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Alan and the Photolithography PCB Making Process
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Project_Nightmare
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Joined: 12 Oct 2007
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Location: Gig Harbor, WA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:59 am    Post subject: Alan and the Photolithography PCB Making Process Reply with quote

I was thinking about using the steps that were mentioned in this tutorial ( http://hackedgadgets.com/2006/06/24/photo-etch-circuit-board-process ) but I have some questions before I try it.

Do fingerprints have an effect on the transparency when they are applied to the photoresist (Like what they do when you touch the board before you etch it)?
How do we know when the developer is done in dark room conditions using red lighting?
How easy is it to remove too much resist in the developer stage?
Would I encounter any problems if I use HCL (+H2O2) as my etchant (with the exception of me accidentally mixing a super acid (HCl) with a super base (drano: NaOH) from me forgetting to wash the board)?

I already have the HCl (muriatic acid) and the developer (which is black and white positive photography developer). Oh, and last of all, why are transperancies so dang expensive Question
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Project_Nightmare
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Evil or Very Mad Crying or Very sad Evil or Very Mad aww, all that hard work wasted. My PCB CAD isn't letting me print out the format that is needed for this process.

Alan what CAD did you use (if you used Eagle, could you recommend an alternate that can do these kind of layouts)Question
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Alan
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Project_Nightmare wrote:
Evil or Very Mad Crying or Very sad Evil or Very Mad aww, all that hard work wasted. My PCB CAD isn't letting me print out the format that is needed for this process.

Alan what CAD did you use (if you used Eagle, could you recommend an alternate that can do these kind of layouts)Question


I used http://www.expresspcb.com/ for this one. I am now using Eagle for everything.
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Project_Nightmare
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:37 am    Post subject: Re: Alan and the Photolithography PCB Making Process Reply with quote

I still have these questions:

Project_Nightmare wrote:
Do fingerprints have an effect on the transparency when they are applied to the photoresist (Like what they do when you touch the board before you etch it)?
How do we know when the developer is done in dark room conditions using red lighting?
How easy is it to remove too much resist in the developer stage?
Would I encounter any problems if I use HCL (+H2O2) as my etchant (with the exception of me accidentally mixing a super acid (HCl) with a super base (drano: NaOH) from me forgetting to wash the board)? Question


Eagle? I'd love Eagle if it wasn't limited to its build size and my current design is bigger than those demensions. And I also use ExpressPCB, but it can't make the type of layouts for the transparencies.
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Alan
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:49 am    Post subject: Re: Alan and the Photolithography PCB Making Process Reply with quote

Project_Nightmare wrote:
I still have these questions:

Project_Nightmare wrote:
Do fingerprints have an effect on the transparency when they are applied to the photoresist (Like what they do when you touch the board before you etch it)?
How do we know when the developer is done in dark room conditions using red lighting?
How easy is it to remove too much resist in the developer stage?
Would I encounter any problems if I use HCL (+H2O2) as my etchant (with the exception of me accidentally mixing a super acid (HCl) with a super base (drano: NaOH) from me forgetting to wash the board)? Question


Eagle? I'd love Eagle if it wasn't limited to its build size and my current design is bigger than those demensions. And I also use ExpressPCB, but it can't make the type of layouts for the transparencies.


David Cook wrote a good article on how to do it. You can see it here
http://www.robotroom.com/PCB.html
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Project_Nightmare
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

but that is the toner transfer method, in which case, I know how to do perfectly fine Rolling Eyes I am trying to do what Eagle does by making lines around the wire routes and not print the wires themselves (it'll be helpful if someone can tell me what it is called because I think it's called a PhotoMask or Photoplotting Sad ). That is why I can't use ExpressPCB for the prints Crying or Very sad

I'm trying to find a CAD that does this that isn't Eagle (because of its limited layout size):
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Nginuity
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've done that before in my graphics software by inverting the color pallete of the image. White goes black, black goes white. If you don't have good graphics software, I MAY be talked into writing a PHP script that reverses it for you and prints it in your browser Smile
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Project_Nightmare
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've tried to do that, but the only way I can make an image with it that might me use-able is to produce a .xps file. However that is as far as I can go since it wouldn't let me edit the image Evil or Very Mad
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Nginuity
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Project_Nightmare wrote:
I've tried to do that, but the only way I can make an image with it that might me use-able is to produce a .xps file. However that is as far as I can go since it wouldn't let me edit the image Evil or Very Mad


How big is your board size? If you can describe the process to me a little better (I know you have been really clear so far), I would like to try to replicate your problem and then possibly code a solution that doesn't need a graphics editor. A lot of times, image files can be converted to RAW with ease, and then manipulated accordingly.

By the way, while we are talking about etchant, I use a 3:1 mixture of muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide (3%). It works very well, and all's I have to do to neutralize it is dump baking soda in it.
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Project_Nightmare
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nginuity wrote:
By the way, while we are talking about etchant, I use a 3:1 mixture of muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide (3%). It works very well, and all's I have to do to neutralize it is dump baking soda in it.

That is what I was planning to do with the etchant Twisted Evil

The pcb design is around 5 x 5 and is designed in ExpressPCB which wouldn't allow me to print in the layout needed for transparencies (does not allow me to export pcb images unless they are in the form of being printed on paper) Crying or Very sad

Hopefully I can design it to use a PIC to perform some of the component's simple functions and make it smaller so I can make it in Eagle Rolling Eyes
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Nginuity
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Project_Nightmare wrote:
(does not allow me to export pcb images unless they are in the form of being printed on paper)


Easy....just get a free "Print to PDF" utility!
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Alan
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I did is to show the image on the screen then do a print screen. The print screen was then captured and cropped. I then imported it into word and changed the width to the correct size (as designed)

Let me know how the etchant making goes. I have tried it once with not so good results... Making and using that etchant would make a good feature article if there were a bunch of pictures to go along with the process. Smile
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Nginuity
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan, I have had good results using a large pill bottle for the acid peroxide measurement. There is also a nice instructable out there:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Stop-using-Ferric-Chloride-etchant!--A-better-etc/?comments=all

I goofed earlier when I said 3:1. The instructable says 1:2 acid to peroxide. I must have been thinking of something else, like a margarita recipe. Actually, come to think of it, I was using 1:3 alright, but my etching was a little slower than his seems to be.
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Alan
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great article, nice find!
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Project_Nightmare
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Joined: 12 Oct 2007
Posts: 119
Location: Gig Harbor, WA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nginuity wrote:
Alan, I have had good results using a large pill bottle for the acid peroxide measurement. There is also a nice instructable out there:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Stop-using-Ferric-Chloride-etchant!--A-better-etc/?comments=all

I goofed earlier when I said 3:1. The instructable says 1:2 acid to peroxide. I must have been thinking of something else, like a margarita recipe. Actually, come to think of it, I was using 1:3 alright, but my etching was a little slower than his seems to be.


That was where i got the idea to use Muriatic Acid Exclamation


And thanks Nginuty, I got it to print to pdf with http://www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp and now I know how to do everything else, thanks so much Very Happy Cool Twisted Evil
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