~diy-iron-on home pcb fabrication~


Well-Known Member
Mar 3, 2008
In india, a DIY enthusiast faces one common problem that is to get the PCB done.
There are lot of firms that manufacture PCB but the ordered quantity required is very high else order value should be minimum 5 to 6k .

This poses a big problem and also ordering 100/200 pcs of pcb for a experimental project is meaningless. Here I present a guide that will help to fabricate PCBs in quantities of 1-2 pcs at home :D.

It is based on the fact:

"Laser printers and photocopiers use plastic toner, not ink, to draw images. Toner is the black powder that ends up on your clothes and desk when replacing the printer cartridge. Being plastics, toner is resistant to etching solutions used for making PCBs - if only you could get it on copper!"

Source : Documento senza titolo

Material :

plain copper clad board : mostly available in cities

Photo glossy paper : used for printing greetings ,invites .available at stationary shops
[5/- Rs a sheet approx]
laser printer : to print the layout
PCB design software : Eagle [free version]
or Express Pcb or Free PCB
One cloth Iron
Steel wool: availableas utensil cleaner ,Kitchen scrubs

A hand drill for PCB drilling .

Chemicals: Ferric chloride [for etching],
HCL[optional - just as accelerator] -usually the acid is available as bathroom cleaner

Soap , plastic tray/bucket

The text here is a quick summery of the procedure .

> Design :Use PCB Design Software :
alternatives are
Eagle free: has some limitation as per component count
Express PCB :Free easy to use, i preferred to use this one !
it will alow you to print the layout , Use a virtual PDF printer like
pdf 995 . get the pdf , you can take the same to the neighboring printing
shop where you can get a laser print .

Note that it may add some dots in the final print , these can be later scratched out from the board.
>Printing: the design should be printed on the photo glossy paper ,try many types to choose the most suitable one.

> Board cleaning: never touch the board copper side ! ....first scratch the copper sid ewith steel wool till it gets clean and shiny
>Iron on: Important : place the the glossy paper where you printed the design over the copper side, so that it doesn't move,u can use clips.
heat the iron at max setting , Iron over the paper side 3-4 time , press hard doing so.

>Remove :As the paper sticks to the board , let it cool ,put in water ,let it absorb water .now slowly rub the paper and the paper goes away leaving the tracks

>Etch the till you get your PCB:
Now take 20/30 g ferric chloride mix with water just enough to dip the board on the plastic tray.
place the board on the mixture and leave it for 8 /9 hours apporx.

if you have the diluted HCL add it a little , this will accelerate the task and will take 4 hours approx .

After etching remove the black ink by scratching with steel wool etc. Your board is ready now:eek:!.

Use the hand drill to make the holes , this is a tedious task as one has to drill 70-300 holes depending upon the board !!
In case you stay at a place where you cant get the materials

you can use the PCB making kit is being sold by vegakit[do a google] .


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Kaushik its very good that you are very seriously trying to give all DIYers an helping hand by posting DIY related stuff from time to time !! Keep it going

The prescribed technique is the most used in today's date with respect home brewed PCB ! but sadly its not a easy and a must for DIY ! there are many reasons for it !

1.The supply of ferric chloride is no more available in the market ! so procuring that itself will be a task now !
2.The availability of a good quality copper clad for PCB is also in short supply!
3.The choice available for selection of type of copper clad is also very very limited !

There are several such issues ! and according to me the most important is the quality of PCB ! whats available in the market is very low grade .8 to 1 MM copper clad sheets ! where for me the minimum is 1.6 and above !

Another important thing is the solder mask,without which the PCB can damaged quite easily while soldering ! this impossible in the home made one !

There are several such disadvantages to a home made PCB,thats the reason why I chose not to do it !!

Am not trying to dampen your spirits or discourage you from doing it ! but just trying to tell you the facts involved and the aftereffects of it !!

I agree that most of the companies ask for minimum quantity ! but there are some with whom you can get a small quantity done ! for Ex I got the PCB for my New Amp done from one such firm,I only got 6 PCBs done and they had no problem in doing it !! The point Am trying to make here is, One needs to know how to and where to approach for things !!

You've seen my PCB ! but here's it one more time !

AGAIN Please don't take it in a wrong way !! you need any help you know you can always come to me !!



thanks for encouragements ,

I have contacts for PCB mfrs here that take 4-5 ,even 1 pc and deliver in glass epoxy PTH .

That was for the people in places where the PCB makers are not available , atleast they can think of this home diy PCB process,
before i was in delhi where some people made full microcontroller demo boards in this way and the boards turned out ok , yes they cant compete with the professionally orderded ones.

well i will surely take your help whenever i need ....:D
I've made a few PCBs during my school days (when I was in 11th-12th). I used normal nailpaint to paint the patterns and ferric chloride forstching. And my dad's manual drill for drilling the holes. I should say, those PCBs were not at all neat but anyway served the purpose. At that time, home PCs were rare, Windows OS was not yet written and laser printers were unheard of!
But I really enjoyed those good old DIY days.
anuragn ,

thanks for sharing ,

Diy PCBs with laser are the better version of that, the PCB pic with the thread 1st msg is made with this technique ...
That's a really simple way of making PCB.

During my college days I used to make PCB the way Anurag described and ended up burning holes in my clothes. (Ferric chloride is corrosive)

The main issue with this method is that due to absence of tinning & solder mask, soldering is not easy and neat and causes dry contacts.

However this method is suited for low complexity boards.


mika the link u have given is NOT cost effective for indian DIY guys

4 x6 " pcb =29$ almost 1.5K INR (rupees) whereas in home made PCB it is just 30Rs. :) . For more dense PCB just 1 to 2 pieces one can order at PCB Power - which is an indian mfr.

PCB Power

their rates are very low as compared to other prototyping companies. Check the cost calculator.

Man Kaushik he's not trying to help :p !! he's a spammer and has posted a Spam !!

Never bother with such spurious people's post (how do you ascertain ?? look at the number of posts he has posted !!)

I don't know why doesn't mod delete such posts and keep them away :rolleyes: !!

Adding to the pcb making thread..
solder masking is possible DIY way ...
as in this diyaudio thread..
DIY solder mask - Page 3 - diyAudio

the author used solvent based glass color and a little heat .In india i have seen camel glass artwork kits are available for Rs 100..

I will try creating a mask... whenever i get time
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Ok, since this is becoming a PCB fab thread, thought to
mention that some Epson (and a few HP) inkjets can
be modified to direct-print an etch resistant pattern
on to a bare copper PCB, which can then be etched using
the usual etchants (FeCl3, HCL+h2o2 etc).
Durabrite and MISPRO inks are reported to work well.

The mod usually involves raising the print head
so it can clear the thicker PCB material, relocating the
paper sensor, and making a feed tray. It may also be
necessary to trim out some of the plastic parts in the
paper/PCB path, so the board can travel through the printer
without hindrance.

press-n-peel,InkJet,PCB Etch,Etch PCB

pcbprt - Experiments in inkjet PCB printing

Direct to PCB InkJet Resist Printing Modifications for Epson Stylus C84 by Stefen Trethan

Here's a Srilankan hacker reporting success with a cheap
Epson T10.

Inkjet to PCB direct printing

So if someone has a spare Epson, send it my way :)
printer mod is great..i have seen in action .

on youtube!here

even then laser.. press n peel is simple..
but this printer mod solves the last piece of the Diy pcb..

that is component side printing!

Now 'tinning ' needed to be added to this thread..
Any idea how to do solder mask or equivalent at home, after etching a copper clad ?
Basically to have a professional build pcb quality and protection against corrosion and accidental shorting or protection of traces on the PCB.
Why run so much.
Simply get a Photo resist film. Stick it to Pcb , Get a laser print of the pcb on butter paper, expose it with a Uv Lamp. and finally etch it with Muriatic acid and Hydrogen peroxide. At most it will take 30 mins to get good quality home etched pcb.
Why run so much.
Simply get a Photo resist film. Stick it to Pcb , Get a laser print of the pcb on butter paper, expose it with a Uv Lamp. and finally etch it with Muriatic acid and Hydrogen peroxide. At most it will take 30 mins to get good quality home etched pcb.

who is selling photoresist paper in india in small QTY ?

link will be appreciated
i have imported a few
the photo paper cost is more wrt laser method

small bard the marker method does in <1Rs for coating part
the IRON on can do very good results if u know how to do proper combo of materials ...
i use a special glossy paper ...costs me 0.50Rs per 6x5cm pcb :)
i love it
Photo resist film is not available in India in retails or small quantity.

Last time i needed them, I purchased whole roll as purchasing small quantities from china was not feasible.

I still have few feet of Photo resist film with me. Any body who needs it can pm me.
who is selling photoresist paper in india in small QTY ?

link will be appreciated
i have imported a few
the photo paper cost is more wrt laser method

small bard the marker method does in <1Rs for coating part

Your method may definitely be cost affective according to you.

But have you ever tried pcb's for 30 or 40 pin ic. Then you will realize the superiority of photo resist film. I had tried all the methods and the only method which had repeated success was Photo resist method.
And what does laser print method cost now 1 rs for butter paper and 2 rs for laser print both of which can be used again.
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