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TOPIC: Home Brew PCB Techiques

Re: Home Brew PCB Techiques 8 years 3 months ago #15505

  • MrDEB
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[Moderator's Comment]Original Thread[/url]]

http://digital-diy.com/forum/download/file.php?id=1247[The split topic follows.]


DETAILS would be nice as I use the toner transfer method from PULSAR.
Works great.
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Re: Introduction and Thanks 8 years 3 months ago #6921

  • Jon G
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DETAILS would be nice as I use the toner transfer method from PULSAR.
Works great.

I will post a topic and hopefully video when I have prepared more details. Hopefully in the near future. My short term advice is the following]h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm ... 12427.html[/url]) I got a deal on an open box of 150 sheets.

2. Print the outline of your board along with the traces so that you can align it on the pcb properly.

3. Cut out what you've printed using the outline I mentioned here ^^^, but leave a tab of paper sticking off one edge. That gives you something to hold on to and maneuver the board while it's HOT.

4. Preheat the bare pcb thoroughly, edge to edge. Should take about 30-45 seconds for a small one (2"x2") Put a piece of normal, clean paper between the iron and the pcb to do this. (gotta keep that board clean)

5. Put your printed circuit onto the board slowly. You want to make sure you get it right the first time. Start with an edge. This is the reason you cut it out to size. Don't move it. The board is gonna be pretty damn hot at this point too.

6. Once you know it's on there how you want it, keep the paper steady with the tab you left on it and iron down one of the corners of the paper so it sticks. It'll happen almost instantly.

7. Set the iron onto the board and press it on there for about 2 minutes or so. You don't have to put all your weight on it, just press it on there well. Don't twist the iron.

8. Now starting in the middle and using the front area of the iron, iron slowly from the center out to the edges of the board. Go the same speed with each stroke and pay attention to what you've ironed and what you haven't. If you left that tab of paper sticking out like I said, you can easily rotate the board and keep it in one spot. The key is getting the board heated all the way to the edges of the paper. If you're going to have a trace not transfer, it's going to be on the edge, so make sure you get ALL OF IT. Same pressure all over, same speed. When I do it, I apply pressure not straight down, but at an angle toward the direction I am ironing in... Basically on the edge of the iron, but the flat part of the iron is still making contact. Just keep doing this until you feel you've thoroughly pressed the sheet onto the board edge to edge.

9. When done, you can pick the whole thing up by the tab of paper and take it over to the sink to get the paper off. Let it either sit in hot water for a little bit or run under it, whatever your environmental conscience will allow. With the paper I'm using this only take about 15 seconds and the top layers of the paper will begin to peel off. (usually it will bubble up actually) You'll almost immediately know if you succeeded. If you didn't portions of the paper will just come up, traces included.

10. Rub all the paper off with your fingers/thumbs. Do this in the water. After it looks like you've got the paper off, go over the whole thing with a toothbrush. You can scrub it pretty well without taking off toner, but be careful anyhow. You should be left with what looks to be a really good circuit... When it's wet... Dry it with a paper towel and watch closely as it's drying. Areas will turn white. (this may just be the paper I am using) You want to get as much of this off with the toothbrush as you can without removing any toner. Don't worry if the traces or small holes have white in them. You won't get it all off, just do your best.

11. When the board is dry, look closely between all the traces and make sure that there are no white areas left. Remove any that remain with a razor blade or xacto knife. It crumbles right off when it's dry so there's no need to scrape at it or even gouge the copper at all.

12. Etch using your favorite method. I'm using HCL/Hydrogen Peroxide mixture because it's cheap and reusable.

13. Rinse well, then remove the toner with acetone. Use real acetone from the hardware store, not fingernail polish remover. The fingernail polish remover is weak, probably because it's meant to come into contact with skin.

That's about it for now... Looks like a long tedious process, but it's not. From print to etch is about a 15 minute process. Plus I'm slow and a perfectionist.
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Re: Introduction and Thanks 8 years 3 months ago #6922

  • MrDEB
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I tried using glossy paper but hard to remove.
Get great results using PULSAR Toner Transfer method
http://www.pulsarprofx.com/
Have, just for fun, did .006 traces.
I found using #0000 steel wool to clean board w/ a little soap works better than Scotch Brite pad. Follow up with rubbing alcohol.
Using a laser printer (inkjet won't cut mustard as the enchant will remove it)print out design. Was using EXPRESSPCB but now using DIPTRACE. Printout is better as are 45 Degree angles plus it produces gerber files. Easier to learn than EAGLE.
Using a laminator to apply toner transfer.. I tape one end of board to printout, run it through laminator, taped end first thus preventing any shift.
Purchased a new laser printer yesterday as the HP1320 I have been using tends to smudge very little and have paper jams (got for free so what can I expect)
Will post my recent pcb after I get pics on computer.
If you order from PULSAR they offer FREE copper board remnants. There 1oz boards are great as you can hold up to light and see ANY missed traces.
If you do many boards, do a copper pour as your etching time will be considerably less.
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Re: Introduction and Thanks 8 years 3 months ago #6923

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here are some pics of a couple of boards.
The small ones were using EXPRESS PCB the large one w/ hatch copper filled area is using DIPTRACE.The boards are 1oz from PULSAR (very nice board material. Easy to drill.
Both were done using HP1320 printer that is being replaced. Found that using the DIPTRACE I get fewer trace misprints vers using EXPRESS PCB
The larger board was etched in under 2 minutes, drilled (244 holes)in 20 minutes).
Found that etching then drilling w/ hand-held Dremel tool w/ #78 bit THEN drilling w/ #65 bit I get better accuracy. The #78 bit uses the crater as a center punch. Was using a drill press but this new method seems to work rather well.
Found that using carbide bits is expensive and they break easily.
Found HSS bits cheap and a mandrel for the small wire bits.
http://www.widgetsupply.com/page/WS/CTG ... l-bit-sets
I know drilling by hand sounds inaccurate but using the #78 bit FIRST really has improved my drilling process.
The first pic is using EXPRESS PCB. Traces are not as CRISP
The next two pics are using DIPTRACE. Traces are better but still getting a little smudge. Can't wait for new printer to do my silk screen layer on the PDB-40 (last photos)
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Re: Introduction and Thanks 8 years 3 months ago #6925

  • Jon G
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Thank you for the info about the processes you are using... I'm confused though, did you want to know my method so you could try it or did you just want to compare it to your method? You may have misread though... The paper I am using is "inkjet paper" but I'm printing on it with a laser printer.

To be quite honest my goals for creating PCB's with this method were the following: cheap and using readily available materials. I succeeded.

I checked out the Pulsar stuff and read through their instructions as part of my research before starting. It would seem they are a good solution if you don't feel like searching for your own method. The paper itself is in my opinion ridiculously expensive. $13.50 for 10 sheets? I paid $12 for 150 sheets. Even if I get it wrong 15 times, it still costs me less. The other issue is that you have to order the sheets from someone.

Good info regardless and I say, do what works for you and makes you happy.
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Re: Introduction and Thanks 8 years 3 months ago #6926

  • Jon G
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Here is a top side shot of the board. Just used the toner transfer to put the "screen" on. I'm thinking of giving the top side a light coat with some type of spray on quick dry lacquer the next time around before mounting the components. That should give it a nice finished look. The contrast between the black toner and board look really nice when it wet... Hopefully that should carry over with lacquer on it.

Anyhow, I'm going off topic with all this board stuff so I will save the rest for a real post specific to the subject later on. You'll notice my name is Jon as well... Hence the unoriginal name given to the board.
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