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Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 2 months ago



Here is a process for making your own circuit board. You will need a board trace on tracing paper or photo paper. You can design that board using CadCircuits or EagleSchematic. You may also find good information at PrintedCircuitBoards


  1. Get an accurate board image printed on the laser printer
  2. Check the design on regular paper
  3. the board should be a small as possible to conserve materials and chemistry
  4. Make sure the traces go where they are supposed to
  5. Make sure you can put the components on
  6. The print of the traces should be backwards of the way it will appear on the board
  7. When you have checked the design with a few people and it is corrected print it on tracing paper
  8. trim a piece of copper clad board to the smallest size that will work
  9. lightly sand the copper side of the board to remove any protective coating, use either fine grit sandpaper or scotch pad, don't use steel wool
  10. tape the design to the board, masking tape won't melt
  11. use the iron to heat up the board
  12. You will want the toner to fuse to the copper board. It will stay fused to the paper
  13. dunk the board and paper into a cup of water
  14. carefully remove the paper from the board. Let the water soften the paper
  15. Your board should now have just the black toner traces
  16. You can clean up the image by tracing over it with a wax pencil or sharpie to provide a resist.
  17. immerse the board in a tray of Ferric Chloride - Wear Safety Goggles
  18. If you can, heat up the Ferric Chloride to about 125 degrees F on a hotplate
  19. Rock the tray like a photo print, make a wave that goes back and forth across the board
  20. If it is a double sided board, turn it every now and then to make sure both sides get etched.
  21. Check the board to see when it is etched
  22. Your board traces should be solid toner, the other areas should be clear and show fiberglass
  23. If you keep it in the etchant too long, you will remove your traces from the board.
  24. When the board is done, rinse it off and the tools.
  25. Pour the Ferric Chloride into the Used Ferric Chloride bottle
  26. Use a fine grit sand paper to remove the toner. Try not to take too much of the copper.
  27. Tin the traces with a thin layer of solder
  28. Drill the holes for your components with either a small drill bit or a finish nail
  29. Next you stuff the board with your components
  30. Ideally, your components will all go on the fiberglass side of the board and be soldered on the side with the traces.
  31. Test your board, put power to it and it should work fine.
  32. If your board does not function properly, check for physical problems first
  33. Do you have all the correct components, and are they in the correct orientation?
  34. Are all your solder joints holding?
  35. Do you have continuity where you need it and no where you don't?
  36. If it still doesn't work, you might have a bad circuit design
  37. You can build the circuit on a breadboard to prove its function
  38. You can also build it on a simulator like http://www.falstad.com/circuit

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