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DIY Laser Circuit Board

Removing the Copper

You should now have a circuit board ready for etching. I won't go into details on etching, as there is many articles around the internet about etching and I don't really have anything important to add in that respect.

I would advise using an abundance of caution with whatever etching chemical you choose. Read and follow any safety warnings! Any etchant chemical is an industrial product designed for use by trained technicians with a full compliment of safety gear and procedures. Remember it is designed specifically to eat (etch) metal. Don't use metal tools, containers, etc. Perform the etching in a safe, well ventilated(preferably outdoors) area.

Removing the Resist

Once you've completed your chosen etching process, only one small issue remains - all your nice clean, shiny copper still has this coating of plastic toner on it! Surely, that won't be helpful when it comes time to solder on the components.

I found little help from the internet on how to get rid of this stuff. So, I experimented with basically any solvent I could think off, including alcohol, paint thinner, nail polish remover, lighter fluid, etc. Nothing was removing this toner!

There is the possibility of sanding it off -carefully- which will work, but that could damage small traces and is likely to thin out the copper we've worked so hard to leave in place.

What I did finally discover to chemically remove it is a product called brake and parts cleaner. You can find a spray can of it in any auto parts store, or even the automotive section of a department store, for a couple of bucks and it works very well. The toner will literally just run off the board .. leaving our nice shiny, clean copper traces ready for populating (installing components).

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