I want to make a PCB for a project，but all the DIY options are kind of bad，I mean，the owner transfer never seems to come out right. Photo lithography in the kitchen is seriously involved with masks, photoresists, developing chemicals, and CNC milling is seriously loud and expensive. Sure, I can order a batch of 20 of my PCBs from China, but it'll take weeks to arrive. I want it now. You want it now, so you can prototype and iterate fast. So I searched far and wide for a rapid, almost zero skill solution for PCB prototype production, and I found it a few years ago. To my surprise, most engineers I've talked to don't know about it, so I made this video to share the knowledge.
The miracle solution is UV printing. They're mostly being used to customize objects, fans, phone cases, plaques and all sorts of knickknacks. You've probably seen a kiosk at your local mall that will mark objects for you. Basically, they attach ink to anything, and this is what I use to make PCBs. The results are spectacular, but most importantly, consistent.
Take a look at this test pattern. look at how fine those lines are, and this is not a fluke. Board after board will come out like this with no effort, no more duds, no more retries and countless lost hours fiddling with stuff. But I don't have a UV printer, I almost hear you saying. You may not have one but remember those kiosks? Chances are the mall near you has one with a UV printer. Let me guide you step-by-step through the process so you can understand it fully.
You take one copper clad laminate. If it doesn't have a protection foil, scrub it down really well to clean it. Prepare a vector file with the design you want to etch onto the plate. PDF is fine. Go down to the mall kiosk with the UV printer and tell them you want to print a design on your copperplate. They might tell you it won't hold, that's fine. Tell them you just need it for a few hours. Instruct them to print it directly onto the board with black ink. Some will offer to put down primer paint or lacquer onto the board, so the ink will stay on better. Refuse it. It is imperative that it's only your design in basic UV ink on the copper. It shouldn't cost too much.
Take your inked board. Be careful. although the ink is polymerized, copper is not the ideal material for it to. I stick to, I wrap my boards in Sandwich foil to protect the ink on the drive home. After this, you can just drop the board into the etching bath. I use normal warm ferric chloride, but any etchant should work. after the etching is done, wash it of chemicals and you'll be left to laminate board with your design. Problem ism, the ink is still on it. No worries, just grab some isopropyl alcohol, rubbing alcohol plus a rag or cotton bud and clean it vigorously.
The ink should come off easily. And that's it. You have your fine design perfectly reproduced on a copper PCB with really zero effort and no special skills. And hey, if you or your department need a lot of PCB printing, you can even buy a UV printer for your office. There are quiet as regular printers, unlike those CNC PCB production machines, cheaper to run too. I'm sure your local makerspace will love it.
Comment if you have any questions. I'll actually answer. I heard liking the video does something to you, not sure what.
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