Author Topic: pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs  (Read 5069 times)

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Offline SnakeBite

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pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs
« on: July 28, 2012, 10:35:32 pm »
hello,

i want to start to make my own boards and i Can not decide between the two methods.
what do you think is cheaper way to make boards (i know ordering PCB from a professional manufacturer is better) ??

thanks
Ido

p.s. take under consideration the price of the matrials used in etching process and the tool that i need to buy for this process as well.
Ido Aricha , Israel.
 

Offline chrome

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Re: pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2012, 11:54:11 pm »
Depends on how many you are planning on making per year really, if you only make 1 every year then yeah order then but if you are making a lot then maybe investing in a etching/drilling setup.
 

Offline Chet T16

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Re: pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2012, 12:10:48 am »
Etching is not something I've done and there's far too much variables for me to manage to get good results.

If I was seriously needing to make pcbs often and quickly I think I would look into cnc machines as I see many other uses for them.
Chet
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Offline chrome

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Re: pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2012, 12:17:38 am »
Etching is not something I've done and there's far too much variables for me to manage to get good results.

If I was seriously needing to make pcbs often and quickly I think I would look into cnc machines as I see many other uses for them.

A cnc machine is not in the same price league as etching, also it can't really get as fine a result as etching.
 

Offline FenderBender

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Re: pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2012, 12:19:06 am »
I've never done etching. A year or two ago, I was going to get some fairly expensive etching equipment, but I held back.

To be honest, etching works well if you have the right setup, but if you really want a board that's going to be used out in the field, I think I would just get it made at a PCB house. Event he cheap ones will probably be better quality and more reliable than etched. Prices have gone down...

However, if you mess up a board you sent out to a PCB house, well then you just wasted a lot of money. Moral of the story: Don't mess up.
 

Offline RCMR

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Re: pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2012, 02:19:23 am »
I still etch most of my own boards -- even double-sided ones.

When you're prototyping and want to build the penultimate prototype, turn-around time can be important and I can take a small board from layout to testing inside a day if I etch it myself -- but if I have to wait for a fab-house to make them and ship them back to me it can take weeks.

Using the toner-resist method the process is very simple, the results are good, the costs  are low and the turn-around is uber-fast.  I would not however, etch my own boards for production runs -- just not economic when you weigh up that there are really no economies of scale involved.
 

Offline Gall

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Re: pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2012, 07:17:07 am »
It depends,

I etch my boards (both single- and double-sided) if I use large through-hole components, maybe some SMDs, no solder mask.

I order boards if I use multi-pin ICs and lots of tiny components. Solder mask is a must have here.
The difficult we do today; the impossible takes a little longer.
 

Offline SnakeBite

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Re: pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2012, 10:48:44 am »
Ido Aricha , Israel.
 

Online madires

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Re: pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2012, 11:40:20 am »
I think you got the most important bits and pieces sorted out. Add some etch resistent basins, solderable protection finish, protection gloves & glasses and an old shirt too :-) For heating up the etchant you could put it into a glass bottle and then heat it in a pot filled with water on the stove. If you are going to etch several dozens of PCBs a year you might consider to get a small etching machine (also easy to DIY). The etchant will last for quite some time and there are some recipes for "refreshing" it. Use fresh developer for each small batch of PCBs, e.g. pour a little bit of it into a basin. Ask you municipality for the correct way to dispose of the chemicals.
 

Offline StubbornGreek

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Re: pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2012, 06:05:43 pm »
You can also add some heat-activated (the laminate kind) solder resist. The greatest challenge you'll have (by far) is through-hole plating (if you plan on this).
"The reward of a thing well done is to have it done"
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Offline M. András

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Re: pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2012, 06:54:14 pm »
you can look at the bungard site for that and use their riveting tool. its nice but goddamn expensive. best way to do via at home if you have money for it, no nasty chemicals etc
 

Offline chrome

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Re: pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2012, 07:26:03 pm »
you can look at the bungard site for that and use their riveting tool. its nice but goddamn expensive. best way to do via at home if you have money for it, no nasty chemicals etc

A local site here sells basically only the punch for the rivets so you just use a hamer so it's pretty cheap that way and does the same thing.

http://smdshop.nl/index.php?cPath=47
 

Offline DavidJRobertson

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Re: pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2012, 07:55:58 pm »
With the low costs of  Chinese pooled PCB prototype manufacturers like itead studios and seeed studios there's almost no point in etching boards yourself (unless you need boards *now*).
 

Offline Jon Chandler

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Re: pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2012, 01:41:52 am »
Here's an article comparing pricing at iTead, Seeed and some other sources I've used.  I kept the pricing updated in the comments section.  Since iTead and Seeed are offering more size and quantity options, the pricing can be confusing but I think I have it sorted out.

PCB Fabrication Sources

One thing to note about shipping... the cheapest rate can take some time.  On a recent order to iTead, I was ordering several lots of boards and the DHL shipping option wasn't that much more than the cheap rate.  I had my boards in 10 days from the date I ordered.
 

Offline DavidJRobertson

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Re: pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2012, 02:01:08 am »
...
One thing to note about shipping... the cheapest rate can take some time.  On a recent order to iTead, I was ordering several lots of boards and the DHL shipping option wasn't that much more than the cheap rate.  I had my boards in 10 days from the date I ordered.

Yep, the shipping is quite slow for the cheapest option, but that's the one which I go for since I'm a skint teenager and DHL is about 2.5 times more expensive and UPS about 3.5 times more expensive than the cheapest one (to the UK).

Also China Post's tracking system is absolutely useless...

David.
 

Offline hlavac

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Re: pcb eatching OR ordering pcbs
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2012, 02:32:26 am »
Make your own :) Nothing beats having your board done in 30 minutes from when you finish the layout in Eagle... maybe even faster if you heat the ferric chloride properly.
Of course, given that you are content with just single/double layer boards with no plated holes/vias.

Even solder mask is pretty doable using the same UV light technique, I'm using .
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