Introduction to PCB Manufacture for Hobby
The end result of an electronics project is determined by a few factors
It normally starts with the strong enthusiasm in the project chosen, going on to schematic or circuit design, printed circuit board design, software programming if microcontroller is involved and building protoypes.
These are the common low cost PCB that eletronics hobbyist or students can use for their projects
Of course there are more complicated multilayer PCB that are used in the industry for various applications.
There are many different types of Printed Circuit Board materials in the market these days
The common ones are FR-1, FR-2, CEM-1, CEM-3 and FR-4 .
The thickness of the PCB can be 1.0mm, 1.2mm or 1.6mm. They can be single sided or double sided with cooper clad of 1 oz or 2 oz.
If you are an electronics hobbyist or students who are tight on the budget of making PCB, how do you make your own printed circuit board? If you were like me, I used to go through the many processes in making the Printed Circuit Board a few years ago. I used to make the Printed Circuit Board layout, print the layout on a suitable transparency (one that can withstand the temperature of the laser printer and photocopy machines), use of photoresist chemical (require a dark room to do this) on the Printed Circuit Board to ensure that the Printed Circuit Board pattern can be transferred to the Printed Circuit Board, transfer the layout from the transparency to the Printed Circuit Board by the use of ultra violet light, use of developer to develop the pattern on the Printed Circuit Board, etched the developed pattern on the Printed Circuit Board, washed the Printed Circuit Board, drilled the required holes, mount the components and solder the components.
Over the years, I have found out that with the advancement of technology, there are better ways to do the Printed Circuit Board processes. It helps to eliminate the use of darkrooms, photoresist chemical, developer chemical, negatives/transparency, ultra violet lights and long waiting time to cure the photoresist. In simplifying the making of Printed Circuit Board, the direct benefit of this is it reduces the cost needed to set up the Printed Circuit Board making facilities.