Making your own PCBs is a lot easier than I imagined. Way back in the 80's I gave it a try. It involved marker pens transfer stencils and a whole lot of frustration. I recently got back into hobby electronics and with the aid of computers I have found that I can produce really good homemade boards. The following is a brief tutorial on how it is done.

Design your PCB in your favorite layout software and print that sucker !

And here we have it. The PCB tracks and a top layer silk screen.

The TRACKS must be right way around with any TEXT inverted.

The overlay ALL is inverted.

Steel wool your copper clad board until it sparkles. Sand paper is a poor second choice. Then wash it with soap and water or paint thinner.

The toner transfer paper is that yellow stuff you get on eBay ten sheets for a buck fifty. Print on the shiny side.

Set your iron to screaming hot and give it Hell. Place the iron in the center for a few seconds to stick the transfer in place then iron from the center outwards. Press hard and pay special attention to the corners and edges. Iron that puppy for 4 or 5 minutes.

Place the board in room temperature water to cool it down then peel the transfer paper straight back over itself. Don't try to peel the paper when it is hot or the transfer paper will leave a residue on your board. If it does scrub off ALL the residue with soap and water or use paint thinner to wipe the board clean and start over.

If you have any small areas where the toner did not adhere you can draw them in with a Sharpe. Go over the repair several times to build up a good layer of marker. You can see where I have a missing piece of track next to the tip of the marker. I did this on purpose to demonstrate how to make a repair. Demonstrations happen.

And into the etchent. This is ferric chloride. You can etch many boards in the same tray of etchent before it is used up. Heat your etchent in a sink of hot water and rock the tray constantly. There is no smell and a drop of this stuff will not burn your skin but it WILL permanently stain just about anything. So if you live in a dictatorship or was that relationship where staining the decor is punishable by death be warned go outside.

All the copper is gone so wash it off. Don't leave the board in the etchent any longer than necessary or the etchent will begin to etch the edges of your tracks away.

Clean off the toner with paint thinner.

A quick dip in Liquid Tin for a little corrosion protection. Not necessary but a nice touch. When you are done back into the bottle. It lasts for years, so they say.

Time to apply the top silk screen. Hold the board over a light bulb and align the top silk screen.

Back to the screaming hot iron. Tack it in place and work from the center out. Then into the room temperature water to remove the paper.

The etched and screened board. Damn, it looks like one of those high priced kits.

Forgot to drill those pesky holes.

The drill is a Johnson 385 motor with a chuck. It is encased in a piece of plastic electrical conduit. No, really I build it myself. The motor and chuck $5 on eBay. The bits are carbide mini drills with 1/8 shank. These are far better than any twist drills and go for $3 a set on eBay.

The finished product, 200 volts of nixie lighting goodness or madness. Take your pick. If you find this useful leave a like or a comment.