- Published: Sunday, 25 April 2021 09:58
Ever get tired of waiting a few weeks for a simple circuit? Well, there are ways to get a PCB sooner, like etching your own that can be used in a couple of hours. You can use perf boards, but I find it an annoying and tedious. So, let's see if we can make some PCBs.
There are several ways to get respectable PCBs. You can use the printer toner method, the photo resist, or use a CNC that cuts out copper that's not needed. The first needs an expensive toner printer to transfer the design to the PCB. And the last uses a CNC mill which can be up there in price.
In my research, a CNC mill can make the best PCB if you need fine pitched SMD pads. If you have the money, this would be the way I would go. You could find a cheap mill on that jungle website and modify it to get descent PCBs. Someone would need extensive experience to modify a mill and a little more coin to lower the tolerances.
This write up will hopefully educate most people having so many issues and the amount of time it takes to get a decent PCB that you could actually use (I'm one of them). As of the date of writing this, I've been using inkjet printers to create a mask on a positive photoresist PCB. Then curing with UV lights and dumping it in a developer bath. Now the first issue I encountered was the mask letting UV light through, thus when I put it in the developer solution, it would remove the layer that would block the etching solution. I've tried different printers, papers, transparencies, wax paper, and still can not get a decent result.
At the moment I am using transparencies and an inkjet printer to create the mask. The issue I am having is the UV light is going through the black ink. I have my settings to use as much ink as possible but it's still around 40% see thru.
I did experiement doing multiple passes through the printer and I was surprised how well the ink lined up. When I get my exposure box finished (upgrading), I'll see if multiple passes will yield better results.