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Chapter -6 PCB PREPARATION TECHNIQUES

You need to generate a positive (copper black) UV translucent artwork film. You will never get a good artwork, so it is important to get the best quality at this stage. The most important thing is to get a clear sharp image with a very solid opaque black. Now a day, artwork is drawn using either a dedicated PCB CAD program or a suitable drawing/graphics package. It is absolutely essential that your PCB software prints hole in the middle of pads, which will act as center marks when drilling.

Media
Artwork quality is very dependent on both the output device and the media uses. It is not necessary to use a transparent artwork medium-as long as it is reasonably translucent to UV, its fine-less translucent materials may need a slightly longer exposure time. Line definitions, black opaques and toner/ink retention are much more important.

Output Devices
Laser printers offer the best all-round solution. These are affordable,fast and good quality. The printer used must have at least 600 dpi resolution for all but the simplest PCBs as you will usually be working in multiples of 0.06cm (4o tracks per inch). 600 dpi divides into 40, so you get consistent spacing and line width. It is very important that the printer produces a good solid black with no toner pinholes. If you're planning to buy a printer for PCB use,do some test prints on tracing paper to check the quality first. If the printer has a density control,set it to the blackest.

Photo resist PCB Laminates


Always use good-quality, pre-coated photo resist fiber glass (FR4) board. Check carefully for scratches in the protective covering and on the surface after peeling off the covering. You don't need darkroom or subdued lighting when handling boards, as long as you avoid direct sunlight,minimize unnecessary exposure, and develop immediately after UV exposure.

Exposure

The photo resist board needs to be exposed to UV light through the artwork, using a UV exposure box. UV exposures units can easily be made using standard fluorescent lamp ballasts and UV tubes. For small PCB's two or four 8-watt, 30.5cm tubes will be adequate. For larger (A3) units, four 38cm tubes are ideal.

Developing

Does not use sodium hydroxide for developing photo resist laminates. It is a completely and utterly dreadful stuff for developing PCB's. Apart from its causticity, it is very sensitive to both temperature and concentration, and made-up solution doesnt last long. When its too weak it doesn't develop at all, and when too strong it strips all the resist off. It is almost impossible to get reliable and consistent results, especially when making PCBs in an environment with large temperature variations. A much better developer is a silicate-based product that comes as a liquid concentrate. You can leave the board in it for several times the normal developing time without noticeable degradation. This also means that it is not temperature critical no risk of stripping at warmer temperatures. Made-up solution also has a very long shelf-life and lasts until it's used up. You can make the solution up really strong for fast developing.

Etching
Ferric chloride enchant is messy stuff, but easily available and cheaper than most alternatives. It attacks any metal including stainless steel. So when setting up a PCB etching area, use a plastic or ceramic sink,with plastic fillings and screws whenever possible, and seal any metal screws with silicone. Copper water pipes may get splashed or dripped-on, so sleeve or cover them in plastic;heat-shrink sleeving is great if you're installing new pipes.

Tin Plating

Tin-plating a PCB makes it a lot easier to solder, and is pretty much essential for surface mount boards. Unless you have access to a roller tinning machine, chemical tinning is the only option. Unfortunately, tin-plating chemicals are expensive but the result are usually worth it. If you don't tin-plates the board, either leave the photo resist coating on (most resists are intended to act as soldering fluxes) or spray the board with rework flux to prevent the copper from oxidizing. Room-temperature tin-plating crystals produce a good finish in a few minutes. There are other tinning chemicals available, some of which require mixing with acid or high-temperature use.

Drilling
If you have fire glass (FR$) board, you must use tungsten carbide drill bits, fiber glass eats normal high-speed steal (HSS)bits very rapidly,although HSS drills all right for odd larger sizes ( >2mm). Carbide drill bits are expensive and the thin ones snap very easily. When using carbide drill bits below 1 mm, you must use a good vertical drill stand, you will break very quickly without one. Carbide drill bits are available as straight-shank or thick ( some times called 'turbo' ) shank. In straight shank, the whole bit is the diameter of the hole, and in thick shank, a standard-size (typically about 3.5 mm) shank tapers down to the hole size.

Cutting
A small guillotine is the easiest way to cut fiber glass laminate. Ordinary saws ( band saws, jig saws and hack saws ) will be blunted quickly unless are carbide tipped, and the dust can cause sink irritation. A carbide tail-saw blade in a jig saw might be worth a tray, it also easy to accidentally scratch through protective film when sawing , causing photo resist scratches and broken teaks on finished board. A sheet metal guillotine is also excellent for cutting boards provided the blade is fairy sharp. To make cut outs, drill a series of small holes, punch out the file to size. Alternatively, use after saw or small hack saw, but be prepared to replace blade often. With practice it is possible to do corner cut outs with a guillotine but you have to be very careful that you don't over cut.

Soldering

Soldering is the jointing together of two metals to give physical bonding and good electrical conductivity, it is use primarily in electrical and electronics circuitry. Solder is a combination of a metal, which are solid at normal room temperature and become liquid at between 180 degree and 200 degree celsius . Solder bonds well to varies metals and extremely well to copper. Soldering is a necessary skill you need to learn to successfully build the electronics circuit. It is a primary way how electronics components are connected to circuit boards, and sometimes directly to other components. For soldering we can use the soldering iron.