taking the time to read and reply. I would like to start to etch my own boards but do not know where or how to start. What should I be looking for to buy to get started.

Thanks again
 

3v0

Coop Build Coordinator
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Read PCB "Fab-In-A-Box" ... The 8min circuit board system for a history lesson.

I use the pulsarProFx system and like it. I do not suggest doing toner transfer without a laminator but people do it. If you use an iron expect to fail several times. Some people swear by the iron.

The neat thing about the pulsar system it the paper. It is coated with the same starch as tapioca pudding. When the starch gets wet the paper falls away from the toner. That allows more detail then other toner transfer methods.
 

gramo

New Member
I use the pulsarProFx system and like it. I do not suggest doing toner transfer without a laminator but people do it. If you use an iron expect to fail several times. Some people swear by the iron.
Hmm, I stumbled across this thread and I really like the concept. Looks cheap as chips for basic prototyping but I was hoping to get a little more info about it before putting pen to paper..

Someone at work uses a similar method with his own laminator and overhead projector plastic printed with toner. A common'ish problem he runs into are small transfer errors that are sometimes hard to spot, especially on semi-complex boards

Anyone who used the above kit run into transfer errors or the such? I know 90% of it is in the preparation, but still, even with a good prep does the transfer sometimes fail?
 

DirtyLude

Well-Known Member
I do not use the Pulsar stuff as the results I get are good with standard glossy picture paper.

With toner transfer you pretty much know how the board is going to look like by the quality of the toner on the board. Occasionally I've accidentally put my finger on the board before doing the transfer and the toner doesn't stick to a spot, but I just clean the board off and restart. You lose nothing but time in this case.

If you are looking for something that works 100% all the time, even manufactured PCB's can have issues.

I recently did a two sided board with a chip with 0.4mm spacing leads which turned out pretty good. I was really happy since the pads are 8mils and they came out perfect.

It's a practice makes perfect thing, though, and I can see how the Pulsar paper would cut down the learning curve and get you up to making good boards quickly.

Your friend is using photo-resist method. I have no experience with it, but people tend to swear by it's ability to get quality results, so if he's having issues, it might just be his technique.
 

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I assume double sided alignment is an issue for any DIY PCB setup - I was hoping to set a fixture up so I can start printing at a set point each time, but I'll stick with single sided PCBs until I get the process down.
 

DirtyLude

Well-Known Member
Really like to see the results as the test board they have down to 1mil traces that are quit clear. I'd like to see how easy it is for you to get everything going.
 
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