Etching PCBs

I’ve always wanted to try making my own pcbs. I ordered 10 small FR4-Boards and started tinkering with the toner transfer. I printed my design on a glossy photo paper and put it on the board. I used a laminator for the heat transfer and tried to lift off the paper under a steady stream of water. It took me six tries to get it “right”. After the first three unsuccessful tries I changed to a magazine page and printed my design on there. Here’s what I learned so far:

  • Glossy photo paper was to thick and it wouldn’t work get the toner all the way to the board.(Board 1, 2, 3)
  • The heat of the laminator is pretty limited and it takes about 6 minutes of continuously¬† putting it through.
  • Cooling the board of in water helps let the toner stick to the pcb fast. As soon as the pcb comes off the heat it should be cooled.
  • The laminator can and will wrinkle the paper! (Board 3, 5)
  • If there is an image on the backside of the transfer paper the toner won’t transfer! (Board 4)
Numbering from left top to bottom right
Here’s my best attempt so far

I still have some ways to go, given that I need to etch the board to see how it worked out. Also, I don’t yet know what clearances I am able to etch and or transfer. Time will tell…

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