Creating Custom printed PC Boards

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Mike
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Creating Custom printed PC Boards

Post by Mike » Thu Mar 06, 2003 4:45 am

How do you transfer a PC board design from a magazine to a copper board. I bought a kit from radioshack and it said to use carbon paper then go over the circuit with a pen. That doesn't work, though. Thanks for your help

ljbeng
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Re: Creating Custom printed PC Boards

Post by ljbeng » Thu Mar 06, 2003 6:17 am

If you can scan the picture and it is black and white, you can buy paper out of Digikey that uses a laserjet printer to print to this special paper, then you iron the image to the copper. It is called Toner Transfer System and is Digikey part number: 182-1004-ND. I have used it and it works very nice.

russlk
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Re: Creating Custom printed PC Boards

Post by russlk » Thu Mar 06, 2003 6:01 pm

For small or simple circuits, use prepasted wallpaper. Get smooth, lightweight paper, print the circuit on the paste side (don't forget to mirror it). Clamp the copper clad and printed circuit between two pieces of glass and put it in the oven at 350-370 degrees for 10 min. Let it cool and soak the wallpaper off in water. Xerox type copier or laser printer works equally well but ink jet will not work.

Dean Huster
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Re: Creating Custom printed PC Boards

Post by Dean Huster » Thu Mar 06, 2003 6:48 pm

There have been at least three brands of toner transfer systems out there and I prefer the Press 'n' Peel Blue. I use a LaserJet to print the image on it then a dry mount press to transfer the image from the film to the PCB. I have never had good luck using the film in a copier. For some reason, the copier toner "squishes" all over the place when you try to transfer it to the board. You can use a standard clothing iron to do the transfer, but that's a process that's very hard to control since time, temperature and pressure are all factors in the successful transfer of the image.<p>Dean
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

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Mike
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Re: Creating Custom printed PC Boards

Post by Mike » Fri Mar 07, 2003 4:29 am

Thanks All of you for your help, but you are suggesting methods that require a laser printer. I don't have a laser printer, though. Is there any way do do this with an inkjet?
Thanks!

russlk
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Re: Creating Custom printed PC Boards

Post by russlk » Fri Mar 07, 2003 10:11 am

The ink jet ink doesn't melt and is water soluable, so even if you could print directly onto the copper, it probably would wash off in the etch. Print your circuit with the ink jet, take it to a copy shop and have it copied onto the transfer medium. Have it copied as dark as possible, otherwise it may look like cheese cloth after etching.


Mike
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Re: Creating Custom printed PC Boards

Post by Mike » Tue Mar 11, 2003 4:29 am

If I were to design the PCB layout and mirror it on the computer, which I did, would it work if I used an inkjet printer and printed on t-shirt paper then transfer it to the board? Thank you.

L. Daniel Rosa
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Re: Creating Custom printed PC Boards

Post by L. Daniel Rosa » Tue Mar 11, 2003 8:12 am

I remember somebody mentioning using contact paper. Cover the board with it, then use an X-acto knife to cut the features, and peel off what you want etched away.

chessman
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Re: Creating Custom printed PC Boards

Post by chessman » Tue Mar 11, 2003 8:19 am

I remember the first and only PCB I made.....<p>Didn't want to pay for the transfers so I free-handed it with a sharpie :D <p>After a week or so it actually came out of the etchant and worked fine :roll:

grant fair
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Re: Creating Custom printed PC Boards

Post by grant fair » Tue Mar 11, 2003 9:43 pm

Here's a low tech method which I have used successfully for small, simple pcb's.<p>1) make a zerox copy of the pcb pattern (the way the copper side of the pcb should look).<p>2) scotch tape the paper onto the pcb<p>3) with a sharp awl, punch each hole in the PCB art - thus leaving a physical mark on the pcb.<p>4) using an acid resist pen, draw the circuit traces. <p>The awl marks serve as a guide to positioning; you can locate two marks with a straight trace between and just "join the dots". The marks also help with drilling since they give the drill bit a location to seat into, instead of skating.<p>I know of two kinds of pens which have been used successfully to make the resist traces, the Sanford "Sharpie" (black), and the Staedtler Lumocolor 317 (red). I have found the Lumocolor to work more reliably, but your mileage may vary. Both are available in business supply stores.<p>For more complex boards, there are "rub on" pcb patterns available; I have seen them in Radio Shack. This would be patterns for things like a 16 pin dip. Art stores sell a Scotch product which is a black tape (for graphics) which comes in different widths; I used 1/8" and 1/4 inch. You can use it for traces between pads. You have to burnish the tape (rub it thoroughly) to get a good seal to the copper. I used the plastic cap on a cheap ball point pen for this. This method is more labor intensive, but you alway get solid traces with it.<p>After either method, etch the board and clean it. I like SOS pads to get the resist ink off. I have seen many warnings against the use of steel wool but I have never had a problem with the SOS.<p>Good luck!<p>Grant
Grant

ljbeng
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Re: Creating Custom printed PC Boards

Post by ljbeng » Thu Mar 13, 2003 12:22 pm

ORRRR... <p>You can always use www.expresspcb.com<p>That $62 is a lot of times far cheaper than all the driving to the store and time piddling in the basement. Do the board on your pc, click order via internet, go stand by your front door and wait for the overnight delivery man!

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Bob Scott
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Re: Creating Custom printed PC Boards

Post by Bob Scott » Thu Mar 13, 2003 1:43 pm

OORR,<p>http://www.pcbexpress.com<p>Similar service, different prices.<p>Bob :cool:
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Ron Hayes
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Re: Creating Custom printed PC Boards

Post by Ron Hayes » Thu Mar 13, 2003 3:24 pm

Here is how I make mine (I use a laser printer but you can do this with an injet as well just different transparencies) make your PCB on the computer, print it on the transparency, using photosensitive copper clad board you place the transparency on top of the board (in very low light and ink side down) place a piece of glass over top, turn on a flourescent lamp about 1-2 inches over top of the board for 5 minutes, place your board in the developer to remove all resist except for what light didn't hit then etch, you can actully buy kits that give you everything you need to get going, I think I paid $30 Cdn for the kit, it came with 2-3 boards developer,etchant gloves,plastic container and foam brushes.
Your board come out very profesional looking and you can easily get those traces between the IC pins without any trouble.<p>Ron

russlk
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Re: Creating Custom printed PC Boards

Post by russlk » Thu Mar 13, 2003 4:30 pm

I invested in the positive resist PC boards and the special flourescent lamp, but had no success. The first one, all the resist washed off & the second, none of the resist would come off. Bummer!

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