PCB or Printed Circuit Board is a mechanical assembly mainly composed of layers of insulating material (ceramic, heat-resistant plastic, fiberglass, or other dielectric material) laminated with etched patterns of copper. This board is used in mounting electronic components in a stiff manner appropriate for packaging. It is sometimes called PWB or Printed Wiring Board.
PCBNet has a reputation of being one of the country’s most experienced and successful PCB suppliers. We never fail to provide customers with reliable and top-class products, unbeatable pricing and quick turnaround. Our growing list of clients includes HP, Motorola, Whirlpool, Intel, Sony Electronics and more.
PCB Manufacturing Methods
There are different methods to make printed circuit boards and choosing a method mainly depends on the complexity of the project and the quantity of PCBs that you requested. At PCBNet, we use state-of-the-art equipment in a neat and orderly process, so we can maintain the quality of our products all throughout the assembly process.
Etching is perhaps the most inexpensive and easiest method of all. In this process, the unwanted copper is removed from the plated board using chemicals, such as ammonium persulphate or ferric chloride. You should have a resist or a mask to put on the areas where you want copper to remain after etching. These areas are the copper traces that transmit electricity between devices. Below are the possible solutions you can use:
This is a dry, easily-mixed etchant usually used for copper-clad PCBs and other materials that bear copper. When used together with a catalyst, a highly consistent etching rate can be sustained throughout its bath life. Once mixed, the life of the bath can practically last for about 3 weeks and its copper capacity is around 4-5 ounces per gallon of etchant.
Pros of Ammonium Persulphate
• You can rinse this etchant easily. It does not also leave any residue in the water.
• It won’t stain your skin, tanks or clothes
• It can reach a rapid etching speed and can maintain a constant etching rate if used in conjunction with the catalyst
Cons of Ammonium Persulphate
• Once mixed, ammonium persulphate has a maximum tank life of only three weeks, whether used or not
• This etchant attacks linen, wool, cotton and other natural fibers.
Although messy, ferric chloride is cheaper and easier to procure than other alternatives. This etchant can attack all metals, even stainless steel. Due to this, it is recommended to use a ceramic or plastic sink with plastic screws and fittings, and seal all metal screws with silicone when you are setting up the etching area for the PCB. Cover the water pipes in plastic if they are dripped or splashed with copper. You may also cover the tray or tank when it’s not in use.
If you opt to use ferric chloride as your etchant, always choose the hexahydrate type, which comes in light yellow powder. Dissolve it in tepid water until all the granules are dissolved. Add a teaspoon of salt to make the mixture clearer so you can inspect it more easily.
Always take necessary precautions to prevent splashing when you are dissolving the etchant. It has the tendency to clomp together into large chunks and splash the solution as it comes out of the container, thus, it is a good idea to wear protective gloves and glasses as the mixture can irritate your eyes and leave permanent stain on your clothes.
Methods to Prepare the PBC Prior to the Etching Process
PCBNet provides PCB assembly, fabrication and other services as soon as you have the board layout ready. If you haven’t completed one yet, here’s a quick overview of the methods you can use:
Manual / Direct Draw
Manual or direct draw method is most suitable for simple designs. It uses a resist pen in drawing the circuit. In some cases, you can use specialty tapes and donuts to lay out the traces of the circuit directly on the board’s surface. This is the fastest way to create a board circuit pattern.
This method is recommended for producing high-quality PCBs in a quick and efficient manner. This is particularly used for professional prototypes. In this method, a resist material is used to cover the PCB when exposed to UV light. The quality of the artwork produced using this method depends on both the media being used and the output device.
After completing the board design and layout, and have all relevant data put together, you can contact us here at PCBNet and we’ll be delighted to work with you during the fabrication process.