Month: January 2016

The Basic Process of DIY PCB Fabrication

Designing a simple printed circuit board or PCB for your own personal use is not that difficult. Making one would require a bit more effort, but the process is still pretty easy to follow.

Unlike processes used by big PCB manufacturing companies, the DIY or do-it-yourself PCB fabrication procedure is more streamlined and the materials you will be using are available at your local hardware.

Pcb FabricationThe first thing you have to consider when trying to create your own PCB is the etching process that you will be implementing. There are four common types of etching but for DIY PCB fabrication, two methods are recommended and they are acid and UV etching. The other two types, mechanical and laser etchings, are used in large-scale PCB fabrication as they require special devices and machines for them to be implemented properly.

After you have decided whether to use the acid or UV process, it is now time to proceed to making your own PCB. In the step-by-step procedure below, you can find how each process is used so will know how to do both.

Here is the basic process of DIYPCB fabrication:

1. Make the layout of your PCB circuit using computer-aided design (CAD) software. Gone are the days when creating a PCB design was drawn manually. These days, designing is simply done with a computer whose output can be printed accordingly.

2. Prepare a substrate board encrusted with a thin layer of copper on one side (for single-sided PCB) or on both sides (for double-sided PCB) depending on your design.

3. Wash the board with water to make sure that it is free of dirt and dust. Let it dry for a few minutes.

4. If you chose acid etching, print your CAD layout on glossy paper and place it on top of the substrate board. Make sure that you printed your design in the proper orientation as to not reverse your layout.

5. Iron the paper on the copper surface of the substrate board for a few minutes until it sticks firmly.

6. After that, dip the whole board with the joined paper design in hot water for at least 10 minutes. This will soften the paper so you can remove it easily.

7. Pick up the board from the water and gently peel the paper. You should be left with the substrate board imprinted with your PCB design.

8. The next step is dangerous so you should put on a pair of goggles and a face mask.

9. Pour the acid etchant in a large, deep, and non-corrosive container. The most acid used in this process is ferric chloride. Immerse the whole substrate board into the acid and mix every five minutes until all the unwanted copper is etched away.

10. When you see that it is done, lift up the board with plastic tongs and wash it immediately with running water for a few minutes. Make sure that no copper residue is left in the substrate for it to work better.

11. Smoothen it out with a fine sand paper for best quality.

12. If you chose the UV etching process, follow the acid etching process except that instead of using a clothes iron and ferric chloride for etching, simply place the joined printed design and copper-coated board into a UV etching chamber. Turn on the UV machine and set it to the indicated time before taking it out. You will see that your PCB is already perfectly etched afterward.

UV etching is simpler and easier but the actual UV machine may cost you a lot. Acid etching is still the most economical way of making PCB at home. One just have to be careful and wear the proper protective equipment when handling dangerous chemicals.

PCB fabrication is a multi-step process that is mostly carried by machines.The printed circuit boards are one of the most important components in the world of electronics today.

Designing Your Military Coins

military coinsWhether you already have a design in mind for your military coins or you want to copy an existing one, the talented and skilled graphic artists of custom coin manufacturers will be there to guide you through the design process. Following is the common process used in designing  coins

First Step: Send Your Files/Ideas

Most custom coin manufacturers use the PC as primary platform. Some will require special files or templates which limits your options. The better ones will accept drawings, scanned images, and image descriptions. Their artists and crafts men will turn your wonderful ideas into special and unique designs that will definitely meet your expectations and merit your approval. You can even send the files containing your designs or descriptions to their email addresses. The most commonly accepted are the following file extensions: 7z, doc, docx, eps, gif, jpeg, jpg, pdf, ping, ppt, pptx, psd, qti, rar, svg, tga, tif, txt, and zip.. You may also include any details and ideas that help with the design of your custom coins, and of course your contact information.

Second Step: Choose the Coin Shape

Good custom coins manufacturers use state of the art and unique mold processes to craft custom shapes with no additional cost to the customer. If you’re thinking of dog tags, stars, insignias, emblems, traditional circular designs, or bottle openers for the shape of your military coins, they’ve got it all covered for you. All custom coins start as round coins where the excess is cut away to make the shape according to your design. This is the reason why you get more real estate if you use a round design. But don’t worry. Custom shapes are usually free of charge.

Third Step: Choose the Metal Style

The metal style of your custom coins adds aesthetic value and can reflect the achievements of the individuals they will be presented to as well as the ideals of the group. The metal style choices are not limited to gold, silver, and copper. They also come in antique finish for that more traditional feel or polished for that added glimmer. Here are the common metal style options available:

–  Gold (comes in polished or antique finish)
–  Silver (comes in polished or antique finish)
–  Brass (comes in polished or antique finish)
–  Copper (comes in polished or antique finish)
–  Black Nickel
–  Duo Tone (Two metal styles of your choice)

Fourth Step: Choose Coin Options

After the design has been finalized and the shape and metal styles have been chosen, there are still a wide range of options that will add even more value to your custom military coins – from improving the look and feel to adding protection to the coins. You can choose from any of the following:

–  3D Designs
–  Bottle Openers
–  Coin Capsules
–  Coin Cutouts
–  Edge Designs
–  Engraved Text
–  Epoxy Coating
–  Keychain attachments
–  Offset Digital Printing
–  PVC Pouches
–  Sequential Numbering
–  Translucent Enamel
–  Velvet Bags
–  Velvet Boxes

That’s all there is to designing your custom military coins. For the production up to delivery, most custom coin manufacturers also use a simple four step process:

Step 1. They will send you a quote based on the design that has been agreed upon by following the design process.

Step 2. They will send you a proof design that you can review and assess if it meets your requirements.

Step 3. You will approve the design and the quoted price for manufacturing to commence.

Step 4. They will deliver your custom coins to your doorstep.