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This Just In: You Can Laser Etch PCB’s @familab!

My ole’ lab buddy Thantik has been trying to etch PCB’s lately, and today he did something none of us even thought of: using the laser cutter to etch a PCB.

When we realized that our 40W laser couldn’t etch the copper itself off we were super bummed. We found out about this spray-on compound called Cermark that is supposed to be able to mark copper. We thought we could use that to create a mask, etch the copper out with acid, and sandpaper the cermark off. But it was around $70 a bottle.

Thantik covered a copper-clad board with simple, cheap satin black spray paint, let it dry, etching the paint off the copper with the laser cutter, and etched it with ferric chloride, then took off the paint with acetone.

This is what he came up with:

2 thoughts on “This Just In: You Can Laser Etch PCB’s @familab!

  • We’ve tried this a few times at the Hacker Consortium in Nashville, TN, and haven’t gotten it to work well with smaller surface mount pieces for instance tqfp with .8 lead spacing. Could post a bit more detail about the brand of paint used, and your laser settings (power, speed, etc)?


  • John Nesheim

    This looks great for prototyping. Quick Lack or something ? and just take the paint away with 30/50 engraving (pwr/speed)
    Ill try this asap 🙂


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