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Morse 15th February 2004 05:57 PM

Looking for a good DIY PCB kit - RS ones any good? Others?
Hi everyone and thanks for your help and suggestions in advance.

I've got quite a bit of P2P wiring experience, and I've worked with premade PCB's as well. Now it's time for me to learn to make my own Printed Circuit Boards from scratch. As always, money is SUPER tight here....

That said, any good kits and or guides out there? Online resources?

Are the Radio Shack "DIY Printed Circuit Board" kits any good, or are they overpriced and/or poor quality?

Are there other kits out there that I should consider?

Again, biggest bang for the buck and smallest cash outlay are the criteria - so long as I can make a circuit board successfully, that is.

Thanks again for any help or suggestions!
All the best,

Kermit 15th February 2004 06:50 PM

Cant comment on any kits, but if money is tight the obvious way to go would be to use the iron and paper method.
If your not familiar with this, in short you print your pcb on photo paper on a laser printer, iron it on a blanc piece of pcb and etch it.
I make all my pcbs this way, and with some practice and the right kind of paper you can make pcb with pretty thin traces and tight tolerance. You also save a lot on the pcbs as you dont have to use bords with photoresist.

If it sounds interesting, search around and youll find a lot more information on diying pcbs.

jtsjf 15th February 2004 09:43 PM


Sounds interesting and like something I would like to try. Does anyone know of any websites that explain what kind of base to use and what etching to use?


uvodee 15th February 2004 09:51 PM

I even made the pcb from the Balanced line stage from N.P. that way

worked out really well for me!


Morse 15th February 2004 11:04 PM

Hi guys;

Thanks for the info so far....

Further questions:

1. Is a "positive" or "negative" method "better"? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

2. I've seen references to "ferric chloride" as being an etchant. Is this correct? Is it for the positive or negative method of PCB making?

3. What are the minimum starter supplies for this kind of thing? Where (aside from Radio Shack) can I buy supplies? Parts Express has boards and a tinning solution, but I didn't notice etchant in the last catalogue. Is it a "hazmat" and thus likely to become hard for DIY'ers to procure (stateside anyway - God knows the environmental laws are making it hard to get the best industrial materials here; makes me wish I was back in Asia full time...).

All the best and thanks again for any info....

soundNERD 16th February 2004 01:54 AM

DONT use photo paper. it melts in the fuser and they don't make laser photo paper. what you need is a sheet of 10 point thickness glossy paper from kinkos. they sell it by the sheet from the back.

flip the image horizontally and vertically (you don't need to mirror it for some reason). i don't think you have to do this, but do it anyway since it works.

read this post for more info:

thats how i do it.
read the whole thing since some things changed from the original plan.

and don't think about not putting it in the water. i've tried it and it just peels off the toner. i know it takes a while but you MUST do it.

then use an etchant, such as Ferric chloride from RS. Don't dump it down the drain though since it will mess up your septic permanantly or the sewer. save it for a toxic waste disposal day in your town.


soundNERD 16th February 2004 01:55 AM

oh and just use the etchant and copper board from RS. you don't need any of that other stuff.

but you do need steel wool and rubbing alcohol to clean off the toner at the end.

positive and negative are nothing to worry about unless you are using photo transfer method (you're not).

what kind of kits are you looking for? pcb or chip amp?

digi01 16th February 2004 02:27 AM

Hi Morse,this is my pcb.I have made 30 slices, used for exchanging with friends. If you interested it,it is all right to pay the essential transport expenses. :)

Morse 16th February 2004 03:07 AM

Hi Mike;

Thanks for the tips.

>>>...what kind of kits are you looking for? pcb or chip amp?...<<<

Mostly I'm looking to improve my own skills at scratchbuilding and DIY PCB's are next on the list. I'm starting to run into a brick wall where the only chips available to perform certain tasks are in SOIC format and my eyes aren't getting any better for P2P wiring 30 ga onto solder pads. Anyway, I'd love to scratchbuild my own CD source with a valve type audio output stage. DIY PCB's would definitely be a plus there. I've got plenty of valves, trafos, etc (don't have enough nixies on hand for a proper display though, rats!) so that's no sweat. But DIYing a PCB for that is a non-trivial task so I'd better start simple - maybe just the PS board for my next NIGC?

Thanks again and all the best,

soundNERD 16th February 2004 11:55 AM

2 Attachment(s)
For a power supply, use this I atached. The three connections on the left are for the trafo ( V , 0 , V ), the next 4 are for a rectifier (+ , AC , AC , -). The next 4 are for cps but you will most likely only get 2 caps on each side (in mine I used 2 x 2200uf on each rail). The final 3 connections are for the output. Depending on how you placed the rectifier, it may be + , gnd , - or - , gnd , +.


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