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Roll yer own PCB's.

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  • Jesse Willis
    I found myself wandering through a Radio Shack today, and I happened upon a Do-It-Yourself PCB Kit for $13.00. The kit contained everything you need to roll
    Message 1 of 9 , Jun 15, 2001
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      I found myself wandering through a Radio Shack today, and I happened upon a
      Do-It-Yourself PCB Kit for $13.00. The kit contained everything you need to
      roll your own PCB's. It has etchant, blank PCB's, a Sharpie marker for
      drawing your circuit, a scouring pad to prepare your board, a drill bit to
      cut your board, resist remover, and a small basin for doing the etching in.

      I must say, this PCB thing is easy as pie. Everyone should go out to the
      Shack tomorrow and snag one of these kits. If you are planning on doing IC
      work you should also get some dry transfers. Screw freeforming and having
      solder joints break. Screw rats nest wiring. This is the way to go.

      Two things you should know that they don't really tell you:
      Remember to scour the PCB before drawing your circuit. If you don't do it,
      it won't etch. Period.
      When etching, do NOT let the PCB settle on the bottom of the basin. Have it
      facing down, but floating at the top of the etchant. Otherwise, a vacuum
      seal will form and no etchant will get through. I learned this by
      experience.

      I just finished a board containing a 1381 solarengine (for the heck of it)
      and a bicore head circuit. Very nice looking!!!
      Jesse
      osmodiar@...
    • Pat Nicklas
      Great kit for starters. I also would like to point out that the kit also contains a small drill bit (1/16 in.) which is way too big. You d be better off
      Message 2 of 9 , Jun 16, 2001
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        Great kit for starters. I also would like to point out that the kit also
        contains a small drill bit (1/16 in.) which is way too big. You'd be better
        off buying a tiny carbide drill bit like those discussed recently on this
        list. Also, I definitely recommend picking up the dry transfers while
        you're there because the Sharpie pen doesn't leave as nice of traces after
        etching.

        Using the dry transfer/ sharpie technique like the above is probably the
        easiest and cheapest as long as your board design isn't too large or
        intricate. If this is the case, I have found that photo-etching creates
        very professional-looking results and can save alot of time. However,
        photo-etching is a little more involved and might not be suitable for those
        who are new to board etching. Everything you need to get involved in
        photo-etching can be found at RadioShack.com.




        >From: Jesse Willis <jewillis@...>
        >Reply-To: beam@yahoogroups.com
        >To: beam@yahoogroups.com
        >Subject: [beam] Roll yer own PCB's.
        >Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2001 02:14:19 -0400
        >
        >I found myself wandering through a Radio Shack today, and I happened upon a
        >Do-It-Yourself PCB Kit for $13.00. The kit contained everything you need
        >to
        >roll your own PCB's. It has etchant, blank PCB's, a Sharpie marker for
        >drawing your circuit, a scouring pad to prepare your board, a drill bit to
        >cut your board, resist remover, and a small basin for doing the etching in.
        >
        >I must say, this PCB thing is easy as pie. Everyone should go out to the
        >Shack tomorrow and snag one of these kits. If you are planning on doing IC
        >work you should also get some dry transfers. Screw freeforming and having
        >solder joints break. Screw rats nest wiring. This is the way to go.
        >
        >Two things you should know that they don't really tell you:
        >Remember to scour the PCB before drawing your circuit. If you don't do it,
        >it won't etch. Period.
        >When etching, do NOT let the PCB settle on the bottom of the basin. Have
        >it
        >facing down, but floating at the top of the etchant. Otherwise, a vacuum
        >seal will form and no etchant will get through. I learned this by
        >experience.
        >
        >I just finished a board containing a 1381 solarengine (for the heck of it)
        >and a bicore head circuit. Very nice looking!!!
        >Jesse
        >osmodiar@...
        >
        >

        _________________________________________________________________
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      • Jesse Willis
        ... better ... Correct, and correct! That drill bit was -entirely- too large, but it did work in my Dremel tool (at low speeds) with the replacement collar.
        Message 3 of 9 , Jun 16, 2001
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          > Great kit for starters. I also would like to point out that the kit also
          > contains a small drill bit (1/16 in.) which is way too big. You'd be
          better
          > off buying a tiny carbide drill bit like those discussed recently on this
          > list. Also, I definitely recommend picking up the dry transfers while
          > you're there because the Sharpie pen doesn't leave as nice of traces after
          > etching.
          Correct, and correct! That drill bit was -entirely- too large, but it did
          work in my Dremel tool (at low speeds) with the replacement collar. I went
          by my local TrueValue today and snagged a 1.04mm drill bit (about a dollar)
          and an even tinier Dremel collar ($2.79). Now, the holes are absolutely
          PERFECT. Oh, I am so pleased by this kit. Also, I had picked up the dry
          transfers, but found that their best use was for laying down nice straight
          IC socket holes. The Sharpie pen was the best (IMO) for drawing lines.

          > Using the dry transfer/ sharpie technique like the above is probably the
          > easiest and cheapest as long as your board design isn't too large or
          > intricate. If this is the case, I have found that photo-etching creates
          > very professional-looking results and can save alot of time. However,
          > photo-etching is a little more involved and might not be suitable for
          those
          > who are new to board etching. Everything you need to get involved in
          > photo-etching can be found at RadioShack.com.
          I have found another way to transfer the patterns, although it is probably
          not a very good way. It worked for me in a test, but there are easier,
          faster, better, and cheaper ways. What I did was swing by my local art
          store and pick up an Eberhard Faber DESiGN Art Marker, Broad Nib 311
          Colorless Blender (only about 2 dollars). With this, you simply photocopy
          the circuit you wish, and then take lay the photocopy face down on the PCB.
          Run the marker over the -back- of the photocopy, and the image transfers to
          the copper. Might be more trouble than it is worth, though, unless you have
          a laser printer or copier and are only making small circuits. (But boy can
          you make them small!)
          I'll be sure to check up on that photo-etching thing, though. I wasn't
          aware that they sold anything like that. Thanks for the heads up!

          Surprisingly enough,
          Jesse
          osmodiar@...
        • Bruce Robinson
          ... There s more than a few threads on PCB photoetching in the archives, and in the alt-BEAM archives as well. Here s some advice I offered:
          Message 4 of 9 , Jun 17, 2001
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            Jesse Willis wrote:
            >
            > ... What I did was swing by my local art store and pick up
            > an Eberhard Faber DESiGN Art Marker, Broad Nib 311 Colorless
            > Blender (only about 2 dollars). With this, you simply photocopy
            > the circuit you wish, and then take lay the photocopy face down
            > on the PCB. Run the marker over the -back- of the photocopy, and
            > the image transfers to the copper. Might be more trouble than
            > it is worth, though, unless you have a laser printer or copier
            > and are only making small circuits. (But boy can you make them
            > small!)
            > I'll be sure to check up on that photo-etching thing, though.
            > I wasn't aware that they sold anything like that. Thanks for
            > the heads up!

            There's more than a few threads on PCB photoetching in the archives, and
            in the alt-BEAM archives as well. Here's some advice I offered:

            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beam/message/10105

            If you look for messages with the same subject around this time you'll
            get the full picture. Also, David Perry discusses the MG Chemical system
            (same one I use) at:

            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beam/message/6772

            Finally, a number of BEAMers have had success printing (laser printer)
            onto plastic film (for overhead projectors) and then ironing the image
            onto the circuit board. Jim Mullins also offered a suggestion for
            improving the quality of a printed image at:

            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alt-beam/message/8403

            > ... When etching, do NOT let the PCB settle on the bottom of the
            > basin. Have it facing down, but floating at the top of the etchant.
            > Otherwise, a vacuum seal will form and no etchant will get through.
            > I learned this by experience. ...

            "Conventional wisdom" says, invert he board, or the exposed copper will
            get covered up with the ferric precipitate that forms during the
            reaction. This effectively blocks the copper from the etchant and stops
            the etching process.

            However, many professionals recommend that the etched side should be
            face up, so you can monitor the etching process. If you gently agitate
            the solution, or push your circuit board around with a small plastic rod
            (e.g., a swizzle stick), this will flush off the precipitate. MG
            chemicals recommends using a foam brush to gently brush the surface
            clean (that's the way I do it).

            Finally, you get the best etching results if your ferric chloride
            solution is warm. This speeds up the etching process and avoids
            undercutting at the edges of traces. Ideal etching temperature is 50
            degrees (C) ... 120 F, but don't go above 57 C (135 F) or your solution
            will start to fume (hydrochloric acid -- very corrosive). I have a
            shallow glass etching tray with a handles sticking out the end. To heat
            the etchant, I suspend this tray in a container (Rubbermaid) of hot
            water, using a couple of flat sticks under the handles. I marked the
            water container with a permanent marker to indicate the height of the
            water before the tray is suspended in it. This lets me fill the
            container to exactly the right height, and not worry about spilling
            water when I place the etching tray in it. I use water heated to 55 C --
            it cools down slightly when the heavy glass tray is placed in it. This
            speeds up the etching dramatically.

            Remember, be safe, be consistant, and don't get discouraged if your
            first few efforts fail. Use your notes and make minor changes. Start
            small until you get the technique exactly right.

            Bruce
          • David Perry
            ... BTW, i m actually working on a tutorial for this technique, although the photos are horrid as i usually work in low light when making PCB s. Should be done
            Message 5 of 9 , Jun 17, 2001
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              > If you look for messages with the same subject around this time you'll
              > get the full picture. Also, David Perry discusses the MG Chemical system
              > (same one I use) at:
              >
              > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beam/message/6772

              BTW, i'm actually working on a tutorial for this technique, although the
              photos are horrid as i usually work in low light when making PCB's. Should
              be done in a week or so minus the photos for now.


              David
            • Scott Burns
              ... What diameter carbide bit would you recommend for PCBs with discrete components such as resistors and caps, plus 74 series ICs (or sockets for these ICs)?
              Message 6 of 9 , Jun 17, 2001
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                At 04:38 PM 6/16/01 -0400, you wrote:
                >Great kit for starters. I also would like to point out that the kit also
                >contains a small drill bit (1/16 in.) which is way too big. You'd be better
                >off buying a tiny carbide drill bit like those discussed recently on this
                >list.

                What diameter carbide bit would you recommend for PCBs with discrete
                components such as resistors and caps, plus 74 series ICs (or sockets for
                these ICs)? Would the same diameter be used for making thru-holes?
              • Jesse Willis
                ... I went to the hardware store and picked up a 1.04mm bit for super cheap. The holes it made were absolutely -perfect-. I wouldn t go too much smaller than
                Message 7 of 9 , Jun 18, 2001
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                  >What diameter carbide bit would you recommend for PCBs with discrete
                  >components such as resistors and caps, plus 74 series ICs (or sockets for
                  >these ICs)? Would the same diameter be used for making thru-holes?

                  I went to the hardware store and picked up a 1.04mm bit for super cheap. The
                  holes it made were absolutely -perfect-. I wouldn't go too much smaller than
                  that, though. If you aren't sure how large a particular bit is in mm, just
                  look for the Spanish translation of the description, because that is where it
                  will be written.

                  Jesse
                  osmodiar@...

                  Jesse Willis
                  President, Flambidextrous Productions
                  osmodiar@...
                  flambidextrous@...
                • Bruce Robinson
                  ... I use a #69 carbide bit (.0292 ) for my IC, resistor, and capacitor holes. The leads on these devices are typically in the .022 to .025 range. For larger
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jun 18, 2001
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                    Scott Burns wrote:
                    >
                    > What diameter carbide bit would you recommend for PCBs with
                    > discrete components such as resistors and caps, plus 74 series
                    > ICs (or sockets for these ICs)? Would the same diameter be
                    > used for making thru-holes?

                    I use a #69 carbide bit (.0292") for my IC, resistor, and capacitor
                    holes. The leads on these devices are typically in the .022" to .025"
                    range.

                    For larger leads, such as square leads on LEDs and some types of
                    connectors, I use a #59 carbide bit (.041"). The diagonal on dimension
                    on these devises is typically .035".

                    I drill my boards on a milling fixture, so I can place the holes within
                    a thousandth of an inch. That means I can get away with holes that are
                    only .004" to .006" bigger than the lead size. That makes soldering
                    easier and quicker. I also tends to hold the components in place when I
                    turn the board upside down to apply solder.

                    If you're going to freehand drill, especially with ICs, you may want to
                    use a #65 drill (.035") for the extra clearance.

                    All my PCB are short, carbide drills with 1/8" shanks. That makes them
                    easy to mount in and ordinary chuck (or dremel-style machine), and they
                    can be changed quickly if you need one or two slightly bigger holes. Buy
                    extra, especially if you're going to freehand drill.

                    For occaisonal jobs, you can buy individual number drills from most
                    industrial supply houses (they may have to order them in). These will be
                    High Speed Steel, rather than carbide, but they'll do several small
                    circuit boards before they wear out. I find they usually break before
                    they get too dull. These drills have straight shanks, so they probably
                    won't fit in an ordinary chuck. You'll need an adaptor, or a pin vise
                    (tiny chuck, fits in an ordinary chuck).

                    Bruce
                  • Adam
                    could someone that belongs to the alt-beam list go to this link and send me a copy of the message? http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alt-beam/message/8403 thanx,
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jul 29, 2003
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                      could someone that belongs to the alt-beam list go to this link and
                      send me a copy of the message?
                      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alt-beam/message/8403

                      thanx,
                      Adam

                      --- In beam@yahoogroups.com, Bruce Robinson <Bruce_Robinson@t...>
                      wrote:
                      > Jesse Willis wrote:
                      > >
                      > > ... What I did was swing by my local art store and pick up
                      > > an Eberhard Faber DESiGN Art Marker, Broad Nib 311 Colorless
                      > > Blender (only about 2 dollars). With this, you simply photocopy
                      > > the circuit you wish, and then take lay the photocopy face down
                      > > on the PCB. Run the marker over the -back- of the photocopy, and
                      > > the image transfers to the copper. Might be more trouble than
                      > > it is worth, though, unless you have a laser printer or copier
                      > > and are only making small circuits. (But boy can you make them
                      > > small!)
                      > > I'll be sure to check up on that photo-etching thing, though.
                      > > I wasn't aware that they sold anything like that. Thanks for
                      > > the heads up!
                      >
                      > There's more than a few threads on PCB photoetching in the
                      archives, and
                      > in the alt-BEAM archives as well. Here's some advice I offered:
                      >
                      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beam/message/10105
                      >
                      > If you look for messages with the same subject around this time
                      you'll
                      > get the full picture. Also, David Perry discusses the MG Chemical
                      system
                      > (same one I use) at:
                      >
                      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beam/message/6772
                      >
                      > Finally, a number of BEAMers have had success printing (laser
                      printer)
                      > onto plastic film (for overhead projectors) and then ironing the
                      image
                      > onto the circuit board. Jim Mullins also offered a suggestion for
                      > improving the quality of a printed image at:
                      >
                      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alt-beam/message/8403
                      >
                      > > ... When etching, do NOT let the PCB settle on the bottom of the
                      > > basin. Have it facing down, but floating at the top of the
                      etchant.
                      > > Otherwise, a vacuum seal will form and no etchant will get
                      through.
                      > > I learned this by experience. ...
                      >
                      > "Conventional wisdom" says, invert he board, or the exposed copper
                      will
                      > get covered up with the ferric precipitate that forms during the
                      > reaction. This effectively blocks the copper from the etchant and
                      stops
                      > the etching process.
                      >
                      > However, many professionals recommend that the etched side should
                      be
                      > face up, so you can monitor the etching process. If you gently
                      agitate
                      > the solution, or push your circuit board around with a small
                      plastic rod
                      > (e.g., a swizzle stick), this will flush off the precipitate. MG
                      > chemicals recommends using a foam brush to gently brush the surface
                      > clean (that's the way I do it).
                      >
                      > Finally, you get the best etching results if your ferric chloride
                      > solution is warm. This speeds up the etching process and avoids
                      > undercutting at the edges of traces. Ideal etching temperature is
                      50
                      > degrees (C) ... 120 F, but don't go above 57 C (135 F) or your
                      solution
                      > will start to fume (hydrochloric acid -- very corrosive). I have a
                      > shallow glass etching tray with a handles sticking out the end.
                      To heat
                      > the etchant, I suspend this tray in a container (Rubbermaid) of hot
                      > water, using a couple of flat sticks under the handles. I marked
                      the
                      > water container with a permanent marker to indicate the height of
                      the
                      > water before the tray is suspended in it. This lets me fill the
                      > container to exactly the right height, and not worry about spilling
                      > water when I place the etching tray in it. I use water heated to
                      55 C --
                      > it cools down slightly when the heavy glass tray is placed in it.
                      This
                      > speeds up the etching dramatically.
                      >
                      > Remember, be safe, be consistant, and don't get discouraged if your
                      > first few efforts fail. Use your notes and make minor changes.
                      Start
                      > small until you get the technique exactly right.
                      >
                      > Bruce
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