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DIY PCB The Easy Way

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  • DIY PCB The Easy Way

    There are many methods to DIY PCBs on the web and on youtube, but I came with a quickie way because I didn't want to learn another computer program. I needed to do a better job on the Texas Instruments Soft Start module I have been using for my amplifier builds, so here it goes, step by step.

    Supplies needed: perforated board, single sided copper clad PCB, small hacksaw to cut board to desired side, hot iron, acetone, fine steel wool, glossy photographic paper.

    1. Layout components on perforated board (old board for illustration purposes).

    2. Remove components and drill slightly larger holes on perforated board.

    3. Use a sharp pencil and mark the holes on a piece of paper.

    4. Start drawing the traces to connect the components according to the schematic.
    Attached Files
    Some people are addicted to Vicodin. I'm addicted to speaker building.

    The Chorales - Usher 8945A/Vifa XT25TG Build
    ESP Project 101 Lateral MOSFET Amplifier
    LM4780 Parallel Chipamp
    Sonata Soundbar Project
    The Renditions - Active/Passive Towers

  • #2
    Re: DIY PCB The Easy Way

    5. Scan the traces into a Paint program or Photoshop, if available. Use the "Invert" function to turn the black dots white, and use the "Fill" function to paint the traces black.

    6. Print the final schematic traces on glossy photographic paper, the same paper used to print photos from digital cameras.
    Attached Files
    Some people are addicted to Vicodin. I'm addicted to speaker building.

    The Chorales - Usher 8945A/Vifa XT25TG Build
    ESP Project 101 Lateral MOSFET Amplifier
    LM4780 Parallel Chipamp
    Sonata Soundbar Project
    The Renditions - Active/Passive Towers

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: DIY PCB The Easy Way

      7. Cut a piece of single sided copper clad PCB to the desired size. Use the fine steel wool to remove any oxidation and bring the copper to a nice shine. Use acetone on a paper towel or cloth to clean all oil residues from the copper.

      8. Turn off the steam on the iron, and heat it to the maximum level.

      9. Apply the iron on the copper plate and heat it for a full 60 seconds.

      10. While the copper plate is still hot, apply the photographic paper with the black traces on the plate. Apply the iron with good pressure on the photographic paper for another 60 seconds.

      11. Let cool completely.
      Attached Files
      Some people are addicted to Vicodin. I'm addicted to speaker building.

      The Chorales - Usher 8945A/Vifa XT25TG Build
      ESP Project 101 Lateral MOSFET Amplifier
      LM4780 Parallel Chipamp
      Sonata Soundbar Project
      The Renditions - Active/Passive Towers

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: DIY PCB The Easy Way

        12. Once cool, slowly peel off the photographic paper from the copper plate.

        13. Soak the whole PCB in hot water for 20 minutes, then use a scrub sponge to remove all remaining traces of paper. Do not scrub too hard, or you risk removing the black traces as well.

        13. Use a permanent marker to retouch black areas that did not come off the photographic paper properly. You should end up with something like the pic below.
        Attached Files
        Some people are addicted to Vicodin. I'm addicted to speaker building.

        The Chorales - Usher 8945A/Vifa XT25TG Build
        ESP Project 101 Lateral MOSFET Amplifier
        LM4780 Parallel Chipamp
        Sonata Soundbar Project
        The Renditions - Active/Passive Towers

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: DIY PCB The Easy Way

          14. Pour the Ferric Chloride etching solution in a plastic container with lid, and warm the solution in a microwave for 20 seconds.

          15. Completely immerse the PCB in the etching solution, gently agitate for 15-20 minutes, and check to ensure that the etching action is complete.

          16. Thoroughly rinse using running water.

          17. Dry PCB, then gentle rub with steel wool to bring copper trace to a shine.

          16. The final product should like like the pic below.
          Attached Files
          Last edited by hongrn; 10-18-2015, 10:48 AM.
          Some people are addicted to Vicodin. I'm addicted to speaker building.

          The Chorales - Usher 8945A/Vifa XT25TG Build
          ESP Project 101 Lateral MOSFET Amplifier
          LM4780 Parallel Chipamp
          Sonata Soundbar Project
          The Renditions - Active/Passive Towers

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: DIY PCB The Easy Way

            17. Drill holes, solder components, and attach standoffs. Now you can have a professional looking PCB for small electronic projects, or even for small crossover boards.
            Attached Files
            Some people are addicted to Vicodin. I'm addicted to speaker building.

            The Chorales - Usher 8945A/Vifa XT25TG Build
            ESP Project 101 Lateral MOSFET Amplifier
            LM4780 Parallel Chipamp
            Sonata Soundbar Project
            The Renditions - Active/Passive Towers

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: DIY PCB The Easy Way

              ...and it looks a heck of a lot better than this previous job!
              Attached Files
              Some people are addicted to Vicodin. I'm addicted to speaker building.

              The Chorales - Usher 8945A/Vifa XT25TG Build
              ESP Project 101 Lateral MOSFET Amplifier
              LM4780 Parallel Chipamp
              Sonata Soundbar Project
              The Renditions - Active/Passive Towers

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: DIY PCB The Easy Way

                You should post this to Instructables. It's a good tutorial.
                Technology in the service of art, for the life of the music.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: DIY PCB The Easy Way

                  Really great tutorial, Hong! And very professional looking.
                  -Kerry

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: DIY PCB The Easy Way

                    If I may make a suggestion to the process. Instead of marking the holes and drawing the traces on a piece of paper, 3) take the PCB board and cover the copper side with a layer of masking tape. 4) Mark the holes on the draw out the traces on the masking tape side. 5) With an X-acto knife or razor blade cut and removed the tape so the traces are exposed. 5) Spray the PCB with black lacquer spray paint (like Krylon). 6) remove the remaining masking tape exposing the unpainted copper. 7) Etch the PCB. 8) Wipe down the PCB with a rag soaked in lacquer thinned to remove the paint from the traces.
                    John k.... Music and Design NaO dsp Dipole Loudspeakers.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: DIY PCB The Easy Way

                      I've fab'd a couple of DIY PCB's in the past using the trace and pad tape Radio Shack used to sell. That was a pain and anywhere the tape overlapped you had the potential for etching agent bleed through. Your idea and John's suggestion look like a much better way to go.
                      Craig

                      The lowest possible F3 box alignment is not always the best alignment.

                      Designing and building speaker projects are like playing with adult Lego Blocks for me.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: DIY PCB The Easy Way

                        I have a small desktop CNC router and have often though of making boards where I'd leave almost all the copper, I'd just remove enough copper (the width of a bit) to separate the traces, does that make sense?

                        The problem of course is that giant planes of copper can be difficult to solder but maybe I could make solder pad islands.

                        If anyone is interested in experimenting with this, let me know.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: DIY PCB The Easy Way

                          Originally posted by hongrn View Post
                          There are many methods to DIY PCBs on the web and on youtube...
                          There was a nice article about 35 years ago that described a very easy method where you use shellac in a Rapidograph as etch resist. I guess you can still buy drafting pens, but it turns out paint pens work just as well, and they are easy to find at your local craft store. Those permanent markers aren't very effective as etchant resist, but the paint pens are excellent. I've made many boards using this method, and I still think it's the easiest way to make quick boards at home. The article is here: https://archive.org/stream/radio_ele...e/n55/mode/2up . It's from their famous author series :D.
                          Free Passive Speaker Designer Lite (PSD-Lite) -- http://www.audiodevelopers.com/Softw...Lite/setup.exe

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: DIY PCB The Easy Way

                            Just curious, what model is that CNC router?

                            Can it hold more than one bit?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: DIY PCB The Easy Way

                              Originally posted by neildavis View Post
                              There was a nice article about 35 years ago (years before the Internet--back when we read paper magazines) that described a very easy method where you use shellac in a Rapidograph as etch resist. I guess you can still buy drafting pens, but it turns out paint pens work just as well, and they are easy to find at your local craft store. Those permanent markers aren't very effective as etchant resist, but the paint pens are excellent. I've made many boards using this method, and I still think it's the easiest way to make quick boards at home. The article is here: https://archive.org/stream/radio_ele...e/n55/mode/2up . It's from their famous author series :D.
                              Do you mean something like the Parma paint pens? They're nice having two size tips,
                              note that the price is for 6 pens:
                              http://parmapse.shptron.com/p/parma-...markers-6-pack

                              What brand do you use?

                              Just a note that Hong's method here is a variation on the Toner Transfer method
                              and if you google it you'll find many tips on the type of paper to use, which printers
                              work best, etc.:
                              http://www.instructables.com/id/Chea...or-PCB-Making/

                              Comment

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