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Old 12th February 2003, 09:46 PM   #21
Kermit is offline Kermit  Norway
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Finally I had some success with the paper/iron method. I now have 2 almost perfect pcbs for my aleph 3.
My problem was that the iron I used wasnt perfectly flat, resulting in poor transfer on some spots. For those interested here is what I did:
First I placed the paper (HP glossy photo paper) with the toner facing up on the table. Then I put the pcb, copper side down on the paper, carefully aligning it. Then I took some heavy-duty tape over the back of the pcb and paper so that it would not move. Then I turned it over, paper facing up. Then I proceeded, with the iron set to max, rubbing back and forth, laying my weight on the iron. I carried on like this for a few minutes. Then I quickly cooled the board in cold water. And finally I soaked the board in soap and water.
There was very little touch-up to do.
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Old 13th February 2003, 02:08 AM   #22
trespasser_guy is offline trespasser_guy  United States
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If your circuit is simple enough you can print the art on a piece of paper, just a standard one, cut out the traces, and then use a permenent sharpie marker to trace the traces, then etch. Works just fine, and the etchant won't eat off the marker either.
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Old 13th February 2003, 12:18 PM   #23
jackinnj is offline jackinnj  United States
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making pc boards
Default drill before etching

if you don't want the pads to lift.

I am seriously thinking of giving up through-hole devices.
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Old 19th February 2003, 02:36 AM   #24
dlharmon is offline dlharmon  United States
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I have had good success with Olimex. I recommend using eagle for the design. They charge $21 for 100x160mm single sided or $26 for double sided with plated though holes. Shipping is $8. They are in Bulgaria so you get your boards in about 3 weeks. I havn't found a US place I like yet. The boards I had done had TSSOP's and TQFP's and it was no problem.



Download the freeware. The only limitations are 100x80mm board size limit and 2 layers.

Darrell Harmon
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Old 14th April 2009, 02:29 PM   #25
LAJ is offline LAJ  United States
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Default datak

Does anyone know where you can still purchase Datak dry transfer pc board patterns? Looking for ER2. Thanks.
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Old 14th April 2009, 03:27 PM   #26
gianxdiy is offline gianxdiy  Italy
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Can anyone please suggest a WORKING commercial laminator for FR4 (1,6mm) boards?
I know GBC's are the best (2 direct heating rollers),
but H65 and similar seems to accept 0,8mm boards only.
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Old 21st April 2009, 07:53 PM   #27
insta is offline insta  United States
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Newbie alert

Figured I'd post my method for making homebrew PCB's and etching them. I do schematic and board layout in CadSoft's Eagle. It has its limitations, but has sufficed for me so far. When I've got everything done, I create a ground plane and pour it over the bottom of the board, and hatch it with a .125in spacing and 10mil width with .25 isolation. This step seems to be important when doing toner transfer ...

I then print the page, one pass, through my HP LaserJet 1100. For a printing medium, I use pages torn out of a magazine. Specifically, I use some Microsoft Tech Journal, but it's just regular magazine paper. The layout is printed right over the words and everything -- the ink on the page does not affect the layout at all.

I pre-heat a standard WalMart iron to "Cotton" (hottest) with no steam, and next to it I have a bowl full of water. I also use a bamboo cutting board (just what I happen to have) -- a firm, heat-resistant, and insulative surface is necessary. From this point on, I wear thin latex gloves. Fingerprints are my enemy in this case. The circuit board is cleaned with a paper-towel scrub of acetone until no more color comes off. I use RadioShack boards, they seem to work the best.

I pre-heat the board for 30 seconds with the iron. I remove the iron, lay the cut-to-size magazine page down, and immediately tack it in place with the iron. The page will try to curl instantly, so tacking it in place is important. From there, it's just constant pressure and constant rubbing around. You should push about double the weight of the iron against the board. Any more than that, and you run the risk of smushing your traces wider than you wanted. After about two minutes of ironing, lift the butt end of the iron up and gently (weight of the iron) scrub the entire board. The idea here is to get one last higher-pressure pass to ensure everything is down.

I quickly put the board into the bowl of water and let it soak for about 5 minutes. After it's cooled completely down, and the entirety of the paper is soaked, I then put it under a stream of running water and begin to rub the paper off the back with my (now ungloved) thumb. Rubbing the paper off takes about 5 minutes, and does not require a great deal of care -- provided you use your fingers only to remove paper. They seem to be stronger than the paper but weaker than the toner. Make sure to get down between all the pads and traces ... the pour from earlier will serve to make your life easier during all this process. It seems to help even out the heat from the iron while at the same time not making giant planes that are difficult to transfer.

Then, the board is set aside to dry as I prepare the etchant. I use 2 parts hardware-store muratic acid mixed with 1 part 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide (thank you, internet) and 1 part plain ol' tap water. Enough of this is prepared to fill a Pyrex baking dish about 1/2", and stirred around with a plastic straw.

The board is dropped into the etchant, and immediately agitated with aforementioned scientific bendy straw. This is a VERY powerful etchant (but still controllable), and can remove all the copper from an unmasked 4x6" board in 5 minutes or less. The pour from earlier will again help you, as the etchant has less work to do.

Once all the copper is etched (feel free to brush the bendy straw over unetched parts to speed it up), immediately remove the board and rinse for 30 seconds under running tap water. Neutralize the etchant with a few tablespoons of baking soda and wash down the drain.

I then tin plate the board with TINNIT. It's a straightforward (albeit annoying) process.

The holes are drilled out with carbide bits and my Dremel in my Dremel drill press thingy. I got a few grab-bags of carbide bits from Harbor Freight. I typically use the .85mm bit, and keep the speed about 20k RPM.

I currently don't know how to solder mask or silk-screen. For the silk screen, I've just done the toner-transfer method on the topside of the board to label components, but I'd like something more official if someone knows one. A solder mask / greenscreen on the bottom would be awesome if anyone has ideas -- that would save me the tinning step.

Anyway, wall of text and such. Hope it helps someone I haven't tested it on boards larger than my iron (4x6" and smaller).
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Old 23rd April 2009, 02:12 PM   #28
LAJ is offline LAJ  United States
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Default That's pretty cool!

Where did you get the Cadsoft Eagle and how much does it cost?
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Old 23rd April 2009, 04:11 PM   #29
insta is offline insta  United States
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Eagle is free to use for hobbyists (I'm unsure of commercial production) for a limited type of board:

* 2 layers max
* ~ 3.5 x 4.5" max

I got it at www.cadsoft.de (well, I actually got it from aptitude since I run Ubuntu at home ... but ... y'know ...)
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Old 23rd April 2009, 07:12 PM   #30
LAJ is offline LAJ  United States
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Default Thanks, Insta!

Yeah, I,m just now getting into Linux. But for me I'll go with the Windows version. Thanks again!
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