Aliens Acid Ate My PCBs!
I was in high school, 14 years of age… building various electronic devices since age of 10…. all the time getting PCB was the biggest problem… I learned that best way to create PCBs is with mixture of water, acid and hydrogen peroxide. the mixture had to be created with 1 part of H2O2, 7 parts of acid, and 25 parts of water. And it was working. Good. But I always wanted more, faster! So I figured water must be slowing down the whole etching proccess, and skipped water in next mixture that I made. The etching was extremely fast, in like 90 seconds I god my 3x3 inch PCB done! EXCELLENT! I was so excited that I even started planning to create all the PCB's that I ever needed. So I poured the mixture into Sprite 2L bottle, and sealed it good. It had like 1/2 L of mixture inside. It was around 9PM when I closed it. Since I was into electronics, listening to the various radio stations long into the night was a regular way to fall-asleep. Same happened that night. Just when sleep started to take me down around 2:30AM,... there was an EXPLOSION! A BIG ONE! It was 1996, the war in Croatia had just come to the end, but hearing an explosion in Zagreb would still make you fill… wrong! My room was on the south side of the flat, and my parents room was on the north side. We both took a look on the street and saw nothing special, so we ran through the corridor and switched sides, they looked south - nothing, I looked north - nothing. The arousement let us go. They returned to their bed, and I.. as I was walking to my bed; their and my room were separated by bathroom where I stored the mixture; I noticed familiar ... odor. That moment everything made sense. First thing I did was - turn on the lights in the corridor so I don't step on anything wrong. Then, I opened bathroom door - ough! what a mess!!! The Sprite bottle couldn't take any more pressure so it blew up! The mixture was all around the bathroom; on the walls, on the tiles, on the wooden door, clothes, every where… and everything was dissapearing! Like in Alien when alien's acid eats up everything it touches! Same. Then I realized the situation might get out of my hands; in the bathroom there was a gas boiler that heated our flat and hot water. I called my mother, you know, mothers always protect their young. She came, she didn't understand anything, and she silently asked me what should we do? What kind of mixture is eating our bathroom!? She was silent because my father was very,.... how to say… temperament guy, and it's better he doesn't react. I told her the best way I know how to stop this ... feast… is to reduce the intensity of mixture by adding water. In Croatia, we say “VUK je opasna životinja!” = Wolf is a dangerous animal! - in chemical lingo - VUK represents “/Voda U Kiselinu” = Water Into Acid! - which everybody should know is another explosive process. So I told her: we need to add a lot of water, but very slowly and with caution. We did so and stopped the mixtures reign. Now comes the story - this was all just a context. My father woke up, came to the bathroom to see what's going on, and when we explained, he started shouting and swearing. He was swearing all the scientists he could come up to at 3AM. So we were reminded of Leonardo da Vinci, Tesla, Einstein, Maria and Pierre Curie, ... GOD him self, ... some more scientists and it lasted for 15 minutes. I was aware that everything could have been blasted into air since explosion happened near gas installation, but I was laughing (silently) at what he was swearing it was a moment I'll never forget! Even mother said that to me next morning. Nowadays, we tell this story to our friends, and my father also says that he was silly to him self (just to add a detail, he's bald, he had a normal figure, but with a bigger belly, and he was in old fashioned white underpants and undershirt running all over the 3x2 meter corridor for 15 mins and swearing all the guys). We had to change tiles and repaint wooden interior of the bathroom. Mother's silk shirts have been… eaten. I have never again made a single PCB at home. I'm so sorry for that.
- Shared November 1, 2012