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Printed Circuit Boards.

Postby John Kent » Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:28 am

I am just about to launch micro-controller programming into schools for children as young as 8 years old. In our present economic chaos, schools have very little money to spend per student, on new projects. The above project requires a PCB per child plus an extensive 'library' of boards for the 50 lessons or modules. To make this affordable, it may be necessary to consider making the PCB's ourselves. Originally I had thought it possible to print the layouts onto the copper clad board using UV cured inks, but that would require an expensive flat bed printer and special print head, for an ink jet.

A possible alternative is to screen print the pads and tracks direct onto the copper clad board and then etch in ferric acid. I have watched all the screen print video's on youtube but cannot determine print resolution. One printer suggested that if he could print bar codes then the tracks and pads should be no problem. I just wondered if anyone on the forum has any experience of this please ?. I am particularly concerned about the holes in the center of each solder pad and cannot afford to lose them as that would make drilling of the 0.9mm holes extremely difficult.

Thank you .....

John Kent (Andover, UK)
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Re: Printed Circuit Boards.

Postby squeegeethree » Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:54 pm

There is no way that you will be able to print these yourself as a noobie and save money vs having it professionally done. You should farm this out in my opinion.
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Re: Printed Circuit Boards.

Postby tompaine » Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:19 am

Making circuit boards is a fiddly exact process, not a school project, (though you might get an A+).
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Re: Printed Circuit Boards.

Postby John Kent » Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:36 am

The children do not make the boards, only use them. With current health and safety liability I don't think any school would allow it for children under 14.
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Re: Printed Circuit Boards.

Postby tompaine » Mon Oct 12, 2009 4:44 am

Health and Safety gone mad!
But it is a nasty process and you're probably better farming it out, you can get it done fairly cheaply.
Try http://www.pcb-value.com/
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Re: Printed Circuit Boards.

Postby themeathawks » Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:57 pm

Ferric acid is pretty nasty stuff... I used to build clones guitar effects pedals and always went with a pre-printed board when possible to not have to mess with the not-so-fun process of etching. It is an interesting process though, and once you get the hang of it, it's a breeze.
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