Make Your Own PCB’s
Using a piece of copper clad, a sharpie, a drill, and some basic chemicals, it can be easy to create your own circuit boards.
Printed circuit boards or PCB’s use copper traces to complete connections between electronic components such as resistors, capacitors, and microchips. In order to create these traces on a piece of copper clad, it is common to use chemical etchant and a resist such as permanent ink. The following instructions outline how this process can be completed at home.
After designing a circuit and testing it on a breadboard, the circuit can be transferred to a piece of copper clad board using several different methods. This copper clad board can be purchased online or at a your local hobby electronics store. Two sided, or one sided boards can be used. Using a permanent Sharpie marker, a completed circuit can be transferred to the copper clad board. Care should be taken to make sure that marker is covering all of the areas that will need to remain as circuit traces. Other high and low-tech methods of transferring circuits to copper clad can be found here:
After transferring your drawn-on circuit to a copper clad board, the next step is to soak the board in a chemical solution called an etchant. Ferric Chloride is the traditional choice for etching pcb’s, however a 2 to 1 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and hydrochloric acid can also be used. This process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour depending on the strength of the etchant. More information on this mixture can be found here.
After etching the board, a #60 – #76 sized drill bit can be used to create the holes for the electronic components. Check the size of the leads on your components to verify what size drill bit will best suit your project. A drill press is ideal, but any old drill will do. After the board has been etched and drilled, it can be populated with the necessary electronic components and soldered. Tips on soldering can be found here: