It is a wonderful opportunity to create a piece of technology that functions properly, the way you really want it to be. Because of this, many college students opt to study in Universities that specialized in degree programs such as Electronics and Electronics and Communication. However, if you want to practice electronics at home, you can do so. This way, you can take your creativity, resourcefulness, and other skills to the next level by creating or recreating electronic projects that you are interested in.
This article lets you in on one of the most cost efficient ways to do your own PCB fabrication.
Planning your DIY PCB fabrication
Before you go out and buy the material that you think you need, you must first plan ahead. This way, you will purchase those that you need only and nothing more. It is a way to produce a cost efficient but definitely effective electronic device.
First off, think of what device you want to create or recreate. For example, you want to recreate a radio transistor. Carefully think out what components you will need in order to produce the required type of connection on the PCB. As you think about the device and the requirements for it to work, try to create a picture if it in your mind.
Next is to draw your schematic diagram. This is when your mental image of the device becomes necessary. Did you picture your device to be small or big? If you prefer a handier transistor radio, then you may need to sketch a smaller diagram. But you need to keep in mind that the smaller your schematic diagram is, the more elaborate and meticulous you should be in making the PCB.
While drawing the diagram, you should be aware of how many resistors, capacitors, diodes, and transistors are needed. Make way for an on and off switch. You may also want to add embellishments like led lights to indicate whether the device is on or not. Consider all of these things before you purchase anything.
The PCB fabrication procedure
The next step is to determine what etching method is the best for you. You can choose among four methods. This includes the acid etching method, UV etching method, mechanical or routing etching method, and the laser etching method. For homemade PCB, the most advisable is the Acid etching method.
In this method, materials are very much available in most hardware stores. However, this is also the slowest and the messiest. You can use Ferric Chloride or Ammonium Persulphate. These two chemicals attack metals such as copper (the usual conductor surface of a PCB).
After purchasing a board, the acid of your choice, electronic components, and a permanent marker (for masking the needed portions of the copper surface), you are now ready to conduct your PCB fabrication.
Draw the layout of the schematic diagram on the copper surface of the PCB using the permanent marker. This way, the needed part will not be corroded by acid. Once you have drawn the layout, set it aside to dry. Meanwhile, mix the Ferric Chloride granules with warm water. The more diluted the solution is, the less effective it will be. Submerge the PCB you have prepare in the solution.
After a while, the unneeded portions of the copper surface will be removed. You can now drill holes on appropriate parts of your PCB. Drill holes on ends of copper surfaces, so that you can mount the necessary components.
Then, mount the components and solder it using a soldering iron and lead. Let it cool down for a while, and then conduct a test experiment. If it works, then you have successfully done your DIY PCB fabrication!
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