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DIY PCBs With Artsy Touches


Different Boards I’ve Built

Different Boards I’ve Built

I make PCBs at home all the time. I use Adobe Illustrator to design them. I place components to be used in a circuit on my flatbed scanner to get accurate footprints of the parts. I then place the images of the undersides of the parts into Illustrator and arrange them in whatever way makes it easiest for me to route traces. On just about every design, I either place graphical elements, route the traces in a cool, artsy ways or I design the traces to make the board look like there is more to it (see the Arc Reactor design image).

I’ve tried a number of methods to create the resist patterns on final boards. For a long time, I used the tone Transfer method. I’ve since switched to the photoresist method and I am far more pleased with the results. I get incredibly sharp lines and quick results.

As for etching, I started with ferric chloride. I then tried the more environmentally-friendly method of using vinegar, peroxide and salt. I found that took far too long and lowered the quality of the edges on my traces. I’ve gone back to using the reliable method of ferric chloride.

Take a look at the images I’ve attached and if you’d like to read more about them, please feel free to visit my blog (

- Shared October 19, 2012