PCB etching service

Hi all,
Anyone know of a PCB etching service for one-offs in or around Manchester ? , or anywhere for that matter :O
Thanks
Lee
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Lee,
I have used PCBpool with excellent results a few times:
http://www.pcbpool.com/ppuk/info.html
AWEM
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Andrew Mawson wrote:

Wanted to suggest them too. I let make my boards there. Without solder stop mask etc, they are not so expensive. They accept Eagle or other files directly without extra charge. Good and easy online ordering, fast turnaround (at extra charge).
Nick
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Andrew Mawson wrote:

Thanks, hmm looks a bit pricey for what I'm doing. We used to have a service at University which would etch say a 100x100 single side board for about 5. I thought it would be the type of thing that Maplin would do pretty much over the counter if you provided the artwork...
Lee
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On Wed, 03 Jan 2007 15:36:35 +0000, Lee Griffiths

If it is something relatively simple, you might try the "laser printer transfer" technique - print the track layout onto inkjet glossy photo paper but in a laser printer, then place the print face down on the copper clad board and fuse the laser tonet onto the board with a domestic iron. Soak afterwards in warm water and you can strip away the paper leaving just the toner tracks. Getting the board clean and degreased is essential though otherwise the toner doesn't stick consistently.
The laser toner is a very effective resist, so you can then dip it in your fave etchant (Ferric cloride for example) and 15 mins later you have an etched board that you can drill with a Dremel etc. I've used this technique for small boards that don't have particularly fine or complex track patterns - works pretty well. The hole drilling is a pain though.
Regards
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Hi Lee
I've done this with glossy inket paper as Tony suggests and I've done it with stuff marketed for the purpose (toner transfer paper).
In my experience you can waste time and money finding a brand of inkjet paper that works well and peeling the toner transfer paper is orders of magnitude easier.
You can get the toner transfer paper from Maplin too but last time I went in I discovered they no longer stock PCB materials and they wouldn't get it in for me explaining "web order only".
There is a list of boardhouses here.
http://www.cadsoft.de/Boardhouses/#United%20Kingdom
I have considered using some of the cheaper looking ones myself so I'd be interested to hear how you get on.
Russell
Tony Jeffree wrote:

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I looked at the Maplin transfer paper when I started messing with this technique and decided that at 15 for a pack of 5 sheets it was a tad on the expensive side. Happily, I struck paydirt first time with the cheapo "PC-Line" Classic Glossy Photo Paper, which worked well for me as a transfer paper and also does double duty for its original intended purpose. Comes in 50 sheet packs for about the same price IIRC.
Granted, you have to work slightly harder to remove the paper backing after ironing on, but we're talking a mater of minutes difference in my experience.
Regards, Tony
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Hi Tony
It's a good method and I made some good boards using Epson photo paper, then I bought some more Epson photo paper and had a lot of trouble peeling it and the edges of the tracks were lifting. So then I tried some HP inkjet paper (cheap on special offer) and found that impossible to peel - couldn't even get to the etching stage.
I paid 10 for the toner transfer paper and it does work very well but I agree it's pricey.
I've wondered whether it would be possible to brew your own. The toner transfer paper is an OHP film with a coating - I've wondered about spray paint - I might experiment - I do have access to a laser printer that I can afford to ruin.
Russell
Tony Jeffree wrote:

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Russell wrote:

i thought that stuff was illegal
mk5000
"The science says it is 'carbon neutral'. But you will scream your own flavor of science"--dan bloomquist
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Are you thinking of polychlorinated biphenyls? These are indeed highly hazardous, and very restricted - they were used in large transformers, may still be for all I know. However, Russell was using PCB as an acronym for printed circuit board.
Of course, you may have known this, but there was no humour clue in your post.
David
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David Littlewood wrote:

I was

that's horrible
I've been against this since day one. no one could tell me this would have been worth it then nor now.

o!
thanks for the clarification. That points me in a better direction, for understanding, the process that was described. interesting.
mk5000
"what this girl thinking. i don't wrong her still because she's thinking about the dollar bills"--shabba ranks, twice my age
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marika wrote:

Printed circuit board laminate is of course not illegal, though some flame retardant additives they used to put in the glass fibre are now banned. Try farnell or RS.
Polychlorinated biphenyls as used in transformer oil have been banned for a long time and there is a big industry in replacing them either with whole new transformers or in some cases by decontaminating existing ones. Greg
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Don't think Maplin offer any services these days.
But they (and others) sell all the bits to DIY it.
You first produce a real size transparency of the PCB - black for the tracks. Then do a contact print onto coated PCB board using UV light. Next develop the coating in a tray containing - surprisingly - developer. Then etch using ferric chloride, etc.
There are other methods, but this is the traditional way.
However, the start up costs make it probably more economical to go to a prototype place for a one off.
I make my own and adding an extra would not be a problem. But that would be when I'm actually set up to run off some - and I don't know when that will be next. For prototype use Veroboard is easier.
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AFAIK Maplins don't make PCBs though they ?used to? sell the stuff needed to make them before they turned into a toy shop.
Olimex <http://www.olimex.com/pcb/index.html can make a one off for $33 if double sided pth is OK, otherwise they quote $26 for a single sided board.
Also worth looking at RAK <http://www.rak.co.uk/not/main.html .
I've never used either of these suppliers but Olimex in particular does have their adherents so are probably worth a punt.
Hth,
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They still appear to sell the bits needed.

I'm not sure using a US company would be cost effective?
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

Olimex? I think they are Hungarian.
Nick
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Seems so - it was the dollar pricing that I based it on. Whatever happened to the Euro?

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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

Umm, maybe they are using England as a good example and ignore the EURO? ;-)
Nick
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

AFAIK Olimex are Bulgarian ? They quote airmail shipping to Europe as follows : "Airmail parcel USD $6,00 (5-14 days)" other, much more expensive options are available.
Dunno why their prices are in USD - presumably that's where they see their market.
Cheers,
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AFAIK Maplins don't make PCBs though they ?used to? sell the stuff needed to make them before they turned into a toy shop.
Olimex <http://www.olimex.com/pcb/index.html can make a one off for $33 if double sided pth is OK, otherwise they quote $26 for a single sided board.
Also worth looking at RAK <http://www.rak.co.uk/not/main.html .
I've never used either of these suppliers but Olimex in particular does have their adherents so are probably worth a punt.
Hth,
-- Boo
The greatest difficulty I've found is getting a PCB manufacturer who can work with artwork other than that generated by a PCB cad package. RAK will take an emailed image file (perversely, we found jointly that an image pasted into a word document was the best interface!!) and create a board for you. I did not ask them to drill it as I wanted to keep the price down. Again most suppliers need a drill file from a cad package before they will drill for you.
I suspect that a 'kitchen sink' method as suggested by others will be the most cost effective for you.
Regards
Bob
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