The Greening of PCBBy Jose Pablo Campos
Chemical-Free CNC Milled Boards
Jose Pablo Campos set out to make printed circuit boards (PCB) for companies and students with CNC milling machines avoiding the use of ferric chloride that is typically used to manufacture PCBs for the electronics industry.
"This (ferric chloride) greatly destroys our environment and damages the aquifers," said Campos. "It's like chemical logging. By using our procedure, we will do our bit to save our planet and our species."
Campos' PCB Etched
ProcessPCBs are used to support and connect electronic components in a circuit using conductive pathways, tracks or signal traces. Campos' designs of the tracks are made by generating G-code, which drives the computerized milling machine. They use the Gerber file generated by the program for printed circuit design to generate the G-code. The computer program runs to create the tracks, drill holes and cuts them to designated sizes. The program can design a complete and custom PCB fit for specific needs. Besides metal, almost any material can be used: wood, aluminum, plastic, acrylic, etc.
BenefitsIn addition to the environmental benefits, the CNC method is both faster and more accurate than the chemical process. It takes only about 10 minutes compared to 30 minutes using conventional methods.
ProductsCampos makes two types of PCBs, one is a liquid level control and the other is by control pulse. Printing services are also provided for people if they have any specific design in a Gerber file he can take that design and generate the G-code for the PCB and he can create the design for the circuit if needed.
Campos mentioned an initial challenge he had was problems with the G-code and a ground that needed to be connected to the PC and the CNC. Without that ground the entire process didn't work properly and was not responding to some of the programmed signals. Soon he ironed out all the kinks and got the program running smoothly. Compos is now working on improving his pulse techniques.
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