PCB or Printed Circuit Board is used to electronically connect and mechanically support electronic components with the use of conductive pathways, signal or tracks traces etched from copper sheets laminated into a non-conductive substrate.
PCB fabrication can be done in many ways. They all work, but some are better than others, some are faster than others and some cost less than others. Below are steps in making PCB without spending a lot of money and fast.
Materials You Need
- Copper board
- Laser printer
- A laminator or an iron
- Etching solution (hydrogen peroxide plus hydrochloric acid)
- Plastic flat container
- Fine sandpaper or steel wool
- A dermal (for the trough-hole components)
- Soldering iron
Step 1 – Preparing the Board
The first step in PCB fabrication is preparing the board. Cut a piece of board with the size of the circuit add 3mm per side. Use sandpaper to scratch the surface to make the tone transfer better.
Step 2 – Print a Schematic Diagram
The schematic diagram shows the link of the parts on the plank. Each part should have a reference designator that is the same on the one shown on the BOM or Bill of Materials. Most of the schematic layout programs allow automatic generation of the BOM. Include in the list all the additional information helpful to the assembly process, such as part spacers, mounting hardware, connector shrouds, or any other material not indicated in the schematic diagram. Print the design using a special transfer paper via a laser printer.
Step 3 – Toner Transferring
Place the paper with the schematic design on the prepared board and make sure it fits perfectly and there is no toner out the board. Then fold the paper wrapping the board and hold it together using tape. Using your soldering iron, iron the toner side for around 1 minute or slide it in a laminator ten to fifteen times.
Step 4 – Removing the Paper
Place the board under tap water and wet until the paper softens. Rub the paper off to display the toner circuit.
Step 5 – The Etching
Etching is the most important step in PCB fabrication, so make sure that you do it carefully. Place the etching solution (hydrochloric acid + hydrogen peroxide) in the container. Place the circuit board in the solution with the copper facing down. Check the board every minute to see how it goes. As soon as the last copper trace disappears, remove the circuit from the solution and allow it to dries up to stop the acid action.
Step 6 – Clean the Circuit Board
Use acetone to remove the toner. Then polish the copper to enhance its appearance. Remove the remaining toner and polish it again using a paper moistened with acetone.
Step 7 – Drilling the Holes
If you are using trough-hole components, your next step is to create holes in your PCB. Using a Dremel with a fine drill bit, make the hole for all the components. Then create funnels using a round tip mill to make it easy for you to install the components.
Step 8 – Soldering
Soldering is the final step in PCB fabrication. It is the step where lead is fastened to a PCB with the use of heat to melt the metallic compound surrounding the lead and in the copper pad of the board. Tin the parts where a component is going to be soldered. Solder all the components to keep them in place and then remove the remaining resin or flux. It is best to solder the parts only on the top side of the PCB. Some of the components include switches, heat sinks, connector, LEDs, mounting holes and any other items that are mounted to an external part.
It is important as it serves as the heart of the electronics, making everything function. A printed circuit board your most reliable source for high quality PCB and on time Printed Circuit Boards.