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How to Make a Robot PCB

by: Mar 19,2014 811 Views 0 Comments Posted in Engineering Technical

PCB printed circuit board

In order for a robot to function, it must have circuitry. Circuitry is made up of electronic components connected to a printed circuit board, or PCB. The PCB is connected to other components such as motors, sensors and other PCBs. You can make your own printed circuit board at home.


1 Lay out your PCB design using PCB design software or a CAD program. There are many free software programs available that will work. The layout should include all traces and pads required for your circuit.

2 Print the layout onto toner transfer paper or glossy photo paper using a laser printer. This is the mask you will use to mace your PCB. Do not use an inkjet printer, as the ink will not transfer correctly to the PCB. If you do not have access to a laser printer, your local copy center may be able to print it for you. Adjust the printer settings to print the layout as dark as possible.

3 Cut your copper clad board to the correct size. The board should be big enough to fit your whole circuit layout. Sand the surface of the board with 400 to 600-grit sandpaper and clean the board thoroughly with acetone to remove any residue.

4 Lay a paper towel over the board and mask and using an iron set to its highest setting, begin heating the mask. Apply steady, firm pressure, moving the iron occasionally to ensure you heat the whole board. Continue this for two to three minutes, checking the transfer by occasionally pulling off the corner of the mask and checking if the ink is fully transferred to the board. Once all the ink is transferred, stop ironing the board and allow it to cool.

5 Place the board into your etch solution. There are many solutions available online that will work. Allow the PCB to remain in the solution until all the unneeded copper is removed from the board. Depending on how fresh the etch chemical is, it could take 10 to 30 minutes. Once the etching is complete, remove the board and clean it with acetone.

6 Drill the holes for your components using a high-speed rotary tool or drill press. The bit size will be determined by the components you use.

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