Electronics > Manufacturing & Assembly

Want to make PCB at home via UV method, what equipment do I need

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matrixofdynamism:
I want to do a project at home and for that I shall need to make some PCB. I think that the UV method is best and gives most consistent results. However, I am not sure what is all the equipment I need for that and its cost and where to get it from in UK. Any advice?

DerekG:
That's great if you just want to feel the satisfaction of "having done it yourself".

You will have to place a wire (use the ends of through hole resistors so you don't burn your fingers) through every via & solder them on both sides.

If you are just looking to save money, then visit www.pcbshopper.com for a cheap quote. You will likely end up with your boards completed professionally at a much lower price than buying all the bits required to make them yourself.

M4trix:
Hi,

If you still want to do it at home then I suggest a UK company, Mega Electronics. They have all stuff you need. Here is a three part video (tutorial) about the basic things you'll need.

http://www.megauk.com/
http://www.megauk.com/pages/general-faq-137.htm


matrixofdynamism:
I intend to do it at home for 2 reasons, (1) it shall be quicker and (2) it shall be cheaper. At least this is my expectation. It is not uncommon to make mistakes with our circuit board and we might want to make several as we progress in our project. Waiting for circuit boards thus may take many many days, or few to several weeks. This is time wasted is it not?

I have several questions regarding this UV method. As far as I understand, I shall need:
(1) copper clad board with photoresist
(2) transparent sheets to print the circuit board layout onto, these may be rather expensive. Use scanner printer set to 600dpi, the resolution is important to get finer pitch pads right in print.
(3) UV light source, I am not sure if mere sunlight will be enought and what happens if we expose to UV source for too long. I get the time as being 8-15 minutes.
(4) developer solution to etch away the photo resist that was exposed to the UV light, I wonder what happens if we leave it in the developer for too long and how do we know that it is enough time.
(5) Etchent, usually Ferric Chloride. One reason why I am still undecided about going for homemade PCBs, but if it has to be done this way then it has to be done. No point in procastinating. I am not sure what concentration of this is needed and what happens if we leave the board in for too long how do we know that it is enough time.
(6) Acetone, also known as nail polish remover. This shall be used to remove whatever stuff is left on the board to reveal the shiny copper underneath.
(7) Drill machine with atleast 2 different size bits. Well perhaps the hand held drill is not best for this purpose, since usually I see people using a vertical drill.
( 8 ) Etchent neutralizer
(9) a tray to do the etching another tray to do the developing, perhaps a single tray can be used for both?
(10) Most important, safety equipment. This is gloves, eye protection at the minimum. It is important to use etchent in a well ventilated space as it releases fumes. No stains are acceptable from the etchent anywhere, not on clothes, not on any surface. Ethchent can damage sink pipes if put into sink. It must be neutralized before being thrown away

Yes so that really is a lot of stuff. Do you really think that placing an order for the PCB is a much superior thing to do? I do find that Maplin in UK has a lot of these things, but I have not bought any of them yet. I am still thinking which route to take and then stick with it for all my boards, or atleast all my simple boards. First I also considered the method where we use a laser printer to print onto glossy paper and then transfer the tonner onto a copper clade board using a iron. But I found that people do not get very consistant results with this method and thus dropped it. An etchent solution is always required unless we are using a milling machine.

AndreasF:
Mike (from "...'s Electric Stuff") has a very good page on what's needed. It's a few year old, I think, so a few specifics may be out of  date.

http://www.electricstuff.co.uk/pcbs.html

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