Author Topic: Complete Home Custom PCB Fab Projec  (Read 5387 times)

Agastar

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Complete Home Custom PCB Fab Projec
« on: August 08, 2016, 09:42:31 AM »
Well, I've been busy last couple of days working on a side project for friend of mine's client. He has a business doing rapid prototypes but needed some help with the electronics part of it and reached out to me. I opened my mouth and suggested a change to the design and that resulted in an almost complete re-design of the electronics. The only thing that didn't change was the battery charger circuit.

I've been ordering my boards from OSHPark but they take 2-3 weeks to come back to you and this is not really conducive to rapid prototyping. The laser printer process I use for making PCBs is not bad but a bit manual so its time to build a more automated process for making these boards. I'm thinking something with an interchangeable head so I can swap the laser with a small router or Dremel and let  my A5 machine do double duty.

My little 500mW laser is too under powered for this task so the 6W or the twin 6W is going to be needed here. I've already switched over to the L6 board so next will need to be adding the limit switches as well as the z axis. After that I'll need to figure out how to make the laser and router interchangeable. First order of business once I get to a stopping point with this paid project is to finish up the driver boards already in progress and get them tested.

Once I get the end to end process laid out I'll post the steps here.



Lob0426

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Re: Complete Home Custom PCB Fab Projec
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2016, 08:54:57 PM »
Dang customers always get in the way. If it wasn't for money you would ignore them! LOL

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kibodwin

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Re: Complete Home Custom PCB Fab Projec
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2016, 02:19:16 AM »
Interesting project, keep us informed, I am very interested in your Z axis changes and the 6W laser, do you have a link for this 6W laser?
Thanks,
Ki
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Lob0426

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Re: Complete Home Custom PCB Fab Projec
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2016, 06:19:06 AM »
Richard
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Agastar

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Re: Complete Home Custom PCB Fab Projec
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2016, 09:20:37 AM »
Yes, that's the one and I'll be driving it with my custom made driver :) hopefully lol.

kibodwin

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Re: Complete Home Custom PCB Fab Projec
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2016, 02:58:28 AM »
Super, thanks for sharing. It is not for now as I feel my 2.5W can do sufficient damage but perhaps in the future.
Ki.
I think this is the one he is referring to.

https://sites.google.com/site/dtrlpf/home/diodes/6w-nubm44-445nm-laser-diode

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KompewterMan

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Re: Complete Home Custom PCB Fab Projec
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2016, 06:39:39 PM »
I haven't attempted it yet, but your laser may be able to remove the etch resist from the circuit board and you could etch your own boards in just hours instead of weeks. The entire board would need to be covered with a resist material. The laser could then be used to strip off the resist material in those areas where you want to remove the copper cladding. The board would then be bathed in the ferric chloride solution to remove the unprotected copper areas, and rinsed. Alcohol or other solvent would then be used to remove the remaining resist and the board rinsed again and ready for use.

I've made my own circuit boards for converting flashlights to LED operation. One utilized 48 5mm LEDs and another utilized 96 5mm and 10mm LEDs. They work great. I have also etched boards to convert the dome light of my car to LED lighting. After accidentally leaving the dome light on for several days, the car started right up as the LEDs use far less current than an incandescent bulb and drain the battery at a far slower rate.
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Agastar

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Re: Complete Home Custom PCB Fab Projec
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2016, 10:46:44 AM »
My 500mW laser was not strong enough to burn the etch resist that I used. I went to a friend who had a 90W laser cutter which was able to do it. If I could apply a thinner layer mine might be able to burn it away.

I have PCB fab in a box for making my own circuit boards at home which is not a bad system and is certainly a step up from printing your traces on a piece of glossy paper and transferring it to the board with an iron. I'm not a big fan of drilling vias which is a big reason why I'm taking this project on. The system I'm going to build is going to be able to do all the drilling, routing, and lasering to produce the boards.

I have always used ferric chloride in the past but I'm switching to a hydrogen peroxide and muriatic acid solution going forward. Here is a link to an instructable http://www.instructables.com/id/Stop-using-Ferric-Chloride-etchant!--A-better-etc/

This project is going to be in the works for a while.

Madmark

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Re: Complete Home Custom PCB Fab Projec
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2016, 05:49:22 PM »
Mount a small drill and drill with x/y gantry & hand feed on z. Use pause button between moves. Fear vias no more!

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Stonemull

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Re: Complete Home Custom PCB Fab Projec
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2017, 03:58:25 AM »
I haven't attempted it yet, but your laser may be able to remove the etch resist from the circuit board and you could etch your own boards in just hours instead of weeks. The entire board would need to be covered with a resist material. The laser could then be used to strip off the resist material in those areas where you want to remove the copper cladding. The board would then be bathed in the ferric chloride solution to remove the unprotected copper areas, and rinsed. Alcohol or other solvent would then be used to remove the remaining resist and the board rinsed again and ready for use.

I've made my own circuit boards for converting flashlights to LED operation. One utilized 48 5mm LEDs and another utilized 96 5mm and 10mm LEDs. They work great. I have also etched boards to convert the dome light of my car to LED lighting. After accidentally leaving the dome light on for several days, the car started right up as the LEDs use far less current than an incandescent bulb and drain the battery at a far slower rate.

This is the next method I am going to try, now I know that I can expose the resist with the laser I also found that areas I hit too hard destroyed the resist film, even while devoping, areas that copped too much laser would dissolve away faster and more effectively than areas that were not exposed at all.

So you could do a negative etch by exposing the oarts you want to etch away with too high a power for the etch resist to cope with, you would still need to develop the film to harden it and the rest woukd be unexposed and essily damaged so I have 2 methods in mind.
The first is over expose the film then expose the entire board to a UV source or sunlight, then develop, hopefully the 'damaged' areas will fall away.

The second is would take more time, expose the positive areas, then crank up the power and over expose the negative areas, over shadowing from the negative will only serve to harden the positive.
Of course you need to do 2 laser runs or modify the gcode so the areas that were just a move are now a move with laser on at higher power.

I am also wondering if there is something easier to burn away than paint, it only needs to be resistant to the etching liquid, thinking beeswax or a thin laquer.

Anyway .. experiments will continue.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 04:08:18 AM by Stonemull »
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ggallant571

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Re: Complete Home Custom PCB Fab Projec
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2017, 07:53:36 AM »
Then we will need a laser with enough power to cut the vias and board outline.
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laser_cutter

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Re: Complete Home Custom PCB Fab Projec
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2017, 09:39:13 AM »
I have "etched" anodized aluminum.

Elekscam, laser at full power, 300 steps per minute.

I have seen people coat copper-clad with black krylon spray paint.

Custom PCB Prototyping Using a Laser Cutter
http://www.instructables.com/id/Custom-PCB-Prototyping-using-a-Laser-Cutter/?ALLSTEPS

Koskee

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Re: Complete Home Custom PCB Fab Projec
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2017, 09:25:20 PM »
I'm working on this right now actually.
My preliminary testing seems to point to the possibility that (with the paint I have at least) a thicker coating might actually work better than a thin one. I will have to do some more testing to verify this, but I know my first attempt had several coats of paint, which i was running upwards of around 500mm/min feed rate, and it was burning with visible smoke. Second, third and fourth attempts, which i've progressively slowwwwed down (to under 50mm/min, translating to 90mins+ to burn a fairly minimal board in vector trace mode  :-\ :-[) and don't really have any smoke coming off of it at all.

I thought it was the paint since I had used a different paint the second time around, but now I'm thinking it may have something to do with the fact that copper has excellent thermal dissipation properties - combined with minimal paint thickness - may be achieving a lower overall temperature.

Like I said, I will have to test this theory a bit more, and I will be on vacation for the next week, but I will report back with what I find...

...Either that or maybe my laser is pooched already. I sure hope that isn't the case, I've barely had a chance to use it.

Stonemull

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Re: Complete Home Custom PCB Fab Projec
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2017, 07:43:31 AM »
eek !

I am yet to try paint, been using the laser to expose etch resist film and that works well enough for my purposes .. ie down to 0.5mm pitch SMD stuff.

I did buy a 50mW 404nm laser though, found the 2500mW is just to large a spot diameter (or ellipse or smear or whatever else you want to call it, 'dot' it ain't)
Then I repurposed an old A3 plotter for the job so i dont have to swap out lasers...

I have a pcb etching thread in this projects section somewhere.
Actually milled my first double sided pcb last week, quite happy with that though it took me a few hours to learn the software lol. (FlatCam .. once you work it out, it is pretty easy)


Let us know how paint goes though..



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