Procrastinatus

Why talk about it now?

PCB Etching (Video!) Tutorial

Posted by aonomus on July 14, 2009

So I just completed my printed circuit board etching video(s) last night, its a long walkthrough from essentially a piece of paper with toner on it, right down to a completed board. Its a 4 part video and its pretty long, so sit down and enjoy!

Intro, safety messages, preparing artwork, cutting the board

Preparing the board, pre etch, toner transfer

Paper removal, etch

Final notes, drilling holes, cleaning up and disposing of etchant

I will have the full article up (relatively) soon with all the other details. For now you will just have to enjoy this image:

So after some thought, I covered most of the important stuff in the video, I’ll just briefly touch on a few things below.

PCB Artwork

So in the video, I showed a piece of paper with a printout of my PCB artwork, some software you can use to create schematics and PCB artwork are Eagle, or KiCad. Once you have your artwork prepared, print it out onto paper, preferrably glossy, ideally Staples brand glossy photo paper (200g/m^2, red box) using a laser printer.

Make sure that your printout is 1:1, do not reverse your artwork if it is on the bottom side of your board, and do reverse if it is on the top.

PCB Etchant

So for cupric chloride etchant, essentially you can dissolve copper metal into concentrated hydrochloric acid (also available as muriatic acid, but 12M HCl is what it actually is), adding either oxygen (via bubbling) or hydrogen peroxide as needed. For this step be careful with preparing the etchant, leave the container in a location with no metal that will corrode, even after a long period of time and with dilute etchant, the fumes can cause heavy corrosion of even stainless steel.

A few links you may find helpful:

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