DIY double sided PCB with soldermask

Posted on Thursday, January 12th, 2012 in DIY, PCBs, tutorials by Arup

Retromaster has honed his PCB making skills to get professional quality boards at home. He’s successfully made double sided PCBs with 8 mil trace width, with 6 mil clearance. In his guide he describes how to etch the PCB with toner transfer, how to use mechanical vias, and hot to apply soldermask paint.

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 12th, 2012 at 11:00 pm and is filed under DIY, PCBs, tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

7 Responses to “DIY double sided PCB with soldermask”

  1. Colin says:

    I ran across this site the other day, and plan on trying it myself. PCBs with messy chemicals and crappy results are becoming a thing of the past, and with Walmart having laser printers for 30 bucks, all signs point to DIY PCBs.

  2. Bayu says:

    long time I search this kind of tutorial, thanks Arup for the great information.

  3. Drone says:

    I don’t get it. He’s already got a CNC, so why not use that to route the board instead of messing with toner transfer and etching? Sleeving the vias is a waste of time. If the holes are vias, solder a wire in them. If the hole is for a component, the component leads act as vias. I presume this board will be hand soldered, so the only purpose the soldermask serves is to keep the exposed board areas from tarnishing. So why not skip the soldermask and just spray the board with conformal coating or acrylic lacquer when it is done?

    • Arup says:

      He used CNC only for drilling. His other parts of the process are easy to do with no special costly tools. We can make those type PCBs and leave the drilling to out duratool/dremel drills.
      If the hole is for a component, the component leads act as vias, but you can’t really solder a via like that for the case of a electrolytic capacitor as the pins are inside from the outer diameter, and lifting the caps then soldering makes it look bad.

    • Colin says:

      His reason for doing the pressed vias is because soldering wires into the holes leaves a solder joint, which can’t be placed under an IC.

      I don’t think the soldermask is only for coating, it’s also cosmetic. Making boards that look like they came from a board house is something I’d be damn proud of…

  4. It was extremely interesting for me to read that article. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more soon.

  5. Jesper says:

    Dry-film soldermask: DON’T BOTHER!

    Use the UV-curable solder-resist paint. Apply it with a sponge type brush. The adhesion is better, the paint enters places where the dry-film (due to the natural contours of the copper tracks) cannot, providing way better coverage!

    I am SO done messing about with these flimsy dry-films! Pain in the ass to work with…!

    Anyway, that’s my take on the subject.

    Thanks for posting!


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