16293I made a promise, and I have kept it.
- Aug 1, 2001About a week or so ago I made mention to a new method for creating PCBs in
the comfort of your own home which I promised to share with you upon
returning to Tech. Well, I'm going to make good on my promise now, because
I have had time to test my method and have found that the results are quite
promising. The final product is also about 10 times better and cleaner than
using my Blender Pen method, although it does require a bit more set up time
to produce the first PCB.
Bear in mind, this is intended to be used for making many many copies of a
PCB, for experimentation or other usage. :) Feel free to use this
technique to sell PCB's to people if you do a particularly good job. Oh
yeah, first I'll tell you what the method is, and then I'll tell you the
long boring story of coming up with the idea. You will be making a rubber
Go to a craft store and buy a few of the biggest NON-GUM STYLE rubber eraser
you can possibly find. Then look for linoleum cutting tools. If you don't
know what these are, ask a worker - they will be able to help you. Chances
are, you probably had to do linoleum cutting in art class in junior high. I
did, (it sucked) which is why I thought of these. You will probably want a
very very very small size cutter, preferably in the V shape for making fine
cuts, as well as a U shaped cutter for making long wide trenches. Once
you've got this, find yourself a decent waterproof, non-smearing, acid-free
black ink pad. (I use 'Archival Ink Jet Black'. It's the expensive kind,
but it is worth it.)
There ya go! You now have the pieces you need to make a splendid rubber
stamp of whatever circuit you would like. It takes a bit of practice to
carve the stamp just right, so don't get disheartened if it takes a few
go's. This method is great if you want to make many many robots, or wish to
sell PCB's. Also, if you screw up soldering stuff to one of the PCB's, just
make a new one.
Some wisdom :
Be gentle when stamping the PCB. You don't want to slide the stamp
around or it will blur the image.
For making drill holes you can use the following method:
Large holes: Just take the drill bit and, using your fingers, drill
a hole in the stamp.
Small holes: Take a .7 (NOT A .5!!!) mechanical pencil and gently
poke the lead into the stamp a few times. If done properly, you will get a
perfect drill hole on the finished PCB.
Wondering where in the heck this idea came from?
Okay, so I'm doing my little brainstorm thing one day, trying to devise new
and better ways to mass produce PCB for my temporarily defunct
robo-corporation, when suddenly (I.E., like lightning) a thought pounded
into my brain: What about making a stamp?
Realizing that this idea just might work, I set about trying to find
anything I possibly could to make a decent stamp. I tried clay, foam, wood,
etc., but nothing seemed to work. I knew that making a rubber stamp would
be almost ideal, but I also knew that it was cost prohibitive to have a
rubber stamp professionally made. There had to be an alternative...
Imagine my chagrin one day when my -mother- (the artsy craftsy type) dragged
me into a Ben Franklin's Crafts store one day, and then as we walked around
suddenly threw a rubber eraser at me and asked: "Will this work?" I
should've just killed myself right there in the store, because I invent
things for fun (like a little umbrella that attaches to your dog's harness
so you can walk him in the rain, or a solar bicore head based sensor which
attaches to your Venetian Blinds and automagically opens and closes them to
let the maximum amount of sunlight in all day long) and my mom beat me to it
for once. (By the way, I have -tons- of these inventions... Maybe one day
I'll tell you about them.)
Okay, so now I'm on a mission. What can I use to carve this? Hah!
Linoleum cutting tools will work splendidly. As you read above, V and U
shapes work the best. I also snagged a really cool X-Acto knife with a tiny
tip and swiveling blade, but this is only for very very fine work, and is
almost impossible to use.
Total cost should be less than 10 dollars. 4 bux for the stamp pad, 2 bux
for each linoleum cutter, and 1 dollar for the rubber erasers.
Yes, before you go asking me, I have made several of these stamps,
mostly -derived- from the designs on the BEAM Online website (because they
are so compact). No, I will probably not be selling PCB unless people
started beating down my door for it, as well as paying in advance. :) And
if Eric Seale is reading this, feel free to put this one in your Beam From
the Ground Up page, too!!! :D
Gotta go, the caffeine in my system is starting to wear off!
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