Sunday, November 25, 2018

Making an UV image setter for PCBs

This is going to be a quick one. I wanted to do one of these for a long time but somehow it eluded me for quite some time (too long if you ask me)

The problem

I need to make a PCB for a small circuit at home. Conveniently. After I'm done designing the circuit it usually is late and the sun doesn't shine no more. I want to be able to use the photoresist dry film (foil) and I want it to be fast!

The solution

I used to use a 500W halogen, then an energy-saving fluorescent lamp but all of those things were just cumbersome. Finally I have decided to make use of UV emitting diodes.

See the following picture of a ready-made product:

The device is powered by a 3 cell LiPo battery (I have a bunch of them for my flying toys). The time it takes to properly develop the foil is ABSOLUTELY SHORTEST FROM ALL THE LIGHT SOURCES I USED BEFORE!!!

The 500W halogen needed circa 30 minutes in the setup I used. The energy-saving light bulb needed 12.5 minutes. This little toy does the same and more in 90 seconds!!!

The making

Making such a toy is extremely simple. You just cut as many pieces to length as much space you have in the housing of your choosing (I used the Z23 housing where I have cut a full-size hole in one of the parts).

Next you cut a piece of paper that fits inside the housing. Once you do that take the pieces of strips and glue them on to the piece of paper in a similar way that you see on the picture above. The point here is to make the as evenly spaced as possible.

Then you solder them to form a strip (plus with plus, minus with minus). On one end you solder any kind of connector (I went for the small JST one because I have a lot of them). Then just make a hole on the side where the leads with the connector are coming out.

Finally place that paper with glued strips inside, apply power and enjoy!

Happy PCBing!

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