Author Topic: PCB Fabrication  (Read 18157 times)

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Offline septer012

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PCB Fabrication
« on: October 29, 2009, 06:45:17 am »
What software package do you use? and who do you use to make your boards?


I use EagleCAD v5.0 software (http://cadsoft.de/)

( I have Altium Designer but don't know how to use it)

And I use http://www.advancedcircuits.com/ to make my boards.
Daniel
 

GeekGirl

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2009, 07:08:50 am »
I use Altium Designer S09 (I have used every version from EasyTrax up)

I use a company in China to manufacture my PCB's (do not know who due to it all being handled by a customer, I just send the gerbers and back comes a stack of boards) If I am in a hurry or it is a private job then I used to use someone in Au (eg Jemal / PCT / Eastcoast) but these days most of my private job boards I get my customer to get done, it is cheaper.

I used to spin proto's at home, but I have stopped as it is easier just ot send them out now (plus they can do things I could not at home eg vias closer track and gap)
 

Offline dexters_lab

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2009, 08:36:43 am »
use eagle for design

as for proto i just farm it out to some place in china... you can often find them touting their services on ebay, so far i've had good service from a couple of places both with 1 or 2 proto boards to having a few 100 run off and shipped to the uk.

Offline charliex

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2009, 02:08:04 pm »
We use Protel/Altium as the work tool, but i prefer using eagle for smaller boards, i like the command line feature.

Mill my own prototype PCB's at home, all the commercial stuff is done in china.

 

bmwm3edward

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2009, 02:04:25 am »
How do you Mil your own prototype PCB's at home?  That sounds like fun.  What is needed?

What are the costs to get software for a home operation?  Are there any free/open source/decent programs out there?
 

Offline charliex

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2009, 02:22:37 am »
There are literally loads of free or cheap software programs to do it, cnczone.com has a good section on it. The biggest problem i think is that there are just too many choices, its a bit like open source in that it gets really fragmented coz everyone does it slightly different. Mach seems the popular choice, coppercam is useful too, altiums gerber viewer is great for checking gerbers too.

Depending on what you want to do, there are a lot of options, you can do a complete home reasonably cheaply, then it steps up fast, to the $3,000-$5,000 for a good machine, then the simpler dedicated commerical machines are about $8K -$14K, after that with the tool changers and stuff you're at $20K.

I went a bit nuts (ok a lot nuts) due to a monopoly style 'banking error in your favour' card and went with a mid range machine. I looked at the t-tech's and accuratecnc's and went with the later.

It cut this http://www.goth.am/A360/A360_Test1.png http://www.goth.am/A360/A360_Test2.png

I've yet to cut anything that detailed (the company cut it as a demo for me), i've done a few double sided boards with via's, drills and cutouts on it, it'll do 8mil traces no problem.

Vias i'm playing around with, but LPKF has an interesting conductive epoxy that looks like it'll handle what i need, the older style tube and pin way of doing vias is impossible to get hold of these days,or at least i've yet to find anything still made, most people are just sending out to places like batchpcb/expresspsb, but i like that i can design something in the morning and use it in the afternoon, plus its just pure geek out and i've always hankered after one, after Joe Grand bought his , that was it for me. A company i did some work for had forgotten a payment owed to me for many months, and so had i, so easy come, easy go! :)

Its amazing what some people cut on the machines they build at home, you can get some really good results, just have to pick the right spindle/router setup, the wolfgangs seem popular.
 

bmwm3edward

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2009, 10:51:18 pm »
I've been scanning the web for home based PCB making... Very interesting.

Are these home based processes adequate for the higher density surface mount contacts like SOIC and SSOP?
 

Offline Dago

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2009, 04:38:39 pm »
I've been scanning the web for home based PCB making... Very interesting.

Are these home based processes adequate for the higher density surface mount contacts like SOIC and SSOP?

You can easily make PCBs at home with ICs that have very high pin densities. For example heres a PCB of mine with a µMAX package IC (0,65mm lead pitch):



...And it was exposed with a 11W regular fluorescent office light and etched in a tupperware container ;) For reference the whole PCB is around 12x12mm or so.
Come and check my projects at http://www.dgkelectronics.com ! I also tweet as https://twitter.com/DGKelectronics
 

Offline Mastro Gippo

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2009, 09:26:26 am »
I usually make PCBs in Eagle, because i'ts easier to share designs with the community.
To make PCBs at home, I fell in love with the laser printer method, easy, precise, cheap, and extremely reliable, far easier to master than the UV lamps method. You can print on magazine pages instead of expensive glossy paper. I found out that Maxim IC's newsletter is shipped with the best paper for this purpose.
First hit on google: http://nospecifictopic.blogspot.com/2005/06/how-to-make-pcbs.html
A lot of tutorials have been written, just google "laser printer pcb".  ;)
 

Offline charliex

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2009, 05:16:04 pm »
soic/t/s/psops no problem, via's can be troublesome, but you can plan around them most of the time.
 

bmwm3edward

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2009, 10:22:10 pm »
So there are many methods it seems -- is milling different than etching?
 

Offline Dago

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2009, 08:17:31 am »
So there are many methods it seems -- is milling different than etching?

Yes it is... When etching you just put the PCB that has been exposed and developed to a chemical solution usually consisting of water + ferric chloride or sodium persulfate (my favorite). When milling you mill the PCB with a CNC mill like this:

Come and check my projects at http://www.dgkelectronics.com ! I also tweet as https://twitter.com/DGKelectronics
 

Offline charliex

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2009, 07:23:24 pm »
yep they basically both do the same thing, cut or etch away the excess copper and leave the design behind, each has its pros and cons. Etching is generally the best way to go as a hobbiest ( outside of sending it to a pcb shop )

nice simple example of an etch process
http://nospecifictopic.blogspot.com/2005/06/how-to-make-pcbs.html
 

Offline Mastro Gippo

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Offline charliex

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2009, 05:05:43 pm »
ooops sorry didn't see you post that one:) I just thought it looked nice and simple, i guess you did too!

here's my  pcb machine cutting a ninja badge from defcon,

https://www.youtube.com/user/charliewallacex#p/a/u/2/eRn6Yr-bkyA
 

Offline slburris

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2009, 05:46:51 am »
I used Eagle for design

pcbfabexpress.com and pcbex.com for boards

For itsy bitsy boards and one offs I use batchpcb.com

Scott
 

Offline Simon

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2009, 06:34:32 pm »
wow so you actually mill the copper away rather than etch ? I like that pretty foll proof and no nasty chemicals. How much is that machinery and can most pcb software output the programs for it ?
 

Offline Dago

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2009, 08:07:24 pm »
wow so you actually mill the copper away rather than etch ? I like that pretty foll proof and no nasty chemicals. How much is that machinery and can most pcb software output the programs for it ?

A CNC mill will most likely set you back for 2000-3000 dollars at the cheapest (though the cheapest kit I've seen with a plywood structure was around 500$) and almost all PCB programs can create routing for CNC mills, or can output some other data format that can be converted to G-code for the mill.
Come and check my projects at http://www.dgkelectronics.com ! I also tweet as https://twitter.com/DGKelectronics
 

Offline flolic

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2009, 10:40:09 pm »
I use Eagle for design and make my boards at home by standard photo etching process. I prefer that process over others because you can make very high quality boards with fine details.
Few examples of my last project:





 

Offline charliex

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2009, 11:02:19 pm »
Are you using the rivet style via's, its a little hard to tell from the pics, if so where'd you get them ?

here's one side of a pcb milled on my machine.
edit: whoops I forgot i posted that earlier in the thread! :)
« Last Edit: November 27, 2009, 11:13:57 pm by charliex »
 

Offline flolic

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2009, 11:55:23 pm »
No vias, this is single side PCB  ;)
 

GeekGirl

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2009, 07:22:41 am »
I use Eagle for design and make my boards at home by standard photo etching process. I prefer that process over others because you can make very high quality boards with fine details.
Few examples of my last project:



They look great, what are you using for the silkscreen on the top ?

Regards,

Kat.
 

Offline charliex

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2009, 07:08:00 pm »
I wasn't sure if they were, the pics just look a bit like the rivet style via's, that i've seen.  Sometimes you want thru plating on single sided boards so never hurts to ask.

Found some, strangely they're not listed (easily) on LPKF's main site so i hadn't seem them before.

http://www.lpkfusa.com/Store/ProductDetail.asp?ProductID=147
« Last Edit: November 28, 2009, 09:37:41 pm by charliex »
 

Offline flolic

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2009, 12:30:26 pm »
Quote

They look great, what are you using for the silkscreen on the top ?

Silkscreen is applied by toner transfer method  ;)
 

Offline septer012

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Re: PCB Fabrication
« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2009, 06:11:25 pm »
Okay so I decided im also going to try to make my own boards.  I bought single sided FR4 0.014".  Gonna use Muerietic Acid and Toner transfer method.  Just need to acquire a heat laminater for the transfer.
Daniel
 


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