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Boofers 13th April 2011 05:34 PM

Pencil CAD and Hand Carving PCB Traces
When Iím making a PCB that is simple and has large components, I prefer using good old pencil CAD to design my PCB layout.
After I've drawn the layout, I drill the holes for all my components. Then I cut my traces by hand with a rotary tool.
To eliminate dust from flying all over, I cut the traces with the PCB submerged in about ĹĒ of water. No need for etching chemicals.

Here you can see the pencil layout and finished PCB.

Boofers 18th April 2011 02:32 PM

I remember when I first started out in electronics, making PCBs seemed like an impossible task since you needed all the chemicals, CAD programs and equipment.

When I got out into industry I found it wasn't uncommon to just carve the traces on PCBs. Sometimes you just need like one extra little relay PCB in your project, so this is a quick and dirty way to get it done.

So if you are an electronics hobbyist who hasnít seen this done before I hope this post gives you another option for board making.

marce 19th April 2011 11:24 AM

It is a good way of doing basic prototypes, a similar technique was used in the late 80's and is still used today, though layer numbers means its pnly used for simpler designs.
Prototype PCB Milling and Drilling - LPKF Laser & Electronics AG

kipman725 19th April 2011 01:09 PM

I have even seen super dense surface mount done with 1000's of components just using an etch bit on a rotary tool, in industry of all places. One day turn around prototype boards (£500) are more expensive than a day of an engineers time.

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