As a natural step after getting adequate atleast with EDA’s, in my case first Eagle and then KiCad, I begun looking into different ways of creating my own PCB’s of my designs at home. It can be very frustrating to wait for boards to arrive from a board house after having sent your files to them. Even more so should you, or the board house, have made some mistake.

My long term project for making my own PCB’s is a DIY CNC mill. I’ve collected parts for that for about a year. Some was sent to me for later testing/review. Thanks to you guys that sent those, you know who you are and you’ll get credit for sending the parts for free (giving them to me), and I will give honest opinions about each part when I get the mill up and running.

Long term project, well yes as I need to figure out how to mechanicaly get the mill together so it has the precision I am looking for. I had some health issues that made the project even longer term. And of course, the birth of my daughter has had an impact on time available for these things.

Now, in the meantime (spelling?) I am exploring other methods of making PCB’s. I had equipment for developing and etching positive photoresist PCB’s. For some reason I can’t recall now, I sold that years ago.

Starting over on that method, I figured UV-leds would be both the easiest and cheapest way to handle development of the boards. I soldered UV-leds in groups of 5 in series with a 100R resistor for each group. The supply is an +18Vdc/4A SMPS.

Here’s a test with 100 LED’s configured as described above:

I’ve had more LED’s at home for a while, but my recent neck-surgery has prevented me from doing much DIY. Anyway, today I got around to testing (Vforward and functionality) some of my LED’s and solder 4 more groups of 5 on the perf board.

I haven’t gotten around to going over the newly populated parts with the DMM yet.

I also need to figure out how many LED’s are enough for reasonably fast and even developing of boards. I doubt I’ll go over a board size of about 8*12cm or something like that.

Second short term solution, I was gifted a good quality HP laserjet. I have a lot of photopaper, so heat transer is an option that I suppose would work right now.

The etchant I have is natriumpersulphate. That’s what was available at a domestic site with relatively cheap stuff.

Hints, tips and tricks (any advice really) is greatly appreciated šŸ™‚


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