Build a Complete PCB Etching Station and Produce Boards in Just One Hour

Chinese manufacturers have made it easy to get custom made PCB delivered to your door for just a few dollars. Depending on the design, it…

Cabe Atwell
3 years ago

Chinese manufacturers have made it easy to get custom made PCB delivered to your door for just a few dollars. Depending on the design, it can take days or even months for them to arrive, which is one of the only drawbacks in going the offshoring route for printed circuit boards. While some people say there is no longer a need for in-home fabrication, Israeli physicist Tuval Ben Dosa disagrees, especially if you need to make design iterations on the fly, which is why he created his Complete PCB Etching Station.

Tuval states that he can fabricate a PCB in just one hour, and has created a detailed walkthrough that lets anyone do the same, beginning with the chemistry, which is copper chloride- an etchant that can be recharged by pushing air bubbles through it. On the mechanical end of his build, Tuval made use of an airtight glass food container for the bath, which sits on top of a heating element that uses a DS18B20 I2C temperature sensor to control that heat via an ATmega328 microcontroller.

The stirrer was designed using a PTFE coated magnet connected to a motor-mounted neodymium magnet mounted below the bath. Tuval then built a diaphragm pump (cooled by a small fan) to blow air through the etchant to recharge the solution, as well as a Venturi pump he designed to vent the chlorine gas during the etching process. Tuval’s walkthrough also includes the electrical design for the project, and he has uploaded the code and design files to his GrabCAD page for those who would like to recreate his Complete PCB Etching Station.

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