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Old 03-13-2011, 01:36 AM   #21
CodeMonk
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Here is a little addition.
Sometimes, especially when you first start doing board etching, the toner material doesn't stick to the PCB in some locations.
Here is a "photoshopped" example of what I mean:


See how some of the trace is not there. Two choices here. Either take some Acetone, remove the toner and start over.
Another option is to simply use a Sharpie to cover the little trace section that is missing the toner.
And yes, that really works.
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:25 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by CodeMonk
I'd like to find out about through hole plating as some circuits I have designed require double-sided boards.


When creating double sided boards, doing vias is not that difficult. If your sides are aligned, all the more better.

On each side of the board, create a pad for the via.
On side A, solder a solid core wire to the pad for the via.
Feed the solid core wire through a hole to side B.
Solder to the pad on side B.
Trim the solid core wire as necessary.

I have a set of tiny ass drill bits that CodeMonk mentions in the first post. I use them with a dremel (mine is actually a Crastsman) in a rotary tool drill press stand. It actually works quite well.

+1 for Sharpie.
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:56 AM   #23
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Thats what I currently do for double-sided boards. Works well enough for my needs.
Just curious about doing actually plating in the hole. I have seen a few tutorials around about doing DIY electroplating.

And below is basically how I do double-sided boards:





I use the holes that are on the edges of the board to line things up.
What I do is adhere Side A to the board, drill through the outer 4 holes, and also punch holes in the outer 4 holes in the photo paper that is side B. Then I put some toothpicks through the board and lower the side B paper over the toothpicks.

You can get away with using only 2 holes to line up (I usually just use 3 of the 4 holes). Just use 2 holes that are across from each other diagonally. As soon as the paper starts to adhere to the board, I remove the toothpicks and finish the ironing process.

Then its ready for etching.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:09 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by forsaknazrael
I'd like to try ammonium sulfate, I hear it works really well, but it's much more expensive.

Is that the same as ammonium persulfate? I got some of that for about $20, a 500ml bottle of crystals that you dissolve in hot water. I used them to etch a Dr Boogie PCB, and I used about 5 teaspoons of it (I made 2 because I messed the first up!) so it doesn't really cost that much. Judging by how much I used, the $20 bottle would easily do 20 small-meduim sized boards.

Other than that, I used the same procedures, although the ammonium persulfate is fairly slow (which is a good thing IMO) because when the water cools the reaction is slowed down, so you need to keep it warm.
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:08 AM   #25
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I dunno, the big jar at my local shop was pricey.
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:42 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by forsaknazrael
Pretty good, but it's worth mentioning that it can be difficult to get a good ratio of Muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide. An imbalance can easily be too aggressive of an etch on the copper clad material.
EDIT: I get much better results with sodium persulfate or ferric chloride.

Additionally, I would recommend advising people to use a toothpick to make sure the holes in the etch are cleaned out, to ensure that the copper there gets eaten. It makes for an easier time drilling, IMO.
Also, I get my tiny bits at Drill Bit City.

I do like your air pump idea, though. :thumbsup:



Just went to Drill Bit City. Very cool. Bookmarked
I've been getting most of my bits at Harbor Freight.
Although I did recently get 20 or so carbide bits in various sizes, a few were in the range needed for PCBs. All for free.
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Old 03-13-2011, 08:20 AM   #27
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Great tutorial. I don't know whether you said anything about it yet but it's worth mentioning about sealing the board afterwards. Many of my old boards have the copper corroded and gone black because i didn't think to seal the board at the time.

Also i have to give the peroxide method a try, is it any more reliable than the other methods? The only two i've experimented with are ferric chloride and ammonium persulphate. The premixed bottles of ferric chloride solution always work beautifully for me but i've always had problems with AP.
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Old 03-13-2011, 09:00 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by matt154
Great tutorial. I don't know whether you said anything about it yet but it's worth mentioning about sealing the board afterwards. Many of my old boards have the copper corroded and gone black because i didn't think to seal the board at the time.

Also i have to give the peroxide method a try, is it any more reliable than the other methods? The only two i've experimented with are ferric chloride and ammonium persulphate. The premixed bottles of ferric chloride solution always work beautifully for me but i've always had problems with AP.



Very good point. Its generally called "Conformal Coating". I've used it many times in the past. When I worked at NASA, we would Conformal Coat the board then put it in a vacuum chamber.
Another option is chemical plating (or Electroless plating).
I've used this stuff: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/sho...tnumber=340-188
with good results.

The peroxide method works as well as ferric chloride IMO. At least it works well for me.
I like the peroxide method better because the solution is clearer than ferric chloride which makes it easier to monitor the progress of the etching.


And thanks
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Old 03-13-2011, 09:03 AM   #29
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Thanks.
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:02 PM   #30
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What's the process like for the chemical plating? It seems super cool, would make boards look pretty pro.
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:42 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by forsaknazrael
What's the process like for the chemical plating? It seems super cool, would make boards look pretty pro.


We have a way that we do all of the plating and through hole plating at the place I work. I forgot the chemicals that we used since we've started ordering a lot of the solutions premade so we don't have to deal with all of the mixing and stuff in house. We do have a spec sheet written down for it so if I can find it at work sometime I'll give an idea of what we do.

http://www.thinktink.com/stack/volu...VI/copplate.htm
This site should give some ideas of how to plate through holes, and it will also talk about plating the boards in general. I've used this idea to increase the thickness of copper on boards before.
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:02 PM   #32
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The plating chemicals I linked to comes with instructions on how to use.

But its something like : heat distilled water (i forget how much), to XXX Fahrenheit, add crystals (or powder), stir. Let cook for 20 minutes.
Let cool, then heat to XXX Fahrenheit (A different temp than before), and add your copper.
Wait 15 minutes or so. Wash copper with ammonia. Done. More or less.


Edit:
Ok, more detailed (found application instructions). Dunno why I'm doing this.
"Place the solution in a Pyrex tray and heat to between 120 and 140 F. Immerse the board for between 10 and 30 minutes. Agitate at 5 minute intervals. A bright tin plate should result".

And like anything else, it takes a little practice, on both temperature and timing details.
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:46 PM   #33
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Ok, this has been bugging me for a few days.
When you reach this point below...


Check CAREFULLY the circuit. Look VERY CAREFULLY for any "toner bridges" (think like solder bridges). and remove any circuit paths that should not be connected.
An exacto blade or even a toothpick will work.
When first starting out, this sort of problem will likely be common. I've been doing this for years and I still get them. The reason why is the amount of pressure you use when transferring the toner to the copper.

And also, as someone mentioned earlier, make sure that the holes where you will be mounting components, are free of toner. While its not like its the end of the world if there is toner covering the component holes, the copper free holes make for a nice little guide for the drill bit.
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:05 AM   #34
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I made a tutorial just like this, except I used LED's instead of the iron on method.



Ohhhh pretty LEDs, awwwwww.


Check out this totally awesome Analog VGA to LVDS converter I built:


Here's the tutorial if anyone is interested:

http://www.instructables.com/id/How...d-PCB-using-th/

Last edited by farmosh203 : 03-18-2011 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:12 AM   #35
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Awesome! UV LEDs, great idea.

Also, CodeMonk, you need to make clips of that Bronx Cheer.
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:28 AM   #36
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This clip is not done by me
But look here:
http://www.jiggawoo.eclipse.co.uk/g...s/snippets.html
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Old 03-18-2011, 07:43 AM   #37
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This thread is awesome. Great job.
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:11 PM   #38
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Now lets plate that PCB

For those of you that have actually made your own PCB's, this is another step I have been doing lately (About a year or so).
Plating the PCB.
Exposed copper can get corroded and rather nasty after time. Especially if you live on/near an ocean/coast (or other body of salt water)

I have tried several methods of protecting/plating the copper and this method seems to be the easiest, lowest cost, most durable, and quickest.
Plating also makes it much easier to solder as the plated material accepts solder far better than bare copper.
It only takes a few minutes. Other methods I have tried can take up to an hour, which includes preparation of the solution.
I use a product called "Liquid Tin". Its available from MG Chemicals


This is what I did this morning.
.
Use a small NON-METAL container, just large enough to hold your PCB.
Place your PCB in the container and pour in just enough of the Liquid Tin to completely cover the PCB.

LIQUID TIN:


CONTAINER:


DURING TIN (After about 10 seconds):


AFTER TIN:


HALF TIN (I just tinned part of the board (Store bought from RadioShack) so you can see the difference):


It take less than 5 minutes for the PCB to become fully plated. Usually just 2 or 3 minutes.
I have left a PCB in the solution for up to half an hour with no apparent detrimental effects to the board.

After the tinning process, just use liquid soap and warm water, to clean things up.
Then solder away.

Afterwards, I pour the used liquid into another NON-METAL (No metal lids either) container. It is still good and can be used later.
Some people just pour it back into the original container.
While I have no experience with just pouring it back into the original container, I have heard that it may weaken the solution.
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:49 AM   #39
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Another little update (Yeah, its been awhile).
Since I have a cheap ass barely working laser printer (HP LaserJet 4Plus) that has seen better days getting thin photo paper is sometimes a challenge.
I found that using glossy presentation paper works just as well and sometimes better than photo paper.
The other plus side is that it costs much less.
Around $20 - $30 for 100 sheets of photo paper versus around $15 for 250 sheets of glossy Presentation paper.
That's about 20 cents a sheet for photo paper versus 6 cents a sheet for the glossy presentation paper.

I will update this thread as I learn more tricks over time.
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Old 01-23-2014, 03:55 PM   #40
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if only Id found this thread 3 months ago. Id struggled to rage over my Ultiboard program being too complicated to draw pcb designs, and gave up. ended up drawing my pcb with a sharpie xD. that DIYLC software you recommend here is easy to use and wouldve saved me a few headaches.

thanks for this.
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