Category: Electronics

DIY PCB Fabrication Using Laser Printer

Electronic circuitry is indeed complex that hooking up all its components, including diodes, condensers, capacitors, transistors, resistors, and many others requires plenty of wires and room to contain all of them. As a result, printed circuit board or PCB fabrication had been formulated to simplify and facilitate the process of circuitry. PCBs are also responsible for the compact size of the electronic equipment at present. Do-it-yourself PCB fabrication is deemed as the standard procedure designed for enthusiasts in building variation in the design of the circuitry, though many favor laser printers because of the convenience they provide from preparation through completion.

Pcb fabrication

What is in a Printed Circuit Board?

A printed circuit board is generally made out of a hard insulated substrate, a thin layer of copper, and a surface clad. The printed circuitry is placed on the surface of the copper. The board is then drenched in an etching solution to eliminate copper in surfaces not included in the design. After that, holes are drilled through and several electronic components are set in position and soldered. Ammonium Persufate or Ferric Chloride is the etching solution that can be used for this step.

Why laser printers is good at making DIY PCB?

To build the circuit pattern, it should be engrossed in an anti-etch substance. Toner is a great example of an anti-etch substance since it will not melt or break down when drenched in the etching solution. It is generally made of carbon particles and plastic.

How is the toner transfer method performed?

At the moment, it is still not possible to print circuit layouts directly on the printed circuit board though experts are carrying on with the study to make it happen. While it is still not feasible, it is the toner transfer method that is most widely used. The process of doing this is detailed below.

1. The first step of the toner transfer method involves printing of the circuit layout on a special paper using a laser printer. The printed layout is then laid flat over the side of the board with the copper.

2. Apply heat on the printed media to make it possible for fusing. The goal in this step is to transfer the printed design directly on the board’s copper surface without the need to use any sort of chemicals.

3. After a few minutes of exposing the printed toner to heat, the laser printer toner is now able to stick to the surface it touches. The circuit layout that remains to be sticking to the surface of the copper will function as the anti-resist material.

4. For setups that are more complex, make use of a flat iron or modified laminating device for fusing.

5. As soon as the fusing process is completed, submerge the printed circuit board in water. By doing this, the cover paper can already be taken off. Examine the printed layout for any rupture.

6. The printed circuit board is then drenched in the etch solution in order to clear away the board of copper. When the board is already cleared, provide a protective covering by spraying transparent green enamel.

7. Finally, the Pcb fabrication process is concluded by drilling holes on the board and then installing the different electronic parts.

Indeed, performing PCB fabrication at home is a fairly basic process.
What the makers would need is only patience, particularly in the initial steps of the process. Aside from the board where all the other electrical components are going to be installed, only a computer, a printing device, and an etching solution are the required tools to complete this application.