A simple way to make printed circuit boards (not LUT)

When there is a laser printer at its disposal, radio amateurs apply the technology of manufacturing printed circuit boards, which is called LUT. However, such a device is not available in every home, because even in our time it is quite expensive. There is also manufacturing technology using photoresistive film. However, to work with it, you also need a printer, but already an inkjet one. Already it is easier, but the film itself is quite expensive, and for a beginner radio amateur, at first it is better to spend the money on a good soldering station and other accessories. Is it possible to make a printed circuit board of acceptable quality at home without a printer? Yes. Can. And, if everything is done, as described in the material, it will take quite a bit of money and time, and the quality will be at a very high level. In any case, the electric current "will run" along such paths with great pleasure.

The list of necessarytools and consumables

You should start with the preparation of tools, accessories and consumables, without which you just can not do. To implement the most cost-effective way of making printed circuit boards at home, you will need the following:
  1. Software for drawing design.
  2. Transparent plastic film.
  3. Narrow tape.
  4. Marker.
  5. Foil fiberglass laminate.
  6. Sandpaper.
  7. Alcohol.
  8. Unnecessary toothbrush.
  9. A tool for drilling holes with a diameter of 0.7 to 1.2 mm.
  10. Chlorine iron.
  11. Plastic pickling tank.
  12. Paintbrush.
  13. Soldering iron.
  14. Pr Ipoi.
  15. Liquid flux.
A simple way to manufacture printed circuit boards is not LUT
Let's walk briefly on each item, as there are some nuances that can be reached only by experience. Programs for the development of printed circuit boards exist today number, but for a beginner amateur radio Sprint Layout is the easiest option. It is easy to master the interface, you can use it for free, there is a huge library, including common radio components. Polyethylene is needed to transfer a picture from the monitor.It is better to take a film harder, for example, from old covers for school books. To attach it to the monitor, any scotch tape will do. It is better to take a narrow one - it will be easier to peel off (this procedure does not harm the monitor). The markers should be discussed in more detail, since this is a sore subject. To transfer the pattern to polyethylene, in principle, any option will do. But for drawing on foiled fiberglass we need a special marker. But there is a little trick on how to save money, and not buying expensive “special” markers for drawing printed circuit boards. The fact is that these products in their properties are absolutely no different from ordinary permanent markers, which are sold 5-6 times cheaper in any office supply store. But the marker must necessarily have the inscription "Permanent". Otherwise it will not work.
A simple way to manufacture printed circuit boards is not LUT
Foil glass fiber can be taken any. It is better if it is thicker. Beginners with such material work much easier. To clean it, you will need sandpaper with a grain size of about 1000 units, as well as alcohol (available at any pharmacy).The last consumables can be replaced with liquid for the information of nail polish, which is in any house where a woman lives. However, this tool smells rather disgusting and weathered for a long time. It is better to have a special mini-drill or engraver for drilling the board. However, you can go a cheaper way. It is enough to buy a collet or cam chuck for small drills and adapt it to an ordinary household drill. You can replace ferric chloride with other chemical means, including those that you probably already have in your home. For example, a solution of citric acid in hydrogen peroxide is suitable. Information on how to prepare alternative ferric chloride compounds for etching boards, without any problems can be found on the Web. The only thing worth paying attention to is the capacity for such chemistry - it should be plastic, acrylic, glass, but not metallic. There is no need to say more about the soldering iron, solder and liquid flux. If a radio amateur has come to the question of manufacturing a printed circuit board, then he is probably familiar with these things.

Designing and transferring the board pattern to a template

When all the above tools, accessories and consumables are prepared,you can take up the development of a fee. If the manufactured device is not unique, it will be much easier to download its project from the Network. Even an ordinary JPEG picture is suitable.
If you want to go more complicated way - draw the board yourself. This option is often unavoidable, for example, in situations where you do not have exactly the same radio components that are needed to assemble the original board. Accordingly, replacing components with analogs, they have to allocate space for fiberglass, adjust holes and paths. If the project is unique, then the board will have to be developed from scratch. To do this, you need the above software. When the layout of the board is ready, it remains only to transfer it to a transparent template. Polyethylene is fixed directly on the monitor with scotch tape. Then simply translate the existing picture - tracks, contact patches, and so on. For these purposes, it is best to use the same permanent marker. It does not erase, does not smear, and it is clearly visible.

Preparation of foil-coated fiberglass

The next stage is the preparation of fiberglass. First you need to cut it off by the size of the future fee.Do it better with a small margin. For cutting foiled fiberglass, you can use one of several methods. First, the material is perfectly cut with a hacksaw. Secondly, if you have an engraver with cutting wheels, it will be convenient to use it. Thirdly, glass fiber can be cut to size with a clerical knife. The cutting principle is the same as when working with a glass cutter - a cut line is applied in several passes, then the material is simply broken off.
A simple way to make printed boards is not LUT
A simple way to manufacture printed circuit boards is not LUT
Now you need to clean the copper layer of fiberglass from the protective coating and oxide. There is no better way than sandpaper processing to solve this problem. The granularity is taken from 1000 to 1500 units. The goal is to get a clean shiny surface. You shouldn’t clean the copper layer to a mirror shine, as small scratches from sandpaper increase the adhesion of the surface, which you will need further. In conclusion, it remains only to clean the foil from dust and tracesof your fingers. To do this, use alcohol or acetone (nail polish remover). After processing, we do not touch the copper surface. For further manipulations, we grab fiberglass laminate for faces.

Combining a template and fiberglass laminate

A simple method of manufacturing printed circuit boards is not LUT
Now our task is to combine the pattern obtained on polyethylene with a prepared glass fiber. To do this, the film is applied to the right place and positioned. The remains are wrapped on the opposite side and attached with the same scotch tape.
A simple way to make printed boards is not LUT
A simple way to manufacture printed circuit boards is not LUT

Drilling holes

Before drilling, it is recommended to fix the fiberglass laminate with the template on the surface in any way. This will allow to achieve greater accuracy, as well as eliminate the sudden turning of the material during the passage of the drill through. If you have a drilling machine for this kind of work,then the described problem does not arise at all.
A simple way to manufacture printed circuit boards is not LUT
Drilling holes in fiberglass is possible at any speed. Someone works at low speeds, someone at large. Experience shows that the drills themselves serve much longer when used at low speeds. So they are harder to break, bend and damage the sharpening. The holes are drilled directly through the polyethylene. The reference points will serve as future contact patches drawn on the template. If the project requires it, then we change the drills in time to the required diameter.

Drawing tracks

Next, the template is removed, but not ejected. We still try not to touch the copper coating. To draw tracks, we use a marker, necessarily permanent. He is clearly visible on the trail that he leaves. Drawing is better in one pass, since after hardening of the varnish that is included in the permanent marker, it will be very difficult to make edits. A simple way of manufacturing printed circuit boards is not LUT As a guide we use all the samepolyethylene pattern. You can also draw in front of the computer, referring to the original layout, where there are markings and other marks. If possible, it is better to use several markers with tips of different thickness. This will allow for better drawing of thin tracks and extensive polygons.
A simple way to make printed boards is not LUT
A simple way to manufacture printed circuit boards is not LUT
After applying the picture, we are definitely waiting for some time necessary for the final hardening of the varnish. You can even dry a hairdryer. The quality of future tracks will depend on this.
A simple method of making printed circuit boards is not LUT

Etching and cleaning tracks from the marker

Now the most interesting thing is etching the board. There are several nuances that few people mention, but they significantly affect the quality of the result. First of all, we prepare a solution of ferric chloride according to the recommendations on the package. Typically, the powder is diluted with water in a ratio of 1: 3. And here is the first tip. Make the solution more saturated.This will help speed up the process, and the drawn tracks will not fall off before you get everything you need.
A simple way of manufacturing printed circuit boards is not LUT
Immediately the second advice. It is recommended that the bath with the solution be immersed in hot water. You can heat it in a metal dish. The rise in temperature, as is known even from the school curriculum, greatly accelerates the chemical reaction by which etching of our board is. Reduction of the procedure time is at our disposal. Marker tracks are quite unstable, and the less they will sour in the liquid, the better. If at room temperature the charge in the ferric chloride is etched for about an hour, then in warm water this process is reduced to 10 minutes. Finally, another tip. In the process of etching, although it is already accelerated due to heating, it is recommended to constantly move the board, as well as brush off the reaction products with a brush for drawing. Combining all the above-described manipulations, it is quite possible to corrode excess copper in just 5-7 minutes, which is simply an excellent result for this technology.
A simple way to manufacture printed circuit boards is not LUT
At the end of the procedure, the board must be thoroughly rinsed under running water. Then dry it. It remains only to wash off the marks from the marker, still closing our tracks and patches. This is done with the same alcohol or acetone.
A simple way of manufacturing printed circuit boards is not LUT

Tinning of printed circuit boards

Before tinning again, we must go through the copper layer with sandpaper. But now we do it with extreme caution so as not to damage the tracks. The easiest and most affordable method of tinning is the traditional one, using a soldering iron, flux and solder. Rose or Wood alloys can also be used. There is also the so-called liquid tin on the market, which can significantly simplify the task. But all these new technologies require additional costs and some experience, therefore the classical method of tinning is suitable for the first time. Liquid flux is applied to the cleaned tracks. Then solder is collected on the tip of the soldering iron and distributed over the remaining copper after pickling. It is important to warm the tracks,otherwise, solder may not “stick”.
A simple way to manufacture printed circuit boards is not LUT
If you still have alloys Rose or Wood, then they can be used and not on technology. They just melt wonderfully with a soldering iron, are easily distributed along the tracks, do not get lumped, which for a beginner amateur radio operator will be only a plus. conditions really affordable and inexpensive. Do not need a printer, no iron, no expensive photoresist film.

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