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Making FSBUS PCB's

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Hi,I've been thinking about making a few of the FSBUS cards and I'd like to do it myself. Does anyone have any links to tutorials? I've never etched a PCB and don't really have any idea where to start. I have seem some things on this forum about using photo boards and printing transparencies to make the boards but I don't know how hard that would be. I also found this at radioshack http://www.tinyurl.com/day0 . It looks like you have to draw all the lines though and from the looks of the boards that would be fairly difficult.So, any tips on where to get started? Any links to buy the blank boards? Any stories from people about what happened to there boards?Thanks for the help,Spencer

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Guest DaveC3

I make small single sided PCBs. I design the circuit using Eagle layout editor 4.09r2 (electronic drafting) it is free and works quite well. I use Press N Peel to affix the circuit pattern onto the bare circuit board. Here is how it works. 1. Make your circuit with Eagle. Next print your layout onto the Press N Peel using Laser printer (laser only). Next use an iron and press the circuit onto the copper side of the blank circuit board. Etch the board, then clean off the resist, drill the holes and mount your components. You can find both products on the Internet.Hope that helps.Dave

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Guest

Thanks for the tips and the link. It doesn't look that hard actually. Just have to order the press-n-peel now...Had another question for anyone who has used FSBUS. I'm wondering if you can setup the software so that when you push a button it will allow to set either the whole number or the decimal in a frequency. For example, this radio panel from AGT has a rotary encoder that has a built in push button. http://home.att.net/~sfinger/737vhfradio.htm If I wired the rotary encoder and pushbutton separately, could I tell the software that when you push the button in and move the rotary it would only change the decimal and when you push it again it would only change the whole number?Not a big deal but it would be a lot easier than spinning the rotary for a couple of minutes :)Thanks again,Spencer

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Guest Glenn Weston

Hi Barcode, I have made a few posts regarding building of the FSbus boards & I have used the press-n-peel method.It is fairly easy, first cut the board to the desired size, print the .ps file onto the press-n-peel sheet then cut the image out.Then Iron the image onto the copper, make sure the copper has been cleaned, I have found some very fine grade sandpaper under running water works well, it should look nice & shiny, when ironing you may have to experiment a bit as the temperature is critical, I have found using the cotton setting works best for me & placing a t-shirt over the top whilst ironing, keep the iron moving rather than just pressing down. When it has taken properly I find the shiny side of the press-n-peel seems to get an embossed look about it where the tracks run around the circuit, quench the whole thing under cold water & peel it away slowly. After this inspect the circuit, every track & solderpad, very carefully, if some seem to be shorted run a knife between the tracks, if you can see any open circuits then have an etching pen ready to do a little touch up, I sometimes just use an artline marker, it all depends on how bad the open track is, you can even wait till ready to solder & bridge with a piece of wire, however it is best to fix things as you find them that way you won't forget to do it later & save some heartache fault finding.This method definatley works, the boards are not going to be like a professionally etched board, but just be sure to inspect them carefully, it will save you alot of time later, it is even a good idea to get a multimeter out & do spot buzz checks from solder pad to solder pad, I did have an occasion where I had a hairline break in the track that I could not see, this was my fault however as I cut the board size down after applying the press-n-peel, the side of the steel ruller I was using cut a fine line in one of the tracks so the copper was etched away during the etching process.I would suggest starting with the smaller boards first & then moving on to the more complex & larger ones, this will give you a feel for what the process is & getting the tranfer process right & save you wasting materials.If the first transfer does not work out, just sand the image off the copper, reprint the press-n-peel & have another go !Ah forgot to mention the fun part, to etch you just need some ferric chloride available from an electronics shop, HANDLE WITH CARE it is corrosive. Once left with the copper track covered with the blue press-n-peel just give them a light sand under water to expose the copper again, best not to do this until you are ready to drill, as the copper will start to oxidise withing hours making it harder to solder to.By the way don't throw your used ferric chloride away, pour it back into the original bottle & use again, Also the etching process speeds up if the the chloride is raised in temperature, I usually fill the sink with hot water, then use a suitable container (not metal) use ceramic or glass to host the chloride & circuit board, this warms up the solution, keep agitating it too, the copper will disappear before your eyes & you should be done in 15-20Mins or so.Good luck Glenn.

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Guest

I have another question for everyone.I have tried 2 or 3 gerber file viewers and I have yet to open any of the files. I've tried VaryView and GCPrevue and neither of them will open the files. GCPrevue says that the files aren't valid and gives some weird error message and won't open it. With varyview it opens one of them but the layout is thick and doesn't resemble any of the boards I've seen...I must be missing something here :) Has anyone else used these programs and opened the gerber files? Anyone recommend a free program I could try?Thanks for all your help,Hope to make the boards soon. As soon as I can print the gerbers...

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Guest GeorgeDorkofikis

I've tried the (shareware) GerbView and opened all the FSBUS PCB files normally. However, I haven't tried printing any of them for test yet.But on the screen the lanes seemed too thin. Maybe I have set up GerbView wrong.George DorkofikisAthens, Greece

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Guest Glenn Weston

I noticed the Gerbview files didn't look right too, however you should only need to use the .ps files, these files are postscript files & can be sent straight to a postscript printer at the command prompt.........i.e. "print file.ps"Any descent graphics package should be able to open the .ps files, I can open them in corel draw through the import utility I think it was, & then mirror them if need be & print from there.Glenn.

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Guest GeorgeDorkofikis

Indeed, Postscript files are easier to handle.My only hesitation is that Paintshop pro (which I use to view the files) asks for the resolution of the PS file. What should I set for that? 150dpi? And is this for screen only or will affect the printing as well?George DorkofikisAthens, Greece

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Guest Glenn Weston

George, I am not sure but I would imagine if your laser printer can do 600dpi for example then that would be the setting to choose.Try printing onto a white piece of paper, if the print is nice & clean & the resolution is good then you should be OK to go with the press & peel, corel draw does not ask me that question, it just comes up with a box asking me the VM size, whatever that is, I don't touch the setting & just click OK, the image looks clean on the screen & you can zoom right in on a solder pad/drill hole & it still looks perfectly round.Glenn.

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>Try printing onto a white piece of paper, if the print is nice>& clean & the resolution is good then you should be OK to go>with the press & peel, corel draw does not ask me that>question, it just comes up with a box asking me the VM size,Corel draw is a vector drawing application, meaning it reads the postscript as line drawing instructions, just what postscript is about. "Put a rectangle here, and a line here, and this polygon here, and so on.."Paint shop pro is a raster image editor, which means bitmaps. There everything is made of pixels, and it needs to know what resolution you want to use to map the line drawing on the pixel grid. So yeah, like mentioned, the printer resolution is good to go with. And you probably dont want antialiasing if you use the print resolution (600dpi or such) so you get sharp edges.>whatever that is, I don't touch the setting & just click OK,>the image looks clean on the screen & you can zoom right in on>a solder pad/drill hole & it still looks perfectly round.Also *please* make sure you etch the boards the right way around. The etching itself makes the image mirrored, and also note that the FSBUS postscript files are mirrored AFAIK. The idea is, on the finished board, the texts will be *in reverse*. A good way to check is to look here:http://mikkila.wabbits.org/fsbus/doc/index_e.phpCheck the "board photos" and see how it needs to look. ALSO note that your etching will be on the *back side*, the photos show the *component* side up, so you need to think how the stuff is arranged on the back of the board, not over the etched image.So spend a moment visualizing this so you avoid etching the boards mirrored..Good luck with the project!Tuomas

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Guest ielchitz

I'm pretty confused here - and I believe this confusion had caused me to end up with a mirrored board.If I was to take the image located at http://mikkila.wabbits.org/fsbus/doc/pdf/com.pdfDo I want to:1) Print that image, transfer it, and etch?2) Mirror the image, Print it, Transfer it, and etch?I've read and searched and scratched my head with all the posts and I still can't seem to figure it out.Included is a shot of my board which I believe is mirrored incorrectly.Any help appreciated from this helpful bunch.Ian.

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Guest ielchitz

My apologies - camera died before I could make the upload.Any help is appreciated - if I have to make a new board - so be it, I'm definetly enjoying the transfer, etch, and drill process as my boards keep getting better and better - yet at the same time I'm anxious to get the components on to my first board so I can hit the "next" roadblock.TIA,Ian.

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