I’m pretty sure there are lots of articles online which provides step-by-step solution on hand wash PCB. Nevertheless, it does not stop me from making the effort to write another similar article. However, this article is mainly aimed for those who are novice in this area. So, let’s get our engines heated up~~!!
First and foremost, the materials.
1. PCB board
2. Laser Printer connected to Computer
3. Glossy Photo Paper
4. Sand Paper (grit size 800 and above)
5. Ferric Chloride (FeCl3) (liquid or solid)
7. Empty Container and unused toothbrush
9. Hand drill
11. Cellophane Tape
12. Marker Pen (Fine Tip)
14. Watercolour Brush
15. Pen Knife
After getting these materials ready, we’re ready to RUN~~
Step 1: Transferring the circuit layout from PC to PCB
Print out the circuit layout (mirror it if you want it to be printed on top layer).
Cut the PCB board in accordance to the circuit layout.
Use sand paper to remove any unwanted material on the PCB. Wash away the dirts and dry the board with a dry rag.
When these things are ready, carefully align the glossy paper to the PCB board (use cellophane tape to ensure it’s aligned) and then iron the paper to the board. Please be extra cautious while ironing the layout to the board. Make sure the heat is evenly spread, use the tip of the iron for better result. Next, you shall be able to successfully transfer the layout onto your board as shown in the picture below:
Next, check on all the tracks, make sure that they are connected as they should with no breaks in between. If there are any breakage, fill it with Marker Pen.
Step 2: Etching
When your board is ready, the next step is to remove the unwanted coppers. This is the part where every safety precaution must be taken because we’ll be dealing with chemical, highly erosive chemical. To be on the safe side, get yourself equipped with safety glasses and gloves.
Back to our topic, etching, first, mix the acid (FeCl3) with water. The amount of acid which are to be mixed is in accordance to the size of your board. As for my board(6mm x 5mm), I’ve only used one tablespoon of acid. Next, dilute it in water. (Caution: Gasses and smokes will be produced as a byproduct of this reaction)
Next, put the PCB, printed with circuit into the container and shake it~~ Try your best to not have direct contact with the acid. Bring the container as far as possible from yourself.
Your board can be considered done when all the unwanted coppers are removed. You can pick it up with the tweezers from time to time to check with the etching process.
Please take note: DO NOT dispose the acid into drain or toilet bowl. If you are a student, I would suggest you to keep the acid in a glass bottle and give it to PCB lab in your campus. Else, you’ll have to send it to the specialized company to handle it.
The board can be considered fully etched when it is like this:
Next, clean the board with thinner and watercolour brush.
Step 3: Drilling the board
The final step in fabricating a PCB is to drill the holes for through-hole components as well as via’s (if it’s a double layer board). Basically, drilling is not that hard. No proper training is required, just make sure that you drill in the right hole, right angle and right timing. To be honest, since this is my first time drilling, i basically screwed up my board. But then again, practice makes perfect
So, here is a view of the final board, with all the components soldered on it…
I ain’t sure if it’s working or not, but then again, at least i’ve fabricated my very own PCB board~~!! To anyone out there who’s keen on making their own PCB board, no harm trying it. After all, you’ll never know what’s in store for you… for me, it has been a wonderful experience 🙂 Good Luck~~!!