What is BetterBoard?
BetterBoard is my attempt to fix the shortcomings of strip/vero board.
What makes BetterBoard better?
- FR-4 vs phenolic
- Cut traces instead of removing pads (make layouts tighter)
- Soldermask between pads eliminates solder blobs
- Plated thru-holes allow for top side routing (solder to pads not legs)
- Large pads that are easy to solder
Where can I buy BetterBoard?
You can purchase this here on my blog
So my wonderful wife has introduced me to another craft to keep my hands and brain busy.
I hate using nasty chemicals at home. Hate it. If you work with them long enough you will damage yourself and/or your property at some point. I went 15 years using FeCl at home without any issues until one day I happened to spill a liter of it all over my work bench. That bench was covered in metal shavings created by the nearby drill press. It was an absolute nightmare that took about 4 hours to clean up, and I still get panicky when I think about it.
Here is another tutorial I dug up that was created by my wife at least 14 years ago back when we were still dating. She is an avid DIY’er with a reputation of being a crafty hacker type…with yarn and fabric instead of a keyboard and software. Before things like pre-sensitized screens were a thing it was pretty complicated to try making your own screens at home. My wife came up with this solution in the PDF linked below. At the time, this tutorial blew up on craft message boards, and over the years I’ve seen a few variations of this method. I haven’t tried it on electronics enclosures because it’s hard to use this method with that amount of detail, but some of you might be more brave than me.
Here are some Amazon links to items listed in the tutorial.
- 10″ embroidery hoop $2.49
- Paintbrush multi-pack $4.73
- Speedball screen printing ink $6.41
- Mod Podge $7.47
- 12-pack of various Gildan t-shirts $30.72
- Old nylons (get them from your mom/wife/girlfriend/grandma/neighbor)
So this tutorial is a blast from the past that I found on an old hard drive. I wrote this back in the early 2000’s when there weren’t a whole lot of resources on the internet with regard to etching boards. This method is now pretty widely used throughout the DIY community so there isn’t really anything new here. It’s pretty rough, and there are much better tutorials out there, but I figured I’ll post it anyway just in case anyone needs a laugh at my pitiful tutorial making skills of 12+ years ago. I’ve also compiled a list of links to items needed for this process available on Amazon.
- Etchant Tray
- Copper Clad Laminate
- Drill Press
- Drill Bits .8mm to 1.2mm
- Laminator (requires mods from Pulsar site)
I’m sure there are laminators on the market that cost less, but I have the Apache AL-13P that was recommended on the Pulsar website, and the unit linked above seems to be a copy of the AL-13P. The mods required for the laminator are here. The Apache AL-13P is a solid unit that performs miles above what the GBC laminator in the tutorial could do.
The Bazz Fuss is easily one of the top five of my favorite fuzz circuits. It’s super simple to build, costs next to nothing, and it sounds incredible. The low parts count and straightforward layout makes this a great first build. I’ve probably done at least 50 different board layouts of this circuit using parts packages ranging from 0402 SMD chips to huge “Orange Drop” caps. The boards have varied from the size of a postage stamp to the size of a credit card. I decided to spend this afternoon putting together a really straightforward single sided layout that is friendly to the home etch process.
Thanks to the folks over at 555 Timer Circuits I threw together a quick PCB layout for their continuity tester. Yes, most multimeters contain a continuity buzzer, but this is going to be part of a prototyping fixture that is currently in the planning phase. The idea is that I’ll have a breadboard, power supply, signal generator, headphone amplifier, and this continuity tester in one unit.
R1 – 10k
R2 – 33k
R3 – 1k
R4 – 39R
C1, C2 – 10nf
Q1 – 2N3904 (any general purpose NPN)
Q2 – 2N3906 (any general purpose PNP)
U1 – 555 Timer