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
Reply to
Lee Griffiths
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Lee,
I have used PCBpool with excellent results a few times:
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AWEM
Reply to
Andrew Mawson
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
Reply to
Nick Mueller
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
Reply to
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
Reply to
Tony Jeffree
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.
Reply to
Dave Plowman (News)
AFAIK Maplins don't make PCBs though they ?used to? sell the stuff needed= to=20 make them before they turned into a toy shop.
Olimex can make a one off for $33 = if=20 double sided pth is OK, otherwise they quote $26 for a single sided boar= d.
Also worth looking at RAK .
I've never used either of these suppliers but Olimex in particular does h= ave=20 their adherents so are probably worth a punt.
Hth,
--=20 Boo
Reply to
Boo
They still appear to sell the bits needed.
I'm not sure using a US company would be cost effective?
Reply to
Dave Plowman (News)
Olimex? I think they are Hungarian.
Nick
Reply to
Nick Mueller
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.
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I have considered using some of the cheaper looking ones myself so I'd be interested to hear how you get on.
Russell
T> >
Reply to
Russell
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 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 .
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
Reply to
Bob Minchin
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,
Reply to
Boo
W.o.e would anyone want that ?
What were RAK like in quality terms (and to deal with), as a matter of interest ?
Possibly true, but only if your time is free. Personally I'd rather pay for the quality of a manufactured pth tinned silk-screened board rather than the dubious quality I'd be able to produce at home, especially if doing the lining by hand rather than by CAD.
Reply to
Boo
There is a big learning step and overhead with converting designers used to old methods to a PCB CAD package. I learned on black tape and mylar sheet and have migrated to 'electronic' black tape using macdraw or Visio nowadays and it is still quicker for me to work this way for small jobs.
Even professionally, it will cost me many man hours to convert my older staff to CAD. It is cheaper to let them use the methods they are used to. Bright young graduates in contrast have often used a cad package at Uni and use it with ease.
Until a couple of months ago I had a PCB services lab on site at work and could get ds pth boards made in about 3 hours. but now thanks to huge expenditure needs to satisfy waste control requirements, we had to close it down and make the staff redundant.
This is why I went to RAK and they were very good to deal with.
The OP was talking of etching charges of around £5 - which led me to my comments on 'kitchen sink' methods.
Bob
Reply to
Bob Minchin
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
Reply to
Tony Jeffree
Dunno why you'd do it by hand given you have a computer. I don't even use a cad prog for most things - just good ol' Acorn Draw, although I do use a later version (Millennium) with a library for my symbols.
And the results you can get are perfectly fine for anything you can assemble by hand.
Reply to
Dave Plowman (News)
Neither - just dinner
Regards, Tony
Reply to
Tony Jeffree
rather pay
especially if
There is a nice program called PLATINCNC that will take artwork as an image (.jpg bitmap etc) and convert it into G code to CNC mill the PCB and identify all the holes and drill them. It actually works quite well despite the rather odd English used in the instructions (the author is an Austrian post grad student) I last used it to re-make gaskets for a slide valve !
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AWEM
Reply to
Andrew Mawson
You could try KCS Electronics in Crewe:
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I don't know whether it's a service they normally offer, but it's a business they are in and might be able to either do it, or point you in the right direction.
Mike.
Reply to
Mike Edwards
Nice !
Good to know.
Cheers,
Reply to
Boo

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