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'PCB exposure/developing timing?'
2003\01\05@160017 by Oliver Broad

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It's been said elsewhere but...

I hit exactly the same problem at work when we changed board grades and the
new stuff had a fast reacting resist on it.

Only answer was to make a test piece, uncovering a bit at a time in order to
see what gives the best results. You only know for certain if you develop
and etch the test piece.

Oliver.


{Original Message removed}

2003\01\05@161631 by Michael Walentine

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Tony Harris wrote:

> I was hoping someone could clue me in here.  I'm having trouble
determining
> good exposure and developing times.
>
> I've seen my trace appear, but then "develops" itself right off the
board -
{Quote hidden}

too
> much.
>
> Like I said - any suggestions / help would be most appreciated - this is
my
> first jump out at exposing boards rather then tracing a pattern.
>

I have seen this happen (many times ;-).   The same thing happened to me
when I started making my own boards.  Mostly it's simply trial and error, so
be prepared to go through quite a few boards just experimenting.  I searched
the web for about a year, and in the end started over from scratch for
myself.

So, just as an additional reference, here's what I do:

-  Inkjet Printer:  print the reflected artwork using my inkjet printer on
tracing paper.
  Laser Printer:  print the reflected artwork using a laser printer (when I
have access to one) on transparancy sheet.

-  Cut the art-sheet down so that there is about 1-2cm excess material on
all sides.

-  Lay the artwork ink-side down on the PCB (on top of a flat, rigid
surface), then clamp a piece of glass (from a photo frame) on top.  I have
found that clamping the glass too hard yields poor results, so as a guide, I
will eyeball the edges of the glass to approximate the thickness of the PCB
around the edges.

-  Expose the PCB. I use a fixture that I made using a lamp socket and one
of those 25 Watt "replacement" fluorescent bulbs, suspended about 5cm above
the board.  I allow this to expose for about 7 minutes using the
transparancy, and for 15 minutes using the tracing paper.

-  At this point, I cover the PCB in aluminum foil to protect it from the
light (probably overkill, but better that than *underkill*).  I make my own
developer using 1/8tsp lye (from the grocery store) per 3 ounces of tap
water.  I do this because it saves me the headache of storing the developer
(stored developer must be protected from light, air, and is sensitive to
temperature.  The developer is a little on the weak side, which means that
it may take a little longer than it 'should' to develop, but for say, a
6"x4" PCB, it only takes about 2 minutes.

-  Rinse everything thouroughly, and the rinsate is OK to go down the drain.

-  More home chemistry...  To etch boards, I use a solution of 1 part 37%
HCl (available as 'Muriatic acid' at your local home improvement store!) and
2 parts 3% hydrogen peroxide (again from the grocery store), and agitate
gently.  **While mixing and using the solution, proper ventilation is
EXTREMELY important** (and someday, I will practice what I preach ;-)

I apologize for the long post, but I have not seen this method around too
much and (at least for me), it provides an inexpensive, reliable and
consistent way to home-make PCBs.

--Mike

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2003\01\05@172431 by Brian Aase

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> I've seen my trace appear, but then "develops" itself right off the
board -
> either I've left it in too long, I haven't exposed it long enough, or my
> developer mixture is too strong.

If you're using positive-acting photoresist, remember that the
UN-exposed resist lacquer is supposed to stay on the PCB without
developing away.  Only the part that "sees" light should dissolve.
So, you either:
1) are developing way too long or the solution's too strong, or
2) the material was exposed to too much ambient light beforehand.

I'm sure others will offer lots of suggestions for optimizing your exposure
time.  But here are a couple hints that might not otherwise appear:
1) Try developing a small, completely unexposed piece of material that
you are sure has been kept in total darkness.  If the lacquer still
dissolves, ease up on the developing process.
2) If Experiment 1 works (i.e. the lacquer doesn't dissolve), then move
ahead
and expose/develop a small piece of material that is half exposed and
half covered with solid black film.
3) Now, in the event that Experiment 1 succeeded, but everything dissolved
away during Experiment 2, you might have a problem that your film is not
opaque enough to UV light.  Or, as alluded to above, the raw material
might have been exposed to too much ambient light.  Or finally -- as you
first suspected -- your exposure time is too long.

Let us know how the experiments progress!

Brian Aase

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2003\01\05@173727 by Tony Harris

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This thank you is to everyone that responded - I don't know why I didn't
think of doing an exposer test like that - guess it's just been a long
weekend ;)

I am in the process of etching a test right now with the hopes that it comes
back "ok" - a big part of the problem was my developer mix - it was way too
strong.  I weakened it to a guaranteed 9:1 mix (ie: I didn't eyeball it ;),
and it worked much better, albiet slower lol.

Mike - I do have a couple of questions for you though...

>
> -  At this point, I cover the PCB in aluminum foil to protect it from the
> light (probably overkill, but better that than *underkill*).  I make my
own
> developer using 1/8tsp lye (from the grocery store) per 3 ounces of tap
> water.  I do this because it saves me the headache of storing the
developer
> (stored developer must be protected from light, air, and is sensitive to
> temperature.  The developer is a little on the weak side, which means that
> it may take a little longer than it 'should' to develop, but for say, a
> 6"x4" PCB, it only takes about 2 minutes.

Are we talking just normal lye, like red devil lye?  Also, what type of a
container does this mixture need to be in?  Can it still be in plastic, or
are we up to glass only level now?

>
> -  More home chemistry...  To etch boards, I use a solution of 1 part 37%
> HCl (available as 'Muriatic acid' at your local home improvement store!)
and
> 2 parts 3% hydrogen peroxide (again from the grocery store), and agitate
> gently.  **While mixing and using the solution, proper ventilation is
> EXTREMELY important** (and someday, I will practice what I preach ;-)
>

This Muriatic acid - will the types for swimming pools work?  or are their
different concentrations available that I need to look for?

Also, disposal of this home brew etching material - how to do it?  I've
never had to get rid of exess muriatic acid before...

Also, what types of gloves do you use for handling?

Thanks in advance!!

-Tony

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2003\01\05@181526 by Tony Harris

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Good news!!

I've had more success!!!!  Albiet after wasting a few more cuts of material
;)

I exposed a board for 8 minutes under my light.

Developed in my weaker mix of developer (known strength level)

Etched it.

Best board yet.

Flaws:

1) Seems I didn't let it sit *quite* long enough in the developer - there
are some small streaky areas of copper, really small - mostly right around
the traces or pads, but nothing affecting continuity of the rest of the
board

2) One of my traces is near open - it is still connected enough to generate
tone with my tester, but I will probably have to do a wash over of solder to
make sure of a solid trace.

Thanks again to all that helped me out here - I really appreciate it.  I
think I am beginning to get the hang of it - I have found that I hate my
laser printer when it comes to printing on transparencies, and am going to
have to get transparency film for my Pictrography to print out my stuff
normally.

-Tony
KG4WFX
{Original Message removed}

2003\01\05@190033 by Herbert Graf

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> Thanks again to all that helped me out here - I really appreciate it.  I
> think I am beginning to get the hang of it - I have found that I hate my
> laser printer when it comes to printing on transparencies, and am going to
> have to get transparency film for my Pictrography to print out my stuff
> normally.

       Related question: I plan to do the same shortly (for a 4th year design
project), does anyone know if inkjet inks are OK for the mask? I have no
idea how "opaque" inkjet inks are to UV, anybody have first hand experience?
I don't have easy access to a Laser printer so I would definately want to
stick with my inkjet (an HP940C). Thanks for any advice. TTYL

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2003\01\05@193036 by PicDude

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One other thing that made a big difference to me
was the quality of the transparency.  Photo-copied
transparancies are never as dark as laser-printed
ones and always seem to cause problems.

Cheers,
-Neil.



> {Original Message removed}

2003\01\05@195547 by Tony Harris

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I wish I could answer that - since my Pictrography is a special type of
printer, I really don't know how a color inkjet might work - my only
suggestion would be to make sure that it is as dark and solid of a black as
possible.

Of course, with the laser I used tonight, the black wasn't as dark as I
would have liked, but it did work out.

-Tony
KG4WFX
{Original Message removed}

2003\01\05@195722 by Vern Jones

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I have found by editing the print settings for an inkjet printer I can
get the necessary opacity for doing printed circuit boards using
positive resist boards.

I use a HP Inkjet printer, with HP ink cartridges. I also use only HP
transparancy paper(mylar) as HP ink isn't compatable with all
transparancy types (ink traces crack or run). I don't use what HP calls
for for a transparancy (it is just that, transparent) I go for settings
like heavy poster stock..etc. I have found that not all printers are
alike, HP's that is so you have to experiment with each one. Other
brands will probably require the same.

I built an exposure box for PC boards with 3 UV florescent 18" lamps
with foil covered curved reflectors behind the lamps to cover a 12"
width x 18" length. The lamps sit 6" below the exposure glass. I has a
lid with foam rubber attached to insure contact between the positive and
the PC board. The exposure time with this frame is 2 Min and 25 Seconds.
Controlled with an electronic timer.

Using commercial developer available from Web-tronics in powder form (I
buy them in packe of 25) for the best price. With a developer
temperature of 72 degres F. Development time is 1.5 minutes. The results
are the same with all commercial photo boards that I have tried. (ones
using UV). Perfect boards every time.

Vern Jones, Sound Research

Herbert Graf wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2003\01\05@202047 by Shawn Mulligan

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Thanks for the thorough description of the process -- we were just
discussing this Friday at work. What is the maximum resolution of your
process? Can it be used with, say, 44-QFP?




Vern Jones wrote:
>are the same with all commercial photo boards that I have tried. (ones
>using UV). Perfect boards every time.
>


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2003\01\05@205038 by Jose

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I also had problems with exposure times, so the solution for me was to start
a simpler method to make PCBs, Just print you design mirrored in a laser
printer or  xerox it over a glossy or photo paper, then iron it over a blank
copper board, remove the sheet of paper with water and presto!  You have
transfered the toner image to the copper.

The kind of paper is very important, you can also try common paper, but it
will giveyou a low resolution image.

Good Luck
{Original Message removed}

2003\01\05@210951 by Michael Walentine

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> Are we talking just normal lye, like red devil lye?  Also, what type of a
> container does this mixture need to be in?  Can it still be in plastic, or
> are we up to glass only level now?
>

Red Devil works quite well.

Simple plastic container.  I use a 2-quart mixing bowl (dedicated to it's
purpose, of course!).

> > -  More home chemistry...  To etch boards, I use a solution of 1 part
37%
> > HCl (available as 'Muriatic acid' at your local home improvement store!)
> and
> > 2 parts 3% hydrogen peroxide (again from the grocery store), and agitate
> > gently.  **While mixing and using the solution, proper ventilation is
> > EXTREMELY important** (and someday, I will practice what I preach ;-)
> >
>
> This Muriatic acid - will the types for swimming pools work?  or are their
> different concentrations available that I need to look for?

Yes, it is the same type.  I don't know why they still use this name for
Hydrochloric Acid.

> Also, disposal of this home brew etching material - how to do it?  I've
> never had to get rid of exess muriatic acid before...

When I use it, I use a small amount of the solution, neutralize with bicarb,
and it's safe to go down the drain.

> Also, what types of gloves do you use for handling?

Nitrile, Vinyl, Neoprene, Latex have an Excellent rating for chemical
resistance for these chemicals.  Rubber also works well, but if you plan to
submerge the gloves in the acid solution for asubstantial amount of time,
they tend to degrade slightly (and with a foul odor), but are still more
than adequate.  I usualy use Vinyl or Latex.

--Mike

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2003\01\05@214424 by Russell McMahon

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> > > -  More home chemistry...  To etch boards, I use a solution of 1 part
> 37%
> > > HCl (available as 'Muriatic acid' at your local home improvement
store!)
> > and
> > > 2 parts 3% hydrogen peroxide (again from the grocery store), and
agitate
> > > gently.  **While mixing and using the solution, proper ventilation is
> > > EXTREMELY important** (and someday, I will practice what I preach ;-)

This is one of the most effective and least safe etching compounds around.
It works very well.
It makes REALLY REALLY REALLY nasty fumes.
I'm told it's also carcinogenic.
Works well though :-)

       RM

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2003\01\05@223452 by PicDude

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I recently got excellent results using an HP 930C printer,
with HP black ink, and printing on some transparent window
decals that I picked up.  Can't remember the brand, but
I can get it for you in a couple weeks when I get back.

With the decals, it's easy to put the image in place,
but they're not re-useable.  The impression was very
nice and dark though.

Cheers,
-Neil.



> {Original Message removed}

2003\01\05@231310 by Katinka Mills

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{Quote hidden}

Glad it is working :o)


> 1) Seems I didn't let it sit *quite* long enough in the developer - there
> are some small streaky areas of copper, really small - mostly right around
> the traces or pads, but nothing affecting continuity of the rest of the
> board

Are you sure the coating was not damaged in these areas, and that nothing
brushed over the coating in the developer tank (I made the mistake once of
using a brush lol)

{Quote hidden}

I would try tracing paper in the laser printer first. My Brother HL1440
works well in 600 x 600 mode for my surface mount PCB's, and I still have
the option of going up to 1200 X 600 (although this slows the print speed
down too much)

Regards,

Kat.

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2003\01\05@235958 by Herbert Graf

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> I recently got excellent results using an HP 930C printer,
> with HP black ink, and printing on some transparent window
> decals that I picked up.  Can't remember the brand, but
> I can get it for you in a couple weeks when I get back.
>
> With the decals, it's easy to put the image in place,
> but they're not re-useable.  The impression was very
> nice and dark though.

       Oh, I see, you actually got the ink to transfer to the PCB with that
method? I am VERY interested in how you got this to work, I would love to do
it that way versus the photo resist method. Thanks, TTYL

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2003\01\06@001203 by Herbert Graf

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> I would try tracing paper in the laser printer first. My Brother HL1440
> works well in 600 x 600 mode for my surface mount PCB's, and I still have
> the option of going up to 1200 X 600 (although this slows the print speed
> down too much)

       Tracing paper works? That's an excellent idea if it works with ink jets
since ink jet transparencies are so bleeding expensive. I don't know how
much bleeding would occur. How about regular paper, how transparent to UV is
it? TTYL

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2003\01\06@004205 by PicDude

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Hmmm... I was referring to the positive photofabrication process.
Not transferring to the PCB directly.



Herbert Graf wrote:
>
>         Oh, I see, you actually got the ink to transfer to the
> PCB with that
> method? I am VERY interested in how you got this to work, I would
> love to do
> it that way versus the photo resist method. Thanks, TTYL

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2003\01\06@005203 by Katinka Mills

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{Quote hidden}

The problem I had with regular paper is it has inconsistent grain and
blotches, these would show up as areas where the copper would not etch away
cleanly esp between SM pads. Switched to Tracing paper, and shortened the
exposure (less than 60 seconds in my exposure unit) and all is kewl now
(just need to research tin plating)

Regards,

Kat.

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2003\01\06@025237 by Roman Black

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Herbert Graf wrote:
>
> > I would try tracing paper in the laser printer first. My Brother HL1440
> > works well in 600 x 600 mode for my surface mount PCB's, and I still have
> > the option of going up to 1200 X 600 (although this slows the print speed
> > down too much)
>
>         Tracing paper works? That's an excellent idea if it works with ink jets
> since ink jet transparencies are so bleeding expensive. I don't know how
> much bleeding would occur. How about regular paper, how transparent to UV is
> it? TTYL


Any paper works, just rub it with a little cooking
oil on a cotton wool ball. It goes transparent
almost immediately.

My friend uses this technique to get a mirror image,
he photocopies the PCB artwork, rubs with oil to make
it transparent, then turns it over and can photocopy
through the paper to get the reverse image.

Because you need the reverse image to do the toner
iron-on direct to PCB, and magazines don't have the
reverse image as they expect people to use the old
clumsy transparency/developer method. ;o)
-Roman

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2003\01\06@025647 by Dominic Stratten

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I pay around 0.40ukp per sheet of inkjet transparency from a specialist
dealer (cheaper in bulk). I get excellent quality results from an Epson
printer and it makes near perfect PCB's. Not as cheap as tracing paper but I
definitely get consistent results. I expose for 12 mins on an old twin tube
UV box and have not had a duff PCB yet.

Dom
{Original Message removed}

2003\01\06@073308 by Tony Harris

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I tried the toner iron-on direct to PCB, but it didn't work out for me.  I
have not tried the "blue" press and peel stuff from Technik, but the method
of printing to certain types of standard paper and ironing, and the method
using another companies iron on toner transfer paper didn't work.

Unfortunately, it appears to have to do with the type of printer I have - as
I had asked in several places, and I can't afford at the moment to buy
another laser printer :(

-Tony
KG4WFX
> Because you need the reverse image to do the toner
> iron-on direct to PCB, and magazines don't have the
> reverse image as they expect people to use the old
> clumsy transparency/developer method. ;o)
> -Roman
>

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2003\01\06@155136 by Herbert Graf

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{Quote hidden}

       Hmm, I see, I will have to give it a try. The problem on my end is I only
have an inkjet available to me and I'm not sure how badly the ink would
bleed. Thanks for the info. TTYL

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2003\01\06@155520 by Herbert Graf

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> Any paper works, just rub it with a little cooking
> oil on a cotton wool ball. It goes transparent
> almost immediately.

       Very good idea!

> Because you need the reverse image to do the toner
> iron-on direct to PCB, and magazines don't have the
> reverse image as they expect people to use the old
> clumsy transparency/developer method. ;o)

       What do you use for the iron on? Thanks, TTYL

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2003\01\06@172241 by Mike Harrison

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On Mon, 6 Jan 2003 15:50:00 -0500, you wrote:

>> > > I would try tracing paper in the laser printer first. My
>> Brother HL1440
>> > > works well in 600 x 600 mode for my surface mount PCB's, and I
>> > still have
>> > > the option of going up to 1200 X 600 (although this slows the
>> > print speed
>> > > down too much)
>> >
>> >         Tracing paper works? In Lasers - absolutely, and it's WAY better than transparency film - just use the thickest stuff you
can find (at least 90GSM).

>That's an excellent idea if it works
>> > with ink jets
I've heard good results using old HP inkjets with tracing paper - not heard about more recent ones.
More info at my site : http://www.netcomuk.co.uk/~wwl/pcbs.html

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2003\01\06@180259 by Kyrre Aalerud

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I finally got my Calcomp plotter to do something useful in this area...

Now I can plot a layout directly onto polished copper and etch right away.
It works, and Stadtler has sendt me some new penns I'll test tomorrow.
They're supposed to have superior coating ability and be completely
acid/water resistant.

The pen I now use have a width of about 0.3mm so there are big limits, but
the fill it gives is excellent.
I found that it creates a bit wider tracks at lowest speed, but in return I
get perfect coverage.
(Lowest speed is btw 1 inch/sec.)

I have made a movie of a layout being plotted and will publish it together
with high resolution images of the etched PCB on my web sometime.

This method is much faster for me as my UV exposure unit takes 45 minutes
for a good transfer.
And, as others have said, it's not as messy.

   KreAture

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2003\01\06@180836 by Mitchell D. Miller

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On Tue, 7 Jan 2003, Kyrre Aalerud wrote:

> I finally got my Calcomp plotter to do something useful in this area...
>

What model plotter do you have?

-- Mitch

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2003\01\06@181459 by Kyrre Aalerud

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It's a CalComp 2024 PaceSetter.
Using HPGL.  Directly supported in Eagle :-)

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Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 12:10 AM
Subject: Re: PCB exposure/developing timing?


{Quote hidden}

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2003\01\06@182043 by Herbert Graf

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> >That's an excellent idea if it works
> >> > with ink jets
> I've heard good results using old HP inkjets with tracing paper -
> not heard about more recent ones.

       Well that's good news, I've got an HP560C lying around, it's "old" by
todays standards.

> More info at my site :
> http://www.netcomuk.co.uk/~wwl/pcbs.html

       Thanks alot for the link. TTYL

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2003\01\06@232001 by Tony Harris

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Can you tell me (us:) more about this plotter?  Where did you get it?  What
kinds of pens did you get?  Where are you getting pens?  What size/thickness
copper clad boards are you using?  Have you attempted double sided?   How
well does the ink stand up to etching?

Thanks in advance!!

-Tony
KG4WFX

----- Original Message -----
From: "Kyrre Aalerud" <spamBeGonekreature@spam@spamspam_OUTC2I.NET>
To: <TakeThisOuTPICLISTspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Monday, January 06, 2003 5:20 PM
Subject: Re: PCB exposure/developing timing?


> It's a CalComp 2024 PaceSetter.
> Using HPGL.  Directly supported in Eagle :-)
>

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