I wanted to learn how to etch PCBs at home. (Read as too cheap to pay someone else to do it). I was pleasantly surprised by the results.
- Board prep -
I lightly sanded the copper layer with 800 grit sandpaper (it was the finest grit I had on hand) to remove the oxide layer. I then rinsed it with water and wiped with isopropyl alcohol.
- Transfer -
I used the “printer toner and iron” method to transfer the design onto the copper. (Why - cheap). Steps:
- Tape magazine paper onto regular paper
- Print your design onto said magazine paper using a laser printer
- make sure to mirror (vertical flip) the design before printing. I forgot to do this.
- when printing, select the highest resolution (dpi) your printer offers
- Place the paper on top of the copper board
- Iron it
- this transfers the toner to the copper board
- I had my iron set to the highest temperature but ymmv
When it seemed like the toner had transfered, I soaked the board in water then gently peeled off the magazine. See this video for an example.