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PCB etching agitator with the Make Controller

PCB etching agitator with the Make Controller

Liam sent me another cool project that uses the Make Controller. This time it’s a PCB etching agitator. This looks like a great way to make PCB etching a bit easier and safer. You could make this project with just a simple 555 circuit, but with the Make Controller you could add a lot more functionality in the future, like ventilation control and heating. Check out the link for more information and a video. Thanks Liam!

I’ve been etching numerous PCBs at work for various little projects, and one of the annoying parts of etching is the actual etch process. The copper clad board is immersed in Ferrocloric acid in order to etch away the exposed portions of the board. During the etch, the liquid should be agitated in order to achieve maximum saturation. I got tired of jiggling the tupperware around for 20 minutes, so I built an agitator!

More about PCB etching with the Make Controller

In the Maker Shed:


More about the Make Controller 2.0 & Interface Board kit

8 thoughts on “PCB etching agitator with the Make Controller

  1. mosheen says:

    Gut the servo’s pot and hook the battery straight to the motor.

  2. charlie says:

    god, that’s overkill. i have yet to see an application of the make controller that justifies its cost. ($85.00!) this most definitely is not it! i use a few cents worth of HCL and H2O2. stir it with a plastic fork. etches in under two minutes. some people really need to understand how to “use the right tool for the job”. i think about that all the time, and my life is better for it.

    1. Marc de Vinck says:

      Overkill, Yes. Bad idea, NO!

      Controlling 1 servo is not utilizing the power of the Make Controller. However, all that is needed is 3 wire to connect the servo and make it run. Program, use, unplug, reuse! It’s a great solution if you have an “extra” micro-controller that can be spared temporarily, not permanently.

      Also, the maker mentions it’s a 20 minute process not 2. If it were 2 minutes, I would agree….use a plastic fork, but for 20 minutes, maybe a few times a day. That adds up fast! Program the controller for 5 minutes and you could possibly save hours a day.

      1. jay says:

        The previous commenter is speaking of using hydrochloric acid / peroxide mix not ferric chloride as used in the agitator above. Pretty sure that’s why he said 2 min…

        I have etched copper plates with ferric chloride for intaglio printing many times. I always used a vertical bath so that agitation was not necessary. I have not etched a circuit board yet, but would assume a vertical tank would be the way to go… anyone have experience with this?

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