Let's Make Robots!

printed circuit

what is your best tools for your printed circuits :

- Softwares if you use for the design ?

- what paper or plastic phot if you print it ?

- what photobox (home made joint a picture, please) if you did ?

- what product did you use (board, revelator, acid, ...) ?

- If you didn't your circuit yourself, where did you order ?



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I use DipTrace for schematics and layout. I'm probably one of the few that likes the auto route :-). I also have Eagle installed but that’s only used for converting layouts to DipTrace.
I get my board made by http://iteadstudio.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=19_20&products_id=173 as I'm usually in no rush. The quality for its price is great.

Ps. As an LMR member you can get extra pins for your DipTrace installation (from 300 to 500).

- EagleCAD.

- Various color print pages from our free local rag. HP laser printer for the toner deposition task.

- No photobox needed for ghetto-style toner transfer.

- 1 oz. copper clad, 1/16" thick, single and double sided. Heat supplied by a tabletop electric range. Ferric chloride etching solution from Radio Shack. A thick ziplock baggie in a container big enough I can continuously run warm water into. I shake the bag to keep the oxygen in soltution and to agitate the whole thing. Real hands on.

- I often go through dorkbot for my personal boards and for real small circuits and seedstudio for my larger runs/prototype products

A couple pics of my various exercises in PCB making:

My QLF board simmering in the sauce.


One of the many 1.5" doublesided boards for my hexaspider project.


Single sided board for the LED brain in LMRbot.



The big double sided mainboard for LMRbot. It never was right to begin with but I was intent on finishing the task.


Eagle for designing

Photo glossy paper for printing toner onto via old Brother printer with toner quantity set to maximum.

transfer to PCB with clothes iron(I have an old one that gets extremely hot, new clothes can't handle it, it melts solder...)

Mix Chloridic acid + hydrogen peroxide 

Put it outside in the sun so it warms up a little

Put PCB in, wait like 1 or 2 minutes.

Wipe with water

Drill with drill bits from 0.5mm to 1mm, 0.5 and 0.7mm are for resistors and capacitors, 1mm is usually for connectors.

Then I remove the toner with steel wool, I recomend using fine steel wool, the thicker one is rough.

I do the silkscreen the same way except I print it onto the top layer, so I know what pin is what :)



Attiny2313 SOIC to DIP adapter:

Toner printed onto photo paper


(looks rough because of the thick steel wool)


PIC serial port programmer:

paper slipped a little, it sometimes happens, but it turned out okay.


Silk screen for arduino -> 74HC595 -> LCD board:


Results sometimes change, you have the let the toner really heat up, generally if it was properly transfered you're fine, but when it's really hot you might slip by accident.

Eagle cad and I use dorkbot, now known as oshpark.com. Great turnaround, and great boards.