Chemical Etchants

From OpenCircuits
Revision as of 07:57, 4 May 2007 by (talk)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

buy valium real ringtones adipex online cheap phentermine free sony ericsson ringtones cheap norco cheap vigrx cheap meridia order diethylpropion nokia ringtones cheap xenical qwest ringtones mono ringtones cheap clonazepam cheap soma sony ringtones motorola ringtones cialis online free sony ericsson ringtones midi ringtones cheap paxil tracfone ringtones xanax online alltel ringtones xanax online buy pharmacy online cheap viagra cheap alprazolam order soma free sonyericsson ringtones ultram online alprazolam online cheap hoodia cheap diazepam albuterol online soma free qwest ringtones free verizon ringtones clonazepam online free kyocera ringtones cheap soma hgh online buy ambien nextel ringtones xenical online norco online tramadol online vicodin online free verizon ringtones free alltel ringtones music ringtones soma online funny ringtones free funny ringtones cialis free tracfone ringtones tramadol online xanax online but vigrx samsung ringtones buy fioricet buy paxil cheap ambien free sprint ringtones free mp3 ringtones fioricet online lipitor online ultracet online cheap tenuate buy soma phentermine online vicodin online cheap ortho vicodin online cheap levitra adipex motorola ringtones cheap adipex free nextel ringtones order ultram nokia ringtones funny ringtones buy carisoprodol buy phentermine cheap valium qwest ringtones cheap tenuate sonyericsson ringtones free motorola ringtones cheap cyclobenzaprine cheap norco lortab online flexeril online tracfone ringtones cheap carisoprodol paxil qwest ringtones buy tramadol levitra online didrex online punk ringtones ultracet buy hydrocodone xenical online free nokia ringtones sprint ringtones diethylpropion online adipex online polyphonic ringtones cheap cialis ultram online clomid online sagem ringtones nextel ringtones alprazolam online order ultram cheap alprazolam free samsung ringtones cheap viagra free motorola ringtones viagra online cheap phentermine ultram online diazepam online rivotril online ativan online clonazepam online tramadol online carisoprodol online meridia online cheap valium zoloft online cheap cyclobenzaprine free sonyericsson ringtones flexeril online xanax nokia ringtones cheap valium wellbutrin online online sildenafil zoloft online valium online free midi ringtones cheap cialis free qwest ringtones real ringtones real ringtones polyphonic ringtones tracfone ringtones ultracet online norco online polyphonic ringtones buy levitra ambien online cheap sildenafil cheap prozac xanax online ortho online funny ringtones cheap vicodin phentermine online cheap norco lortab online cheap hydrocodone cheap ativan buy paxil free mono ringtones valium cheap tramadol zoloft online hydrocodone cheap viagra cheap albuterol rivotril online verizon ringtones lorazepam viagra online cheap didrex phentermine online cingular ringtones ericsson ringtones sony ericsson ringtones free motorola ringtones zanaflex online flexeril online free samsung ringtones nokia ringtones diazepam online free sonyericsson ringtones lorazepam online free real ringtones but rivotril ambien online cheap albuterol cialis online buy ambien sagem ringtones cheap norco meridia online cheap nexium

After masking off the parts of the copper-clad board you want to keep, you need to remove the parts you don't want to keep. This is usually done by chemically etching away the copper. There are a lot of different chemical techniques for doing this, each with its own advantages and drawbacks.

None of these chemicals is incredibly dangerous, but they can all be toxic or caustic, and should be treated with care. Eye protection and gloves are a very good idea. Before you start, make sure you know how dangerous each chemical is, and figure out what you will need to do if you spill it or get it on yourself. Washing with plenty of water is usually a good start. For some chemicals you may want to keep a neutralizing agent handy. An MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheet) for the chemical will give you some basic information.

Ferric Chloride

This is the most common hobbyist etchant. Ferric chloride, FeCl3, is a brownish substance. It's usually sold in a bottle (dissolved in water, perhaps with a little acid or peroxide) or as a powder (which you have to dissolve in water).

When in solution, ferric chloride is a ferric ion (Fe3 ) and a chloride ion (Cl-). The ferric ion reacts with the metallic copper on the circuit board in a redox reaction, producing a ferrous ion (Fe2 ) and cuprous or cupric (Cu1 or Cu2 ) copper. The chlorine is just along for the ride. The copper ion, unlike the metallic copper, is soluble, so it leaves the circuit board and goes into solution. The reaction products form a black sludge which settles to the bottom of the etching tank. After etching enough copper, all your Fe3 is used up and your solution is full of Cu1 , and you need to get more etchant.

Ammonium Persulfate

Sodium Persulfate

More environmentally friendly than ferric chloride. Can monitor the etching as initially clear new etchant solution turns blue from the copper ions.

Acid Cupric Chloride

Dead simple etchant made from ordinary, store-bought chemicals (hydrochloric acid and hydrogen peroxide). Has the advantage that it can be regenerated by bubbling oxygen/air through it, or by adding more H2O2. In addition, it doesn't get used up: the etchant bath simply grows with use (kind of like sourdough starter…) The used etchant also makes a great algecide/pH reducer for your pool (and a whole lot cheaper than that stuff they sell at the pool store).

What you need:

  • 38% Hydrochloric Acid, HCl (available at finer hardware stores or pool supply stores as Muriatic Acid)
  • 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, H2O2 (available from any drug store)
  • Plastic or Glass Pans, Jars, and tongs (no metal)


  1. Mix your HCl and H2O2 1:1 in a non-metalic container, making sure to add the acid slowly to the H2O2. DO NOT ADD THE H2O2 TO THE ACID!!!
  2. After you've masked your board, dip it in the solution and constantly agitate. You should notice a dark green cloud start to come from the board almost immedately which quickly dissapears or turns lighter as it gets further from the surface of the board.
  3. Etching should take about 10min depending on the temperature and how well you agitated the etchant. When all of the copper is gone, dip in water to wash off any stray etchant and stop the reaction.
  4. When done etching, save used etchant in a non-metalic container and mark clearly its contents.
  5. If your etchant has become a dark, murky green color, add a little bit of H2O2 or bubble air/O2 through the solution to regenerate it back to a light, transparent green color.

See links at bottom for more information on the chemistry and some pictures of the process.

Disposal procedures

Flushing used etchant down the drain is a bad idea (and usually illegal) because copper ion is toxic. The usual recommended way to dispose of hobbyist amounts of etchant is to convert it to a solid somehow and dispose of the solid in the trash.

  • Kepro Circuit Systems Removal of Copper and Persulfate from Spent Sodium Persulfate Etchant by Precipitation

External Links