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> PCB - Where do you get them?
Ohmz
Posted: December 21, 2005 12:14 am
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Where do you guys get your printed circuit boards? Or if you make them yourself, how do you do it?

I wouldn't mind trying out one of those prototype places online, but there are just so many of them...


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JoOngle
Posted: December 21, 2005 12:45 am
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I make them myself.

Itīs cheap and easy if you know how to do it.
Heard about the Laser-Toner-Heat-transfer method? Itīs the cheapest
method ever...saves you $$$ and you donīt have to use the expensive
photo-emulsion methods.

Hereīs how you do it.

1) You need a laser printer.

2) You need a PCB designer program that keeps true to the size of your pcbīs.

3) you need to find the kind of paper that works best for you, whatīs reported to
work best for most - is a "slick" type of paper...almost glossy. The trick is to
get the laser printer to print it on a solid thick piece of "glossy/coated" paper
where the laser-toner plastic doesnīt stick very well....so we can transfer the
toner to the pcbīs.

Procedure:

a) Print it out on this special kind of paper.

cool.gif Clean a copper-pcb-board with steel-whool or something that makes it 100 % clean.

c) Heat up an ironing-iron to the maximum setting (no steam!!!!)

d) Place the PCB onto a firm solid even surface that can handle strong heat.

e) Cut the laser-printout to the size of the PCB only....leaving a small handle for
your Hand...

f) Pre-heat the PCB by placing the iron on the pcb copper side for about a minute
or so.

g) Quickly and firmly (without burning yourself..careful!!!!!!) place the paper
onto the PCB with the print downwards towards the copper side.

h) Quickly place your hot iron onto the paper - pressing it firmly towards the copper
plate..making sure that the paper getīs spread evenly all over the copper board.

i) Do this for about a minute....and make sure the whole area is covered...donīt
leave air-holes...and donīt "wait-around" too much...

j) Keep a bucket of warm soap water ready close by and pop it into the soapwater.

k) Let it soak for 10-20 minutes (depending on the thickness of the paper) (watch out so you donīt burn yourself, the copper plate will be EXTREMELY HOT!!!!!!)

L) Take it out of the bucket...and peel the paper off carefully.

m) If the paper didnt come off entirely - donīt despair...keep rubbing with your
fingers over the papery surface until it rubs off...donīt worry...if you did your
job heating the surface properly - the toner will stick to the copper so much so that you wonīt even get it off with a steel scraper smile.gif

If everything succeeded - well..then make another bucket with warm water
and put some ferrichloride III (yellow acidic stuff you can get at your local pharmacy)
into it...and dissolve all the "lumps" until you have a yellow liquid. Watch out
though...donīt put your face into this bucket...keep the bucket well wentilated
this stuff is poison - so watch out! Iīm in no way responsible for anyoneīs misshandling of this stuff - this is only for people who know what theyīre doing and
take proper care! Use gloves too!

Put the PCB into the bucket and shake each minute to speed up the etching process.

Wait until the PCB-clears and the fine lines are left..and the copper around it is
completely etched away.

At last - scrub off the toner-ink with some steel wool. And youīre ready smile.gif

Thatīs it - and yes...cheap...and it really works!

*edit*

user posted image

took a little picture of the PCB I made with the Toner-transfer method
to "prove" it really works. smile.gif As you can see - it leaves some artifacts
but not so bad that itīs not useable. In fact...for the price - itīs remarkable
how useable this cheap method is. It costs less than 20 cent with the board
to do this - and well worth the effort.

This post has been edited by JoOngle on December 21, 2005 01:17 am


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Ohmz
Posted: December 21, 2005 01:21 am
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^ That's really awesome! I remember my prof in college said something about that, but he didn't go into much detail (and I didn't think the resulting pcb would be able to have that much detail thumbsup.gif). Luckily I have a laser printer. So glossy photopaper should work?


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JoOngle
Posted: December 21, 2005 01:25 am
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Well...youīve got to experiment with what paper that works best for you
and your brand of laserprinter.

Nothing is guaranteed. It took me some 3-4 experiments with different paper
types...and different "Heating-times" to make it all work, but in my experience
the best results I got ..was with "coated paper".

The "trick" is to get the laser-toner stuff onto paper where the toner wonīt stick
to it too much! So youīve got to play around until you got cool results.

This saves you $$$ money beyond belief so itīs worth doing even 10-40 experiments
just on finding the right heating time + just the right paper brand, so try it!
Youīll most likely win in the end!



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Ohmz
Posted: December 21, 2005 01:34 am
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^ Very cool. It'll definately keep me busy over the holidays playin with this. I'll let you know how it goes, and thanks for the tip!


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Ohmz
Posted: December 21, 2005 01:40 am
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JoOngle, do you mind if I repost the instructions on my website?


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JoOngle
Posted: December 21, 2005 01:41 am
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Not at all,

After all - weīre here to share stuff with each other.



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Ohmz
Posted: December 21, 2005 01:46 am
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QUOTE (JoOngle @ Dec 21 2005, 01:41 AM)
Not at all,

After all - weīre here to share stuff with each other.

Thanks a million. I'll give you and Electronics Forum credit of course.


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draget
Posted: December 21, 2005 04:35 am
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I do it by using MS paint to draw the layout, scale it, print it, then use carbon paper to transfer to the PCB. Go over the tracks with a PCB pen, then soak in ferric chloride for half an hour, and wash off with acetone smile.gif
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hal
Posted: December 21, 2005 09:15 am
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junglemasta' - is that a goldmine board?
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damien
Posted: December 21, 2005 11:25 am
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i wish mine looked that neat... mine sucks!

Damien


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JoOngle
Posted: December 21, 2005 04:14 pm
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QUOTE (hal @ Dec 21 2005, 09:15 AM)
junglemasta' - is that a goldmine board?

I donīt know if Iīm "masta" of the Jungle wink.gif

...but I have "No idea" what you mean by "goldmine" board,
is that some kind of PCB-brand?

I have a box full of cut-offs from the local tech store that just
doesnīt sell such stuff anymore so I got the whole lot for 15 bucks.
(Think itīs 50-70 pcbīs around 20x15 cm cut pieces in various thicknesses,
everything from wafer thin to solid bricks, glass-fiber and epoxy & more)


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rayder
Posted: May 13, 2006 03:07 am
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hey guys i was just reading through an interesting ipod project and part of it has a fairly detailed explanation of how to do pcb's. and it has plenty of pics for reference. check it out.
http://www.engadget.com/2006/05/10/how-to-...er-dock-part-4/
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straightexhaust
Posted: June 02, 2006 11:45 am
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hey thats cool

i have an inkjet printer sad.gif

maybe ill buy a cheap laser just for this this is awesome i had no idea this was possible with such simple materials
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JoOngle
Posted: June 02, 2006 05:04 pm
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Should'nt be too hard....last time I checked the local recycler-shop
they sold a laser printer for less than 5 dollars laugh.gif


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hal
Posted: June 07, 2006 09:26 pm
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QUOTE (JoOngle @ Dec 21 2005, 04:14 PM)
QUOTE (hal @ Dec 21 2005, 09:15 AM)
junglemasta' - is that a goldmine board?

I donīt know if Iīm "masta" of the Jungle wink.gif

...but I have "No idea" what you mean by "goldmine" board,
is that some kind of PCB-brand?

I have a box full of cut-offs from the local tech store that just
doesnīt sell such stuff anymore so I got the whole lot for 15 bucks.
(Think itīs 50-70 pcbīs around 20x15 cm cut pieces in various thicknesses,
everything from wafer thin to solid bricks, glass-fiber and epoxy & more)

www.goldmine-elec.com

they have super cheap boards. Price as well as quality. But I use them anyway. 25 boards of various sizes for $5. Thin to the translucent point as well, and semi flexible. O-well haha.
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geekofalltrades.com
  Posted: June 09, 2006 04:21 pm
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OFF SHORE !!! $1 a square inch .. let me know if "y'all" want to join the party !! A bunch of us around Atlanta GA get stuff ALL the time !! I'm a Pro PCB Designer by day and as you can see from my handle .. a general, all around, geek too smile.gif I've got close to a million bucks in VERY HIGH END CAD TOOLs at my becon call !! might as well whore them out to !! Pimp my PCB
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WWIFW
Posted: July 10, 2006 09:39 am
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Skeith
Posted: July 10, 2006 11:36 am
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Yeah the toner transfer method is the greatest. Hell if you arent able to get a laser printer the local photocopy center works great too not expensive at all. Only down side is the trip there. All of the PCBs on my website were hand made and designed by me from scratch in CAD software and etched with the toner transfer method. Im thinking about trying out UV exposure etching, but from what Ive seen it requires special boards. (either that or people are being succkered into buying special boards not knowing of an alternative.) Check out some of my boards on my website.


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Gorgon
Posted: July 12, 2006 02:03 pm
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Here is a site full of ideas. Take a look at the tutorial video in the bottom of the page. Howto make PCB

TOK wink.gif


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alirezan
Posted: September 17, 2006 09:26 am
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Yeah, Toner Transfer method really works, but it needs alot of patience. I have tried 3 different papers and finally found: http://www.rpelectronics.com/Default.asp?M...tems/TTS-10.asp

It is a coated paper that works with any type of material.

However, the transfer is the most important and difficult part. If you don't heat the paper well, the toner won't stick to the copper well and after you etch, you will realize that some of the tracers or pads/vias are not there anymore!
I haven't found the right settings for the transfer yet. I am using a simple Ironing-iron and have tried setting it to maximum temp (7), midway (between 3-4) and 5 and none worked well for me.

Any ideas?

thanks
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ghimpe--
Posted: September 17, 2006 10:04 am
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akirezan, maybe you are not doing it right. After you iron the paper it should stick to the copper board BUT DO NOT PULL IT! you need to soak it in warm watter + some dish detergent. The paper will come of in layers.
After you completly removed the paper inspect for tracks that are interupted or missing and fix it with an small tip permanent marker. You will get pretty good results like that.

GooD LucK!


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alirezan
Posted: September 17, 2006 07:40 pm
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That's exactly what I did. I soaked it for about 5 minutes and the paper came off and the tracks were just fine. After I etched it, many tracks were missing sad.gif
Maybe I am not doing the ironing part right. Can you help me with that too? Like, how would you do it with a regular iron? like the settings, how long you iron the thing and ...

THanks
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ghimpe--
Posted: September 17, 2006 07:56 pm
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It sounds to me that the tracks came off when you etched it. Maybe the tonner you used is different in composition or you didn't clean the board well. You should clean the copper board of any oxides and then use isopropilic alchool or similar to clean any other oils (from fingers) or stuff. Do not touch the copper board after cleaning and do not touch the printed side of the paper, oil rezidues can realy ruin your work.

I can't tell you how to use the iron, can't say what temp. i use my moms, but the realy old one (is the only one she'll let me use), i can't say what temp it is, the markings are no more biggrin.gif

Just make sure all the traces are transfered to the board, the paper will get translucid where there is good transfer, or at least thats what hapens in my case...


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alirezan
Posted: September 17, 2006 08:13 pm
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QUOTE (ghimpe-- @ Sep 17 2006, 07:56 PM)
It sounds to me that the tracks came off when you etched it. Maybe the tonner you used is different in composition or you didn't clean the board well. You should clean the copper board of any oxides and then use isopropilic alchool or similar to clean any other oils (from fingers) or stuff. Do not touch the copper board after cleaning and do not touch the printed side of the paper, oil rezidues can realy ruin your work.

I can't tell you how to use the iron, can't say what temp. i use my moms, but the realy old one (is the only one she'll let me use), i can't say what temp it is, the markings are no more biggrin.gif

Just make sure all the traces are transfered to the board, the paper will get translucid where there is good transfer, or at least thats what hapens in my case...

Oh I see, maybe that's where I am not doing right. I wash the board and it seems it's very clean and no oxides, but i touch the board quite alot!! I didn't konw that. lol

Thanks
Ali
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