Today we going to discuss on how to make your own printed circuit board (PCB). Making a home-made PCB is easy with toner transfer method. But first, let us understand more what is a PCB. A PCB is used to mechanically support and electrically connect electronic components using conductive pathways.

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Example of PCB

When do you need to make a PCB? Sometimes after we tried out the circuits for quite some times on a bread board, we might want to make it permanent without all those jumper wires. We may choose to solder it on a strip board, but making it on a PCB makes it cooler and more compact.

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Ferric Chloride acid (Corrosive, handle with care)
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Thinner
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PCB board

Step by step image guide:

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1. Cut the PCB board according to the size of your layout.
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2. Clean the copper surface with sand paper to remove oxidised layer.
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3. Wash the PCB board after cleaning the surface.
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4. Print the layout on a magazine paper. For bottom layer, you don’t need to mirror your layout. However, for top layer, you need to mirror it.
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5. Attach masking tape on the side of the magazine paper.
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6. Tape the magazine paper with the PCB.
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7. Iron the paper evenly. This steps is important as if the layout is not transferred to the PCB completely. You have to either redo or correct it with marker pen.
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8. Immerse the PCB board into water for some time. Immerse it completely to ease your job on next step.
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9. Remove the magazine paper. Now the layout has been transferred to the PCB.
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10. Immerse the PCB into Ferric Chloride Acid in a plastic or glass container. Shaking the solution will speed up this process of etching.
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11. Remove the PCB from acid and rinse with water. Notice that the copper on the board has been etched off.
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12. Apply some thinner on a piece of cloth and clean the surface of PCB. Now the copper trace is nice and shiny.
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13. Use a mini drill to drill all the holes on the board.
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14. Solder all the components and your board is done.

Note:

– Use glove during the etching process as Ferric Chloride acid is corrosive.

– After remove the magazine paper from the board, check for the traces if there is any broken trace. You can fix it by completing the line with a marker pen.

– After clean your board with thinner, you might need to check again on your board before soldering all the parts. Check for broken traces and shorted traces.

– You can add silk screen at the top of your PCB by the same process as how you transfer your trace. Stop the step after remove the magazine paper. Do not etch your board again, your traces will be etch off completely.

– Do not simply dispose your acid. They are corrosive and react with metal. Keep it as they can still be used for your next project.

– Practice makes perfect. Try out some simple circuits and practice to make the PCB.

So now you can make your own PCB at home easily. Good luck and enjoy. 😀

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