Saturday, October 30, 2010

Make your own PCB (Printed circuit board)

So far, many people are confused about where to make the PCB. Because, We are don’t  know how and not confidence about the result. PCB manufacturing as like manual or screen printing system which they said a bit complicated and need some equipment and others. But, I want to share of how to make PCB as simple as like they thinking. The way is using glossy paper, as we call is photo paper. Because, We just need a glossy side of the paper. It’s for the ink are patched on the paper can be moved to the PCB. Some people said use gasoline, but I never tried that method, next time maybe I share another ways.
The equipment needed are not much. Photo paper (the cheap one), flat iron, aseton liquid, PCB of course. This method is used for simple circuit. When it’s complicated, actually we can make it, but we have to high accurate in ironing method.

Equipment needed:
- 1 pcs of flatiron
- 1 sheet PCB lember PCB which is cut as like the circuit shape.
- 1 bottle aseton liquid (you can get it in pharmacy).
- 1 sheet glossy/photo paper.
- 1 pcs PCB design layout.
- 1 pack fericlorite liquid (FeCl3) (etching liquid)

Figure 1. Layout example
First step:
Circuit design layout is very important at this step. You can use OrCad, PCB designer or another software as we know. For me, I use PADS software, easy to use this software. But the result is same. Define shape of PCB layout and match it with the PCB shape. Match of shape of course.

Figure 2. Four layout on one sheet

Second step:
Print the PCB layout on to typical sheet paper, Do not forget, use mirror condition at the layout printout, because it’s going to attach as mirror condition on the PCB sheet. If possible, printout some sheet and attach on the one sheet A4 size paper. It’s for reduce cost when a copy print. Example: attach 4 PCB layout in one sheet, it mean we are reduce of three sheet copy print. And we have backup layout when the process is fail. Need to remember, ask to the copier to use laser copy print and photo paper, it’s better if the copier is have the photo paper. So, you don’t have to be brought the paper or you can print out your self with laser printer. But the point is you have to be using photo paper.

Figure 3. Ironing Sumilation
Third step:
If it’s copied, the next step is more important. Dabs the PCB by water, cooper side only, make it medium humidity. After that, attach the PCB layout paper on the PCB cooper, layout image is on the cooper. Make the PCB and paper is not slide. When it’s attached, put it on the floor or carpet., ironing the PCB with the medium heat, about ¾ of heat level. Do it until the ink can see on the other side. Don’t to push when the ironing, it cause the pattern is going wide. Just relax. After finish it, don’t release the paper directly. Let the PCB’s into low temperature. Dip the PCB into the water, let it dip in a few minutes.

Fourth step:
Fade the paper out from the PCB, so, the paper is release easy and it will leave the ink on the cooper. Don’t scratch it hardly, can make the ink lifted. Just relax and don’t be hurry. Fade it until all apart. Clean the PCB from the leaved paper. The PCB is ready to the etching step.

Five step:
Prepare fericlorite liquid by adding warm water. Clean PCB layout is soaked in the liquid for fading out the unnecessary cooper. Shake the liquid until the cooper are fade. And will leave the pattern are coated by the ink. Be sure for etching is done and clean it by water. Clean the ink layer with aseton liquid by tissue or cotton. And the circuit will appears clearly.

Six step:
After the pattern are clear, you can start to drill for component hole and PCB are ready to use.

Additional step:
If you are going to add component layout, you can do as above. But not need fericlorite and aseton. Just ironing the component layout on to the other side without cooper. The function is leaving the ink on the PCB for component placement.

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