Printed circuit board Double-Sided PCBPrinted circuit boards are the most common technology for mounting components. They make up the core of almost every electronic item. The double-sided PCB is a copper lamination on both sides of a plastic sheet. Although etching circuits onto the board needed complex methods that incurred costs too high for the individual hobbyist, there are affordable techniques for moving your circuit design off a breadboard onto a PCB. Breadboards are solder-less, reusable boards used to quickly create circuits for testing purposes.
1 Build a prototype of your project on a breadboard. Prototypes are models of circuits created on temporary boards so that they can be modified easily.
2 Check the prototype to ensure that it works as you planned and then turn the prototype into a circuit design on your computer using a PCB design tool. Do this by creating a new design with the software, entering the dimensions to match the size of your PCB when prompted.
3 Fill the design by placing pads and drawing tracks. Pads are representations of the components to be mounted on the board, while the tracks represent the connections among the components.
4 Load glossy photo paper into your printer, set the printing contrast as high as possible and print both designs onto the glossy side of the paper. Trim the designs to match the size of the PCB.
5 Tape the designs onto the back and face of the PCB with the glossy printed surface in contact with the copper PCB.
6 Preheat an iron to its maximum temperature, cover the PCB with a cloth and evenly apply heat to the PCB for approximately five minutes to each side with a high amount of pressure. This will transfer the printed ink circuit directly onto the PCB. Carefully peel off the paper, allowing it to soak in water for 10 minutes if it sticks.
7 Mix a solution of your etching in a shallow plastic container following the instructions on the label of the bottle.
8 Place the PCB into the container and gently shake the container so that the solution is always moving. This will remove the excess copper that is not covered with the printing ink. This is a slow process and the length of time it takes is dependent on how much copper needs to be etched off the PCB and the strength of the etching solution.
9 Wash the PCB using water and scrub the toner off the board with steel wool once the unneeded copper has etched away. Do not apply the wire wool too hard or you will destroy the copper traces underneath.
10 Drill any trace holes on the board with an electrical drill or a drill press and mount the components onto the board.