Let's Make Robots!

Homemade PCB

I bought myself a new pc recently and as for most new pcs it was lacking either a parallel port or a serial port.  As i was using the parallel port to program my robot i had to find a usb programmer that i could use.  I use atmel chips and i found a circuit design for the USBasp programmer, which consists of another atmel chip that converts the usb data into data that can be used to program my robot.  I thought that this would be a good opportunity to try and build my own pcb.  I got some info from http://www.fullnet.com/~tomg/gooteepc.htm regarding making a pcb using the toner transfer method.  So i ordered some stuff and designed my pcb.  I printed the design using a laser printer onto photo/glossy paper.  I pretty much followed the directions given on the site and ironed the design onto my blank copper clad board and etched it with ferric chloride.  I then drilled it using a handheld dremel tool.  I was very impressed at how well it turned out, especially for my first attempt.  I would recommend this method to anyone trying to make their own pcb.  I took me a couple of attempts to iron on the design correctly and remove all of the paper but after that it all went very smoothly.

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The picture above shows the bottom copper after etching.  I used fairly small traces and pads and they all etched very well.  I designed the board in eagle and the next board i do i will make sure i make the pads a bit bigger as they were tricky to solder to.

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I also added the artwork to the top of the board as i was easy to do and i think it gives a nice look to the board when its finished.

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Above is the board all finished.  As i mentioned it was a bit tricky to solder as the pads were too small, but other than that it turned out nice and works like a champ so im very happy with my first attempt at making a pcb.

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Looks nice!

How did you do the artwork for the top? Did you use a transparency sheet?

i did the same as for the bottom, printed it out mirrored onto glossy paper and ironed it on.
very well done! i have to try that myself
Nice Job. Any troubles lining up the artwork with the circuits? I would really like te get started on making PCBs
I put the artwork on after drilling the holes and used them to line it up, you can see through the paper and the board when you hold them up to the light which makes it a lot easier.
Anyone know about making double sided boards?

If I remember, think we taped one transfer sheet on, drilled a couple of the thru-holes on opposite corners, then taped the bottom sheet to align. Had to re-do it on a second board due to some weird etching, but both times was mostly aligned.

I think Oddbots method of folding a transfer sheet over the PCB might work better, more likely to maintain alignment.