After soldering quite a few electronic circuits, I wanted to try my hands at PCB Design and Fabrication. It would not only save me time while soldering but also ensure that the connections are correct and that prototyping a new circuit is fast.
The method I use for fabricating my PCB's is popularly known as Toner Transfer Method. It is basically heating of the printed PCB design over the copper clad board, which causes the ink polymers to melt and deposit on to the copper clad, thus transferring the toner on to the actual PCB.
I design my circuits using a software called Eagle CAD, print out a mirror image using a laser printer and then use the toner transfer method to transfer the pattern onto the copper clad.
After the circuit pattern is on the copper clad, the board is dipped into an etchant, Ferric Chloride being the one commonly used. This eats away the copper that is exposed, thereby only leaving the required connection tracks.
After etching, the board is then cleaned and holes are drilled for placement of components. The PCB is now ready to be populated and soldered.