Circuit Skills: Learn How to Etch Your Own Circuit Board with Collin Cunningham

MAKE Magazine is loaded with exciting projects that help readers make the most of technology in creative and unique ways. Contributing writer Collin Cunningham created this great video that teaches you how to etch your own circuit board. The vast majority of printed circuit boards (PCBs) are made by bonding a layer of copper over the entire substrate, then removing unwanted copper after applying a temporary mask (by etching), leaving only the desired copper traces. Make Magazine

While Jameco sells breadboards for those that don't have the itch to etch, you might want to take a look at Collin's video by clicking on the image below. Of course, an etched circuit board is the most accurate way to build a circuit and gives the designer much more flexibility. What Collin teaches us is that we no longer have to send our designs away to a PCB manufacturer, we can now do it ourselves and have fun at the same time.

Although there are three popular "subtractive" methods (to remove copper) used for the production of PCBs, this video uses photoengraving. Collin creates a photomask and chemical etching to remove the copper foil and laser-printed transparencies for photo tools using Jameco's etching supply kit below. Etching Supply Kit

The Circuit Etching Board kit (P/N 2113244) includes:

1. (2) 3" x 4" Pre-Coated Circuit Boards (156751)
2. (1) Positive Developer (for pre-sensitized circuit boards) (156734)
3. (1) 32 oz. Bottle of Etch Solution (616438)

Circuit Board
Circuit Board

Collin then drills his circuit board using Jameco's Mini Drill Bit Kit below. The entire process takes less than an hour to complete.

The Mini Drill Bit kit (2113252) includes:

1. Mini Drill Stand (26702 & 26711)
2. Drill Bit size 75 (P/N 16619) & Drill Bit size 59 (P/N 16580)

Mini Drill Kit

Mini Drill Bit Kit
Drill Stand

Drill Bit

Eventually, the drilled board is scrubbed-up and ready for soldering. Finally, as we wrap-up the video, we get Collin's personal endorsement for making your own PCB.

Other Circuit Skills DIY Videos by Collin:

Infrared Light Barrier
Power Supply
Fiber Optics
Pulse Width Modulation
Surface Mount Devices
LED Color Organ
LED Matrix Kit
Perfboard Prototyping
Function Generator and Enclosure