A true hacker makes his own PCBs

A true hacker makes his own PCBs. Dual layer. And in the kitchen. Why so? Because doing them as DIY and not paying lots of money to some greedy company is some kind of hack.
And if it wasn’t for all the issues I had with the Portable Environmental monitor along the road, I could have used the nice OSHPark voucher I won on Hackaday (Thanks again guys!). But I’ve just finished the PCB design last night:
I know, it looks sweet! And the PCB must do as well. But no time to order them in US, ship them in Europe, solder all parts, test the software and ship the 3 prototypes to Hackaday headquarters before August 17.
Instead I checked locally with a few companies, but their price offer was and average of 300USD for 10 PCBs (with a 100% emergency tax added). That seems ridiculous so no thanks. I did however order a few in China, where 3 companies I know charged between $0.5 and $3 per PCB plus shipping, and they offer top quality. Now that’s a huge difference. But all in one, time’s too short to wait for shipping. And as I do have a bottle of Ferric Chloride in the kitchen, here’s how the first uRADMonitor-D PCB was made:

This first one was a single layer, doing the top layer with tiny wires (possible as all wires are either horizontal or vertical). Those under the microcontroller were soldered with just a very tiny cap, that was reduced even further with a fine file. Seeing how good it goes, I decided the next two will be dual layer. And so they were, with the layers perfectly matched for even those tiny holes.
Almost there!

This article has 7 Comments

  1. It’s a toner transfer paper, but if you ask me, just a simple glossy paper. You can use any glazed paper and get similar results.

  2. Where have you bought the transfer paper? I think I want to try it.(I’m from Timisoara)
    Previously I used some transparent foil and failed miserably, and I don’t want to put any glossy paper in my work laser printer 🙂

  3. I use glossy photo paper for laser printers, it works ok, but it is not always great as the laser printer paper sticks quite well to the toner, but it will not destroy your printer.

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