One-minute PCB etching

One-minute PCB etching

Jim, from TechShop, has a nifty how-to on Instructables covering the sponge and Ferric Chloride method of quick n’ dirty PCB etching. He writes:

This weekend I tried this sponge and ferric chloride method to etch 3 Arduino shield boards I am prototyping for our RFID-enabled member access system at TechShop (TechShop is the 15,000 square foot membership-based DIY workshop with locations in Menlo Park CA, Portland OR and Durham NC). I was so impressed with the success of this technique that I decided to write it up as an Instructable.

The method I will now show you gives you the advantages of all the other methods, and none of the downsides. Specifically:

  • You get a fast etch (much faster than either method I know of),
  • You use a tablespoon of solution, so disposal problems are eliminated
  • A small bottle of ferric chloride will last for hundreds of boards
  • No tank or tub is needed, no heating or agitation
  • Undercutting is practically non-existent, and the resist stays in place
  • There is no need to try to reduce the amount of copper being etched
  • The etch is so fast that it is actually exciting to watch and show your friends!

Sponge + Ferric Chloride Method — Etch PCBs in One Minute! [Thanks to The Brown-Eyed Albino]

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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