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PCB Etching

To make a printed circuit board (pcb) you need to go through a few steps. First you need to find or make a pcb layout. After that you'll have to transfer this layout to pcb card stock so that something can resist the etchant you'll use in the last step. Lastly you'll need to actually etch the circuit board so that the copper that remains is what you want.

You can find layouts for many circuits online or you can design them yourself. There are a few layouts on this site but there's also many other sites with many many more. If you wan't to design the layout yourself there's a range of software to help you. Many stompbox makers use DIYLC which is an open source application that can be run on many OS's.

For transferring the layout from the layout program to the actual pcb stock there's two major options. Either you use a laser printer print out and iron it to blank copper stock or you print your layout on a transparency and transfer it to a photo sensitive board using an UV Box. Using a laser print out requires some preparations to the board, the UV solution requires you to develop the board.

I personally prefer using photo sensitive boards as they requires a little less elbow grease and the fact that I don't own a laser printer (building a UV box is far less expensive than buying a laser printer but if you already have one that might be the way to go).

For etching the board you'll have to pick an etching solution. There's a few to select from, sodium persulfate or ferric chloride are quite easy to use as you can buy them concentrated in many places. There's also a few other options that require you to mix a few ingredients, you won't need anything that's hard to find but the require a little more work

Etching with (almost) household chemicals
Etch without a tank
Better etching solution

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