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'[EE] Copper clad perfboard?'
2011\12\31@170953 by Eric Kort

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So my latest electronics project worked great, and it looked great
(IMHO) on the top side of the perfboard, but was a bit of a mess on
the bottom (wiring) side which was a mix of bent leads and hookup wire
used to make the necessary connections.  As a result I started to
think about moving up to photoresist PCB etching.  But it occurs to me
that the process would be significantly simpler if I did not need to
drill the through holes.  I am curious to know if anyone knows of a
source for copper clad perfboard (i.e., not just pads around the
holes, but completely plated on one side).  With a bit of care with
registration, it seems one could etch the traces on such perfboard and
then the holes would be already be there!

Does anyone know where copper clad perfboard could be obtained?  Or is
that a fundamentally dumb idea?

-Eri

2011\12\31@171929 by Adam Field

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On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 5:09 PM, Eric Kort <spam_OUTeric.kortTakeThisOuTspamexsilico.com> wrote:
> So my latest electronics project worked great, and it looked great
> (IMHO) on the top side of the perfboard, but was a bit of a mess on
> the bottom (wiring) side which was a mix of bent leads and hookup wire
> used to make the necessary connections.  As a result I started to
> think about moving up to photoresist PCB etching.  But it occurs to me
> that the process would be significantly simpler if I did not need to
> drill the through holes.  I am curious to know if anyone knows of a
> source for copper clad perfboard (i.e., not just pads around the
> holes, but completely plated on one side).  With a bit of care with
> registration, it seems one could etch the traces on such perfboard and
> then the holes would be already be there!
>
> Does anyone know where copper clad perfboard could be obtained?  Or is
> that a fundamentally dumb idea?
>
> -Eric

Not exactly a whole clad bottom, but a compromise between connectivity
and isolation:

http://www.busboard.us/#BreadBoards

Look at all the patterns they have. I've been using the breadboard
pattern replicas and the 6H pattern. There's also plain stripboard
which you can cut the traces where appropriate. There is an actual
tool to make the cuts, but I'm not sure what you would call it.

2011\12\31@175150 by KPL

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I have been trying to switch from protoboards to homemade pcb's
recently (may be a fifth time in last few years :) and I am not quite
sure yet if that's worth the trouble at all. I can build a circuit on
a protoboard much faster than design a pcb that I can really make and
actually produce it. It is just a lot of work to properly design a
pcb, which can be really made at home, that means preferably
single-sided, with as little jumpers as possible, with not too many
traces between DIP pins, etc.
Finally, who cares what it looks like, and you can even make
protoboard look quite good, if doing it with care. The main problem
remains - it can be really difficult to replace a component in a wired
protoboard.

On Sun, Jan 1, 2012 at 00:19, Adam Field <.....adamKILLspamspam@spam@badtech.org> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2011\12\31@180936 by John Gardner

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That's awesome, Adam. Thanks.

Jac

2011\12\31@184748 by IVP
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>As a result I started to think about moving up to photoresist
> PCB etching

Could I humbly suggest you DO look at drilling your own ?

I've not used perf board (Vero) for a very long time though I do
use breadboards, because 0.1" is not dead just yet

But for an equally very long time I've etched and drilled my own
prototype boards as so many parts are not 0.1". And in fact DIP
is more commonly no longer an option for ICs

The toner-transfer method is quick, cheap, simple and repeatable. A
$20 mini-drill and 1mm tungsten carbide bit is all you need for 99%
of through-hole. 1.2mm, 1.5mm and 3mm steel bits will cover the 1%

For the minimal investment it is so worth it

Jo

2011\12\31@190413 by Carl Denk

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I use a Dremel drill press to drill the holes. The center of the pad etched away makes a good punch mark to get the drill centered. :)

> $20 mini-drill and 1mm tungsten carbide bit is all you need for 99%
> of through-hole. 1.2mm, 1.5mm and 3mm steel bits will cover the 1%
>
> For the minimal investment it is so worth it
>
>
>

2011\12\31@200550 by Joe Wronski

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I don't know if you've considered another possibility we used to call "drill and mill".  A drill like a mini hole saw is used to drill the through holes and it also creates a pad from the hole saw perimeter.  As a tech in the 80's, I made many  boards this way.  We would create a layout on 0.1" graph paper (now, I would do it on a PC and print it, but that and a useable printer were big bucks back then), tape it to plain copperclad, and punch the hole locations, then "drill and mill".  I wouldn't know where to find the mill drills now.

Joe W


On 12/31/2011 5:09 PM, Eric Kort wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -Eric

2011\12\31@201945 by Chris Roper

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It all depends on your experience level and the reason to create a PCB.

I  used to etch my own boards, many years ago, but the chemicals I
used back then are considered a NO NO now, even if I could find them I
doubt I would use them.
Just disposing of them is an issue that we were not aware off.

If you are creating a, low frequency, low current,  one off device then
Viro Board works well.

If you are prototyping on a Breadboard then the Breadboard format PCB's
from AdaFruit are great.

If you need to run off a batch or intend to go into production, then a PCB
service is a must.

Personally I think home etching is a thing of the past

2011\12\31@201955 by IVP

face picon face
>I use a Dremel drill press to drill the holes

Carl, must admit I don't like a press as much as hand-held for
very smaller diameter bits, especially the composite ones which
tend to be brittle. I hold the drill with the right hand and use the
left hand index finger as a feedback to gauge the pressure and
as a stabiliser. For 2mm and above I'm OK with a press though

Eric, here's a board I finished yesterday

http://home.clear.net.nz/pages/joecolquitt/4bit_sm.jpg

Overall it would have taken less time than trying to fudge about
with irregular components (eg SMT parts inc. SD card socket)
on 0.1" board. And it's tidy and robust enough to last for many
months of development. One additional benefit is that, because
of the shift towards cheaper SMT packages, the ability to make
and drill your own is now more often cost effective than it used
to be (at the prototype/short run stage)

Jo

2011\12\31@211634 by John Ferrell

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On 12/31/2011 8:19 PM, Chris Roper wrote:
> It all depends on your experience level and the reason to create a PCB.
>
> I  used to etch my own boards, many years ago, but the chemicals I
> used back then are considered a NO NO now, even if I could find them I
> doubt I would use them.
> Just disposing of them is an issue that we were not aware off.
>
> If you are creating a, low frequency, low current,  one off device then
> Viro Board works well.
>
> If you are prototyping on a Breadboard then the Breadboard format PCB's
> from AdaFruit are great.
>
> If you need to run off a batch or intend to go into production, then a PCB
> service is a must.
>
> Personally I think home etching is a thing of the past.
You will change your mind if you visit
tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Homebrew_PCBs/
and search YouTube for Printed circuit boards. I am short on experience on the current resources but it appears to me that custom parts and prototypes are easier than ever. Jinx just answered a question I had about drilling and I hope to try the toner transfer method this week. There seem to be a lot of safe etchants available as well. Other than using some of the readily free software I plan to hand draw a board at 2X size, scan and reduce it to the proper scale and complete it. My laser printer (less than $100) will print 4x6 and may be 3X5 paper so small stuff will be practical.

The expert services like ExpressPCB do a very professional job should I need a production run. Things have never been this good for HomeBrewing before!

-- John Ferrell W8CCW
"The man who complains about the way the
ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it."

2011\12\31@222913 by IVP

face picon face
> using some of the readily free software I plan to hand draw a
> board at 2X size, scan and reduce it to the proper scale and
> complete it

I've two methods -
(1) tiff output from Eagle
(2) .gif or .bmp output from a graphics program (eg Paint Shop Pro)

like at the bottom of this page, and always re-sized/re-scaled to 600dpi
with the dimensions included to remind me when I use it again

http://www.piclist.com/techref/microchip/io/dev/lcd/DOGM.htm

After doing so many I can copy/paste between library boards without
needing to use Eagle, even for routing

> My laser printer (less than $100) will print 4x6 and may be 3X5 paper
> so small stuff will be practical

Printers are regularly on special as loss leaders. The Canon LBP6000
was on special here for NZ$49 and I bought it specifically for toner
transfer. No intention of wasting it on documents. My paper is glossy
clay-based. 30 minutes in a warm soak and it peels off easily

> The expert services like ExpressPCB do a very professional job
> should I need a production run. Things have never been this good
> for HomeBrewing before!

Of course I use professionals for clients, if that's what they want, or
quantities where it simply makes sense (and I appreciate the varied
opinions about what makes sense). Most often I deal with prototypes
and I want a board right now. And I'll be honest, there is a satisfaction
to doing it yourself, and the week isn't so full that a spare hour or two
can't be found

Jo

2011\12\31@223011 by Carl Denk

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Everyone has their own preferences, and I respect that. One needs to try different things within the range of supplies and equipment available, then settle on their favorite. My Dremel press is an older (ancient) model. I like the feed with turning a thumb knob. Also the table allows easy sliding with 1 hand for  accurate location. But I must admit, my PCB's are small, generally less than 4" square, but then again, it wouldn't be hard to make the Dremel table larger.  Just a quick 1/4 turn back an forth. The newer models feed with a lever which would be tiresome drilling a zillion holes. I also have a Delta floor drill press with 5/8" chuck. It is definitely to big and clumsy for PCB work, even with a small chuck that chucks in the big chuck :)

On 12/31/2011 8:19 PM, IVP wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2011\12\31@230154 by IVP

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> I also have a Delta floor drill press with 5/8" chuck. It is
> definitely to big and clumsy for PCB work, even with a
> small chuck that chucks in the big chuck :)

Ha ! ;-) I've got a set-up like that. One of the better features
of inexpensive drills with pretty good chucks and gearboxes
is that when the cheap as s*** battery dies you've still got a
pretty good chuck and gearbox left. And at the price who
would feel any remorse cannibalising a chuck that can take a
very small bit and fits in a bench press

At one time I collected a pile of thrown-out battery drills and
re-jigged the motors and gearboxes as curtain pullers. Tough
little things and they work marvellously. On the to-do list for
them are as solar panel trackers and a large semi-mechanical
clock

Jo


'[EE] Copper clad perfboard?'
2012\01\01@040046 by Electron
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At 02.19 2012.01.01, you wrote:
>>I use a Dremel drill press to drill the holes
>
>Carl, must admit I don't like a press as much as hand-held for
>very smaller diameter bits, especially the composite ones which
>tend to be brittle. I hold the drill with the right hand and use the
>left hand index finger as a feedback to gauge the pressure and
>as a stabiliser. For 2mm and above I'm OK with a press though
>
>Eric, here's a board I finished yesterday
>
>http://home.clear.net.nz/pages/joecolquitt/4bit_sm.jpg

Is it a PIC32MX120F? :-)

Hey, I too use the pins and then connect wires.. Your board at first
looked like MINE! Very minor details of difference, but if not twins
they would look like brothers. :-)

The pins I use are Harwin pins originally though for prototyping vias.

Are You doing 4bit SDcard access? 8-) Could You tell us more?

Cheers,
MarI/O



>
>Overall it would have taken less time than trying to fudge about
>with irregular components (eg SMT parts inc. SD card socket)
>on 0.1" board. And it's tidy and robust enough to last for many
>months of development. One additional benefit is that, because
>of the shift towards cheaper SMT packages, the ability to make
>and drill your own is now more often cost effective than it used
>to be (at the prototype/short run stage)
>
>Joe
>

2012\01\01@055428 by IVP

face picon face
>>home.clear.net.nz/pages/joecolquitt/4bit_sm.jpg
>
> Is it a PIC32MX120F? :-)

dsPIC

> The pins I use are Harwin pins originally though for prototyping vias

Nah. I'm cheap - component lead cut-offs. I'll use proper SIL pins
if it's something pluggable

> Are You doing 4bit SDcard access?

Having a go. Analysis of proprietary 4-bit devices to try to back-
engineer the CMD and data structure looks promising. SPI transfers
at high speed are practical only up to a point because the card takes
longer to respond to the read command than it does to transfer the
sector requested, ie > 50% of the PIC's time is spent waiting for
data. The sector transfer can be very fast (10s of MHz) but there's
nothing that can be done about the response time in SPI mode

Giving the topic diversion some legitimacy, you would not be able to
experiment with large PICs which are in QFN or TQFP packages if
perf board was your only mounting option

Jo

2012\01\01@085155 by Eric Kort

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> Giving the topic diversion some legitimacy, you would not be able to
> experiment with large PICs which are in QFN or TQFP packages if
> perf board was your only mounting option
>

Right.  I would have thought that the shift from through hole to
surface mount would lead to a resurgence of DIY pcbs, not their death,
but who am I to say?  Regardless, I am often a "late abandoner" (as
opposed to an early adopter).

Nevertheless, after the extensive discussion here I am inclined to
utilize one of the many permutations of perfboard mentioned earlier
for simpler prototypes.  I think I may still etch and drill my own
PCBs for more extensive prototypes, if only so that when my children
are older I can say things like "When I was younger, we used to etch
our own PCBs!  And the components had wires sticking out of them that
we stuck through HOLES!"

Thanks to all for an interesting discussion.

-Eri

2012\01\01@085157 by Carl Denk

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No, the original, foreign made chuck died after a couple of years, and I replaced it with a Jacobs industrial quality chuck that only accommodates 1/8" - 5/8" drill bits. Part of the same order was a 1/4" maximum bit size chuck with a 1/4" hex shank, since I knew wanting to drill less than an 1/8" was likely. My drill arsenal also includes industrial quality: 12 volt NiCad battery, 3/8" and 1/2" corded variable speed reversing, a rotohammer, and the Dremel. :) I buy only industrial quality tools, since at least occasionally, I torture with heavy duty use, since only rarely do I need to rely on others for service/repair or construction.
> is that when the cheap as s*** battery dies you've still got a
> pretty good chuck and gearbox left. And at the price who
> would feel any remorse cannibalising a chuck that can take a
> very small bit and fits in a bench press
>

2012\01\01@091022 by alan.b.pearce

face picon face
> Right.  I would have thought that the shift from through hole to
> surface mount would lead to a resurgence of DIY pcbs, not their death,
> but who am I to say?  Regardless, I am often a "late abandoner" (as
> opposed to an early adopter).

The big problem is that so much SMD stuff is too fine a pitch for handmade PCBs. Realistically 0.5mm pitch would be the finest that one could reliably etch for, but a lot of interesting stuff comes in finer pitch, BGA or one of the many leadless packages which have their own requirements.
-- Scanned by iCritical.

2012\01\01@100242 by Mark Hanchey

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On 1/1/2012 8:51 AM, Eric Kort wrote:

> Right.  I would have thought that the shift from through hole to
> surface mount would lead to a resurgence of DIY pcbs, not their death,
> but who am I to say?  Regardless, I am often a "late abandoner" (as
> opposed to an early adopter).

I have tried the toner transfer method and found it lacking and the cost for making a one off board is way too high using the photo method or sending out to have the board made.  My problem was finding good quality protoboards that were not too expensive. I recently found some great ones  by a company called usa circuits. The boards are 5 x 3.4 , have all plated through holes, and are on a very stiff fiberglass material. Since using these I haven't wanted to make a printed board. The cost is about $4 a board if you buy them 5 at a time, $4.50 each otherwise. Well worth it for the quality you get.
http://usacircuits.com/c/21/protoyping-pcb

Mark

2012\01\01@174605 by IVP

face picon face
> The big problem is that so much SMD stuff is too fine a pitch for
> handmade PCBs. Realistically 0.5mm pitch would be the finest
> that one could reliably etch for, but a lot of interesting stuff comes in
> finer pitch, BGA or one of the many leadless packages which have
> their own requirements

I'd go along with that. A particular 3-axis gyro chip looked very
attractive functionally but is available only in a 3x3mm 16-pin QFN

Once upon a time it was difficult to buy ones and twos. Now you
can buy anything anywhere but it's difficult to use, if not impossible,
without specialist assembly

Aaaaargh

2012\01\01@230941 by Sean Breheny

face picon face
Hi Chris,

Which chemicals are you talking about? The only two common ones I know
of are Ferric Chloride and Ammonium Persulfate. Neither are any more
toxic than common household chemicals as far as I know. Ferric
Chloride is generally considered nasty because of its ability to stain
things permanently, but as long as you dilute it sufficiently, it
should be disposable in a municipal sewer system - indeed, it is
sometimes used in wastewater treatment I think. I am less familiar
with Ammonium Persulfate but I doubt that it is any worse.

Sean


On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 8:19 PM, Chris Roper <.....caroperKILLspamspam.....gmail.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2012\01\02@071642 by Chris Roper

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I primarily used  Ferric Chloride and you are correct, if handled properly,
it is not too bad. But we have all kinds of local bylaws now about
disposing of it and as I live in a Flat I don't really have the space to
store and mess with chemicals.

On the other hand, professionally made PCB's are a lot more affordable
these days, not cheep, but if it is for a final project, especially if you
need to make more than one unit, possibly to help defray the cost, PCB
services can do it well and reasonably fast even down to very fine pitch
and include through hole plating and silk screening that
are virtually impossible with home etched boards.

Cheers
Chris

On 2 January 2012 06:09, Sean Breheny <EraseMEshb7spam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTcornell.edu> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

2012\01\02@194901 by Al Shinn

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About etching pcbs- I recently enjoyed etching with hardware store muriatic acid and drugstore hydrogen peroxide. when you are done with the solution, neutralize the acid and precipitate the copper with baking soda. Trash the solids and down the drain with the now harmless water. I was using the laser printer on toner transfer paper

http://www.pulsarprofx.com/pcbfx/main_site/pages/products/transfer_paper.html

 -- I had not much good luck with glossy magazine paper method

The etchant:   "Mix two parts hydrogen peroxide for every one part hydrochloric acid. When mixed, they form a substance that is a severe skin irritant, and will produce toxic chlorine gas."

http://www.wikihow.com/Etch-a-Circuit-Board
--
Looking forward,
Al Shinn

2012\01\02@202156 by smplx

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On Mon, 2 Jan 2012, Al Shinn wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Not wishing to be a kill-joy here BUT...

"two parts hydrogen peroxide for every one part hydrochloric acid"

Doesn't really tell me a lot. What are the concentrations of these liquids before you mix them?

Also, mixing "baking soda" with copper chloride (the result of etching copper metal with HCL and H2O2) does ***NOT*** result in pure water + solids, there will be some copper ions left in solution. You really shouldn't just flush this down the drain as a mater of course.

Regards
Sergio Masc

2012\01\02@212540 by Denny Esterline

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On Mon, Jan 2, 2012 at 6:24 PM, smplx <smplxspamspam_OUTallotrope.net> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

No! No! No! Don't throw out this etchant, it's just getting getting good!

It's been a while since I've done any of this but...
--searching......
http://www.piclist.com/techref/postbot.asp?by=time&id=piclist%5C2004%5C09%5C12%5C173932a&author=Denny+Esterline+&tgt=post

(wow, 2004, time flies)
The point is that it's stuff you can buy locally. And
recycle effectively forever. The Hydrogen Peroxide is just the 3% medical
stuff you can get at the pharmacy or grocery store. And the acid is
available at most hardware stores and pool supplies, often called "muratic
acid", it's actual Hydrochloric acid and usually about 30-35%.

I still believe it's the best choice etchant, but I'm far less interested
in homebrew PCBs nowadays. Most of the time I just don't think the
time/value equation works out.

Good luck, please be responsible for your own safety.
-Denn

2012\01\03@135212 by Al Shinn

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Sergio,
I clearly stated "hardware store muriatic acid and drugstore hydrogen peroxide"  Should I have added "full strength"?
There would be only the smallest traces of copper left after precipitating with baking soda.  Copper is not like mercury or lead in that neither of them have a minimum daily requirement - copper does. We use copper pipes for our water, copper coated scrub thingeys, etc, etc. we used to use CuSO4 to kill roots in the sewer lines but that WAS tough on the sewage treatment plants.
If you wish to remove any final traces of copper, first test some of the suspect clear solution with a dollop of household ammonia, any significant copper will turn the resulting solution blue - if the test fails, electrolyze out the remaining copper or even just throw in some steel wool to scavenge the copper out.
What I should have mentioned is that you should not throw away the solution anyway cause "they" say it regenerates with exposure to air and can be used over and over. I don't do that much etching so I toss mine.

"
Not wishing to be a kill-joy here BUT...

"two parts hydrogen peroxide for every one part hydrochloric acid"

Doesn't really tell me a lot. What are the concentrations of these liquids
before you mix them?

Also, mixing "baking soda" with copper chloride (the result of etching
copper metal with HCL and H2O2) does ***NOT*** result in pure water +
solids, there will be some copper ions left in solution. You really
shouldn't just flush this down the drain as a mater of course.

Regards
Sergio Masci
"
--
Looking forward,
Al Shinn

2012\01\04@084923 by smplx

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On Tue, 3 Jan 2012, Al Shinn wrote:

> Sergio,
> I clearly stated "hardware store muriatic acid and drugstore hydrogen
> peroxide"  Should I have added "full strength"?

Al,
"full strength" would have been as useful as "good dollop" :-)

When I first came across this cupric chloride etching system a few years ago, I was intrigued, so I decided to give it a try. I went out and bought some concrete cleaner from a local hardware store (couldn't find muriatic acid but I'd read that "muriatic acid" as supplied by a hardware store is mainly used to clean brickwork and concrete AND the concrete cleaner I found said it contained HCL). It's action on copper metal was very disapointing with and without the drugstore H2O2. I tried forcing the copper into solution by passing a current through it but this didn't help much. I tried other things like bubbling air into the mix (as some other recipes suggest).

So I resorted to using laboratory grade concentrated hydrochloric acid in place of the concrete cleaner. Yep this worked very well but this stuff is hard to get as a hobbyist.

Knowing a little bit about chemistry I was able to tell that the internet homebrew recipe wasn't working. I wonder how many other people have actually tried this and given up in frustration.

So, all in all, without knowing what concentrations are being used, some people might get lucky and it works, while others just give up not understanding what is going wrong.

> There would be only the smallest traces of copper left after
> precipitating with baking soda.  Copper is not like mercury or lead in
> that neither of them have a minimum daily requirement - copper does. We
> use copper pipes for our water, copper coated scrub thingeys, etc, etc.

But these traces are much higher than if the water were just passing through a copper pipe.

> we used to use CuSO4 to kill roots in the sewer lines but that WAS tough
> on the sewage treatment plants.

We also used to use things like mercury and arsenic to treat things like syphilis but that was tough on the patients. We frown on using mercury and arsenic on people now just as we do on putting copper into sewers.

> If you wish to remove any final traces of copper, first test some of the
> suspect clear solution with a dollop of household ammonia, any
> significant copper will turn the resulting solution blue - if the test
> fails, electrolyze out the remaining copper or even just throw in some
> steel wool to scavenge the copper out.

The point isn't that I can remove traces of copper "if I wish to", it's that ***EVERYONE*** who does home etching should be strongly encouraged to.

> What I should have mentioned is that you should not throw away the
> solution anyway cause "they" say it regenerates with exposure to air and
> can be used over and over. I don't do that much etching so I toss mine.
>

Regards
Sergio Masc

2012\01\04@133703 by Al Shinn

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Sergio,
Egg on my face! I etched some copper with the H2O2 and muriatic acid and then precipitated out the copper with baking soda as I suggested. You were right, the remaining solution is too blue (has some copper left) for me to feel good about dumping down the drain, don't even need the ammonia test. I'll try the steel wool to scavenge the remaining Cu.



Looking forward,
Al Shinn



Looking forward,
Al Shinn


On 1/3/2012 10:52 AM, Al Shinn wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2012\01\04@150812 by smplx

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On Wed, 4 Jan 2012, Al Shinn wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Hi Al,

Might I suggest that you simply let the neutralised solution evaporate to leave just solid then dispose of all the solid together (possibly together with other metal that is to be recycled).

Regards
Sergio Masci

2012\01\05@234206 by Al Shinn

picon face

Sergio,
Thanks,
And thanks again for "making" me do the experiment to prove myself wrong about simple dropping out the copper with bicarb - don't want to spread false info.
but I have found the trick to get the last tiny bit of copper out of solution. The Baking soda neutralized solution has all but a trace of the copper precipitated out of it but there is still a faint blue tint. A bit of fine steel wool dropped into this solution removes this last trace of copper to the point that even ammonia won't make it turn blue (this is a pretty sensitive test for copper).

By the way, muriatic acid is an entity that is bought at the hardware store, so needs no concentration figures. BUT, my bottle does say 20 degree Baume (whatever that means) also says (31.45%)
I CAN attest that the 2 parts drugstore H2O2 to 1 part hardware store muriatic acid makes a fine pc board etchant - I used a fine brush to "agitate" the etching and it took around 5 minutes.
One beauty of this system is that the H2O2 is less than $1.00 and my muriatic acid label says $2.99 (1 quart) (bought within the last couple of years)
I would NOT guess that concrete cleaner would necessarily be the same stuff even though muriatic acid IS used for that purpose.
Evaporating to dryness is fine if you don't have much solution, and live in a low humidity place, and are patient, and have the spare space where it won't be disturbed by wives or animals (I have both - well, only one of each). At least it does not have acid fumes after neutralizing so the evaporation can be done inside.


"
Hi Al,
Might I suggest that you simply let the neutralized solution evaporate to leave just solid then dispose of all the solid together (possibly together with other metal that is to be recycled).

Regards
Sergio Masci
"
--
Looking forward,
Al Shinn

2012\01\06@024453 by William \Chops\ Westfield

face picon face

On Jan 3, 2012, at 10:52 AM, Al Shinn wrote:

> I clearly stated "... drugstore hydrogen peroxide"

Muriatic acid is almost always full strength (about 32%), but hydrogen peroxide is available in several concentrations.  Normal medicinal H2O2 is 3% (which is what you want), but 6% is pretty common for hair bleaching, and you can get somewhat stronger than that if you have a well-equipped "drug store."

ObJoke:  Two chemists go into a bar.  The first says "I'll have an H2O."  The second says "I'll have an H2O too."  They get and consume their drinks, and the second chemist dies!

Note that the minimum price for a professionally manufactured PCB has gone down to about $20.  (That gets you 10, identical 50mm square boards from China (Seeed or iTead Studios), or 3 boards of about that size from DorkbotPBX or similar services in the US ($5/in^2)  That includes postage.  Gratification isn't so instant as etching your own, but ... at prices like that it's difficult to justify messing around at home.  And you get two sides, Plated-through holes, soldermask and silkscreen, and routed to shape.

For large, simple, PCBs, home etching may still make sense.  As board size goes up, your options dwindle, per-in^2 deals get expensive, and you don't get any cost savings for simplicity.

BillW

2012\01\06@032305 by KPL

picon face
I have never ever needed more than 2 or 3 of same boards yet. This is
not a business, but a hobby.
So producing a single pcb costs probably few $, and gets you further
in an hour, instead of waiting for weeks. Any reasonably priced
shipping takes usually about 3 weeks from china/hk to here.
So basically it depends on many factors.

>
> Note that the minimum price for a professionally manufactured PCB has gone down to about $20.  (That gets you 10, identical 50mm square boards from China (Seeed or iTead Studios), or 3 boards of about that size from DorkbotPBX or similar services in the US ($5/in^2)  That includes postage.  Gratification isn't so instant as etching your own, but ... at prices like that it's difficult to justify messing around at home.  And you get two sides, Plated-through holes, soldermask and silkscreen, and routed to shape.
>
> For large, simple, PCBs, home etching may still make sense.  As board size goes up, your options dwindle, per-in^2 deals get expensive, and you don't get any cost savings for simplicity.
>
> BillW


-- KPL

2012\01\06@035149 by William \Chops\ Westfield

face picon face

On Jan 6, 2012, at 12:23 AM, KPL wrote:

> So producing a single pcb costs probably few $, and gets you further
> in an hour, instead of waiting for weeks.

Yes.  Except for the first board, which typically involves $20 in startup costs (etchant, or etchant chemicals, bare PCB material, laser printer :-), maybe special paper, Drillbits and maybe a drill, solvents and scrubbies, sharpies for touch-up, some sort of cutting tool, etc, etc.)

Most homebrew boards will take more than an hour, all things considered.
But less than a day.

DorkbotPBX isn't based in China, though you're probably still looking at three weeks turnaround once everything is considered.  My order there went in on the 12th and showed up on the 30th, IIRC.

BillW

2012\01\06@040648 by KPL

picon face
>> So producing a single pcb costs probably few $, and gets you further
>> in an hour, instead of waiting for weeks.
>
> Yes.  Except for the first board, which typically involves $20 in startup costs (etchant, or etchant chemicals, bare PCB material, laser printer :-), maybe special paper, Drillbits and maybe a drill, solvents and scrubbies, sharpies for touch-up, some sort of cutting tool, etc, etc.)
>

Yes, of course. But most home tinkerers have most of those tools anyway.
For those starting this hobby now, it's probably a different story.

> Most homebrew boards will take more than an hour, all things considered.
> But less than a day.

Quite probably design time is less, since you do not have to check if
holes are correctly defined, or other things that are crucial for
professionally made pcb's.
For homemade board it's probably 10 minutes before etching, about 20
minutes etching (I'm using FeCl), after that it's just cleaning and
drilling, which does not take a lot for my simple boards.
I'm currently using some cheap toner transfer paper from china,
ordered on ebay. Seems like just a paper with some kind of
polyethylene coating, it's working quite ok.
Tried similar paper from building stuff, but that coating has much
lower melting point.

> DorkbotPBX isn't based in China, though you're probably still looking at three weeks turnaround once everything is considered.  My order there went in on the 12th and showed up on the 30th, IIRC.
>
> BillW

I'm in eastern Europe, so everything outside EU is considered far away:)
Unfortunately, everything inside EU is considered expensive.

-- KPL

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