DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating

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Hi all,

I've started making my own PCBs at home, and have been having great fun
-- until I've run into problems with making through-hole components and
plating vias. I've had a look at a lot of sites, and there seems to be
a lot of information, such as on this one:

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/electricstuff/pcbs.html

Now, I've seen mention of this "Multicore Copperset" system, but for
the life of me, I can't seem to find anywhere that has it in stock - it
seems to be a discontinued line. Alternatively, I'm trying to find just
the 'bail bar' refills, and I can try to do it myself, but I'm having
trouble finding anywhere that stocks them, too.

Failing that, I can always fall back to these linking pins, but that
seems like a bit of a waste to me - I may as well stick some solid-core
copper wire through the hole and solder it both sides - it seems to
work just as well. :-)

Does anyone have any ideas? I'm at a bit of a loss for any other ideas
on how to (easily) plate through holes.

Cheers, and thanks for any help,

Michael



Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating



>Hi all,
>
>I've started making my own PCBs at home, and have been having great fun
>-- until I've run into problems with making through-hole components and
>plating vias. I've had a look at a lot of sites, and there seems to be
>a lot of information, such as on this one:
>
>http://homepage.ntlworld.com/electricstuff/pcbs.html
>
>Now, I've seen mention of this "Multicore Copperset" system, but for
>the life of me, I can't seem to find anywhere that has it in stock - it
>seems to be a discontinued line. Alternatively, I'm trying to find just
>the 'bail bar' refills, and I can try to do it myself, but I'm having
>trouble finding anywhere that stocks them, too.
>
>Failing that, I can always fall back to these linking pins, but that
>seems like a bit of a waste to me - I may as well stick some solid-core
>copper wire through the hole and solder it both sides - it seems to
>work just as well. :-)
>
>Does anyone have any ideas? I'm at a bit of a loss for any other ideas
>on how to (easily) plate through holes.
>

There's no "easily" here. Even the best PCB houses, with resident
chemists, screw it up from time to time.

If you want to make your own boards, poking wires into vias and
soldering is probably best. But you can get plated-through 2-side
boards cheap nowadays.

John



Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating



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   When i made my own 2-sided boards during the "good old" tape daze, i
did my best to use DIP pins and part leads for as many of the
top-to-bottom connections as possible.
   Aboout 10 percent (at most) of needed connections i did by the wire
method (as suggesed).

Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating



>Hi all,
>
>I've started making my own PCBs at home, and have been having great fun
>-- until I've run into problems with making through-hole components and
>plating vias. I've had a look at a lot of sites, and there seems to be
>a lot of information, such as on this one:

These days it is very cheap to have PCBs made. It may cost a bit more
and you have to wait longer, but especially double sided PCBs are well
worth the extra money spend.

--
Reply to nico@nctdevpuntnl (punt=.)
Bedrijven en winkels vindt U op www.adresboekje.nl


Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating


Whoops, I forgot to mention that I'm a hobbyst (sp?), as well as a poor
uni student. :-)

I've seen many people make that same comment, and I guess I'd be
inclined to agree, however I'm interested in doing this for myself for
no real justifiable reason. I'm sure the excitement will wear off
pretty quickly, but I'd like to be able to whip little things up now
and then when I need it (and not have to fork out at least $50 to get
simple PCBs made from places like custompcb.com -- the only place
availble to me here in Brisbane, Australia, would cost a minimum of
about $400 for a single board. (that's from www.becman.com)).

Anyway, assuming that I'm making these myself, does anyone have any
ideas about the "Multicore Copperset" thing, or even the "bail bars"?

Thanks!



Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating



> Whoops, I forgot to mention that I'm a hobbyst (sp?), as well as a poor
> uni student. :-)
>
> I've seen many people make that same comment, and I guess I'd be
> inclined to agree, however I'm interested in doing this for myself for
> no real justifiable reason. I'm sure the excitement will wear off
> pretty quickly, but I'd like to be able to whip little things up now
> and then when I need it (and not have to fork out at least $50 to get
> simple PCBs made from places like custompcb.com -- the only place
> availble to me here in Brisbane, Australia, would cost a minimum of
> about $400 for a single board. (that's from www.becman.com)).
>
> Anyway, assuming that I'm making these myself, does anyone have any
> ideas about the "Multicore Copperset" thing, or even the "bail bars"?
>
> Thanks!
>
Two suggestions:

One:  AFAIK plated-through holes are made by drilling either bare board
or very lightly plated board, treating the holes with conductive epoxy,
and plating on copper until the desired thickness is reached.  Then you
etch the rest of the board.

Two:  See if you can get a job at that PC fab house!  Assuming that your
major is some technical discipline it'll look damn good on your resume,
you'll learn _lots_ about fabbing boards, and who knows -- maybe you'll
be able to sneak some of your boards into the process!

--

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating


1) Hrm, is this similar to the chemical process used by professional
manufacturers in the big expensive tanks? I looked into that, when
researching the process (albeit, not too deeply) but decided that I'd
stick to something more mechanical (ha, maybe chemicals just scare me
:-D ). I don't mind having to spend a bit of time putting the little
eyelets or pins or bars in holes and punching them, I just havn't been
able to find a supplier for this "Copperset" stuff or the bail bars
that a few websites seem to talk about. Then again, if everyone agrees
that this chemical process is the way to go, I might look into a bit
more (assuming it's relatively economical).

2) Ha, don't worry, I've tried. :-)  I'm doing Computer Systems
Engineering, so playing with PCBs and embedded devices is right up my
alley -- but it's hard convincing them that a lowly uni student needs
to work there. :-)

Regards,
Michael



Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating



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   The oly other altenate i can think of is to use copper or brass
rivets, then solder them (both sides).

Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating


Digikey can special order a Copperset kit for about $350.  The bails cost
$65/stick.  You can order a whole lot of boards for that kind of cash.

--
Glenn Ashmore

I'm building a 45' cutter in strip/composite. Watch my progress (or lack
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating



Glenn Ashmore wrote:
> Digikey can special order a Copperset kit for about $350.  The bails
cost
> $65/stick.  You can order a whole lot of boards for that kind of
cash.
>

Ouch! I was under the impression that they were a lot cheaper (the
bails that is, if not the kit itself) - I was planning on getting a
stack of bails and then figuring out some way of punching them in
myself. Run over the tops with some solder paste and a hot air gun...
voila! :-)

Ahhh, I can but dream. :-)

Michael



Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating


> Hi all,
>
> I've started making my own PCBs at home, and have been having great fun
> -- until I've run into problems with making through-hole components and
> plating vias. I've had a look at a lot of sites, and there seems to be
> a lot of information, such as on this one:
>
> http://homepage.ntlworld.com/electricstuff/pcbs.html
>
> Now, I've seen mention of this "Multicore Copperset" system, but for
> the life of me, I can't seem to find anywhere that has it in stock - it
> seems to be a discontinued line. Alternatively, I'm trying to find just
> the 'bail bar' refills, and I can try to do it myself, but I'm having
> trouble finding anywhere that stocks them, too.
>
> Failing that, I can always fall back to these linking pins, but that
> seems like a bit of a waste to me - I may as well stick some solid-core
> copper wire through the hole and solder it both sides - it seems to
> work just as well. :-)
>
> Does anyone have any ideas? I'm at a bit of a loss for any other ideas
> on how to (easily) plate through holes.
>
> Cheers, and thanks for any help,
>
> Michael
>

Not exactly the system you mention, but something that might be useful
(I have not tried however): there exist metallization rivets, produced
by CIF. They are a bit thick: for 0.8mm final hole a 1.3mm hole in the
PCB is required, for 1.1mm - 1.6mm. A picture can be found here:

http://www.selectronic.fr/upload/produit/pagecatalogue/10-13.pdf

A rivet tool is required as well (on the picture). I am not sure if
Selectronic would ship these items abroad. I think the same things are
sold by Farnell (at least in Europe), order codes 4208742, 4208754,
4208766, but you'd need to validate it with Farnell as they don't
provide details.

-- Andy


Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating



>Michael wrote:
>> Hi all,
>>
>> I've started making my own PCBs at home, and have been having great fun
>> -- until I've run into problems with making through-hole components and
>> plating vias. I've had a look at a lot of sites, and there seems to be
>> a lot of information, such as on this one:
>>
>> http://homepage.ntlworld.com/electricstuff/pcbs.html
>>
>> Now, I've seen mention of this "Multicore Copperset" system, but for
>> the life of me, I can't seem to find anywhere that has it in stock - it
>> seems to be a discontinued line. Alternatively, I'm trying to find just
>> the 'bail bar' refills, and I can try to do it myself, but I'm having
>> trouble finding anywhere that stocks them, too.
>>
>> Failing that, I can always fall back to these linking pins, but that
>> seems like a bit of a waste to me - I may as well stick some solid-core
>> copper wire through the hole and solder it both sides - it seems to
>> work just as well. :-)
>>
>> Does anyone have any ideas? I'm at a bit of a loss for any other ideas
>> on how to (easily) plate through holes.
>>
>> Cheers, and thanks for any help,
>>
>> Michael
>>
>
>Not exactly the system you mention, but something that might be useful
>(I have not tried however): there exist metallization rivets, produced
>by CIF. They are a bit thick: for 0.8mm final hole a 1.3mm hole in the
>PCB is required, for 1.1mm - 1.6mm. A picture can be found here:
>
>http://www.selectronic.fr/upload/produit/pagecatalogue/10-13.pdf
>
>A rivet tool is required as well (on the picture). I am not sure if
>Selectronic would ship these items abroad. I think the same things are
>sold by Farnell (at least in Europe), order codes 4208742, 4208754,
>4208766, but you'd need to validate it with Farnell as they don't
>provide details.
>
>-- Andy


Rivets/eyelets are 1960's technology and have lots of problems of
their own. The classic US vendor was USM, United Shoe Machinery Co.


Hey, this is cool:

http://home.att.net/~thercaselectron/tech3.html


John



Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating



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Wow, did you see this? http://home.att.net/~thercaselectron/sel4096.html

Incredible.


--
Thanks,
Fred.



Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating



Quoted text here. Click to load it

Granted. But the newer technology is not always better in every aspect.
That's why I guess Farnell stocks both. Depending on requirements, the
rivets could be optimal.I could use them in occasional prototyping, in
particular for the holes receiving the components. Even for the vias;
soldering a wire as a via can be fun: when it desolders on the other
side and either turns in every bad direction.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Yes, it is! A clever idea.

-- Andy

Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating



Quoted text here. Click to load it


One French translation of "Hey, this is cool" could be: "Hé, c'est le pied"

which applies particularly well to the subject.

Quoted text here. Click to load it


--
Thanks,
Fred.



Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating


Quoted text here. Click to load it

Hmm. It would be rather something like "Heh, c'est trop cool ! ça
déchire trop !"  etc.

"le pied" applies mostly to the situations when one experiences a strong
pleasure; the classic expression is "prendre son pied" which traces back
to the XIXth century where it meant receiving her/his own share of
pleasure during a sexual act

-- Andy


Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating



Andy wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it
useful
produced
the
are

Hrm, that's looking promising -- I was originally planning on just
getting a nice, specific purspose system (like the Copperset thing) but
now it looks like I might have to run with rivets of some sort. Do you
know if you have to solder them afterwards? (or do you have to do that
with most of these punch-metal style systems?) My french (?) skills
arn't that great - I speak aussie most of the time, maaaate. ;-)

Now, to only find them in smaller sizes....

Michael


Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating


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Well, even if it was not specified (the Selectronics's page is mute on
the subject), I would advise so, to ensure the contact. And then, you
can solder the components in the rivets. This would facilitate the later
replacement of the component, compared to soldering the component
directly to the copper on both sides of the board.


Quoted text here. Click to load it

I am not sure which system you mean, but the Copperset thing does
involve soldering.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Oh, good yakka at the uni then, cobber! :-)

Quoted text here. Click to load it

This may be problematic. I have not seen such rivets in smaller sizes.

-- Andy

Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating



> Andy wrote:
>
>>Not exactly the system you mention, but something that might be
>
> useful
>
>>(I have not tried however): there exist metallization rivets,
>
> produced
>
>>by CIF. They are a bit thick: for 0.8mm final hole a 1.3mm hole in
>
> the
>
>>PCB is required, for 1.1mm - 1.6mm. A picture can be found here:
>>
>>http://www.selectronic.fr/upload/produit/pagecatalogue/10-13.pdf
>>
>>A rivet tool is required as well (on the picture). I am not sure if
>>Selectronic would ship these items abroad. I think the same things
>
> are
>
>>sold by Farnell (at least in Europe), order codes 4208742, 4208754,
>>4208766, but you'd need to validate it with Farnell as they don't
>>provide details.
>
>
> Hrm, that's looking promising -- I was originally planning on just
> getting a nice, specific purspose system (like the Copperset thing) but
> now it looks like I might have to run with rivets of some sort. Do you
> know if you have to solder them afterwards? (or do you have to do that
> with most of these punch-metal style systems?) My french (?) skills
> arn't that great - I speak aussie most of the time, maaaate. ;-)
>
> Now, to only find them in smaller sizes....
>
> Michael
>
   You should always solder rivets; cannot depend on cold weld contacts.
   And make sure the rivets are made of something that can be easily
soldered.


Re: DIY PCB manufacture - through hole plating



>Hi all,
>
>I've started making my own PCBs at home, and have been having great fun
>-- until I've run into problems with making through-hole components and
>plating vias. I've had a look at a lot of sites, and there seems to be
>a lot of information, such as on this one:
>
>http://homepage.ntlworld.com/electricstuff/pcbs.html
>
>Now, I've seen mention of this "Multicore Copperset" system, but for
>the life of me, I can't seem to find anywhere that has it in stock - it
>seems to be a discontinued line. Alternatively, I'm trying to find just
>the 'bail bar' refills, and I can try to do it myself, but I'm having
>trouble finding anywhere that stocks them, too.
>
>Failing that, I can always fall back to these linking pins, but that
>seems like a bit of a waste to me - I may as well stick some solid-core
>copper wire through the hole and solder it both sides - it seems to
>work just as well. :-)
>
>Does anyone have any ideas? I'm at a bit of a loss for any other ideas
>on how to (easily) plate through holes.
>
>Cheers, and thanks for any help,
>
>Michael

Farnell sell them, they have pretty-much world-wide distribution:

http://uk.farnell.com/jsp/endecaSearch/partDetail.jsp?SKU46%3929&N=0

I've used dozens (maybe a hundred) of them, they work great. The
method given on your link is fine, pretty much how I do it. The Pentel
pencil is ideal. I've never had a failure. It makes soldering both
sides of a component when only the bottom is available (under big
capacitors or D-connectors for instance) easy.

If its just a via (connection from top-to-bottom with no component)
use wire - it's cheaper.

Another way to do connections from top to bottom when only the bottom
is available for soldering, is to solder a fine strand of wire through
the hole, to the edges of the hole, before inserting the component and
soldering it at the bottom. Occasionally the wire lifts on the top
when the bottom is soldered again though.

Rick.


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