Homemade PCB (Etching)

Transferring The Toner
           Now that we have the schematic built and printed out on glossy paper it's time to go ahead and get started transferring the schematic from the paper to the copper PCB.

Notice that I have cut the printed out circuit so that it is smaller than the board. The smaller size is very important and it will allow me to more easily apply uniform heat when transferring the toner.

Preheat the copper side of the board a little bit, this will help the toner transfer when we get started with that. Leave the iron on the board for about 1-2 minutes.

Carefully hold the edges of the paper/circuit and place it over the heated board. As uniformly as possible, place the paper ontop of the heated PCB. The paper will be drawn to the heat. Press down on the paper all over, once it is on the board.

Now take your iron on high/maximum heat and press down on the paper. Apply a lot of pressure and hold for 4-5 minutes (time needed may vary).

Move the iron to a more vertical position and again apply pressure for a few minutes. Do this in every which way that you can think of.

This video should give you an idea of what needs to be done. The movement of the iron should be slow and steady, holding still at each spot for a minute or two with constant pressure.

After about 10-20 minutes of ironing (it's not an exact science and depends on trace width) the paper should start to look a little see-through. This typically means that the toner has transferred to the PCB board. Let the PCB cool for about 20 minutes before continuing.

Fill either your sink or a bucket with some warm water and place the PCB board in it. Bubbles will appear on the paper as seen above. This means we can start removing the paper from the PCB.

Slowly and Gently use your fingers and rub/pull the paper from the PCB board. The toner should have transferred and should have no remnants on the glossy paper. Even after removing all the paper from the board some small pieces might be left over. This is ok, you're ready to start etching.

The video shows you how to clean off the paper slowly with water running. You don't want any traces to get messed up so don't rush the process.