Etching single and double sided PCBs

Posted on December 16th, 2016

This is going to be a quick post about how I etch PCBs and more importantly my recent experience with double sided PCBs. I won’t go into too much detail but I am going to try and provide some useful tips I found along the way.

Designing your PCB
There are a lot of programs out there for designing PCBs such as Eagle and DipTrace which are high quality professional solutions for design PCBs. I have tried a few of these when getting PCBs manufactured but the learning curve is steep. However, there is a great (and popular) piece of software called the DIY Layout Creator created by a member of the DIY stomp box community called banika. I would highly recommend this for a first time user or hobbyist who just wants to design and etch a board. It has a great intuitive UI and can also be used for veroboard layouts and schematics. DIY Layout Creator can be found here

Transferring your design onto copper
There are a couple of options to get your design onto the copper board such as screen printing and photo resist methods. However, I am going to talk about the toner transfer method which is very popular and (in my experience) produces good results. The toner transfer methods works by printing your design onto a medium using a laser printer and then using heat to transfer the toner onto the copper.