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'[EE]:Kinder, Gentler Etchants'
2001\04\07@132524 by Randy Glenn

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I've been looking at some of the various etchants (as I'm going to be
making some PC boards), but am confused. From what I've read, Ferric
Chloride is truly nasty stuff, and I'd be likely unable to dispose of
it. It does, of course, have the advantage of being available at the
Radio Shack a stone's throw from my house.

I'm basically looking for something that is fairly easy to use (not
too much mixing, like some of the homemade etchants I found), safe to
people and property (no staining!), and easy to dispose of.

I've seen some discussion of Sodium Persulphate and Ammonium
Persulphate, but people seem to have mixed feelings regarding their
effectiveness. Anyone have any experiences / reccomendations they'd
like to share?

- -Randy Glenn

If you have to ship styrofoam, what DO you pack it in?
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2001\04\07@145803 by Brian Aase

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FWIW, I've had some problems with ammonium persulphate
in that it seems to form a "skin" over much of the exposed
copper after the first minute or so, whereas I have never seen
this happen with ferric chloride.  As I recall, back in the
good old days one would normally mix ammonium persulphate
with a small amount of mercuric something-or-other as an
activator.  But now of course anything containing even the
slightest hint of mercury is politically incorrect and unavailable.

The ferric chloride sold at Radio Shack isn't all that nasty
except for its tendency to color things brown ;-)

Brian Aase

On 7 Apr 2001, at 13:24, Randy Glenn wrote:

> I've seen some discussion of Sodium Persulphate and Ammonium
> Persulphate, but people seem to have mixed feelings regarding their
> effectiveness. Anyone have any experiences / reccomendations they'd
> like to share?
>
> - -Randy Glenn

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2001\04\07@165228 by Bill Westfield

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   The ferric chloride sold at Radio Shack isn't all that nasty
   except for its tendency to color things brown ;-)

As far as I know, the reason ferric chloride is so popular is that it is
considerably LESS nasty than many of the alternatives.  The persulfates are
relatively dangerous oxidizers in addition to "normal" chemical complaints ,
sulfuric acid/peroxide is known to chemists as "pirahna" (and requires
rather nasty chemicals to replenish it.)  The CuCl etchant has the same sort
of nasty replenishment issues.

As far as I know, the major problem from an enviormental persecptive are
mostly due to the copper that you're etching away - and that problem will
be common to any etchant...

BillW

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2001\04\07@190729 by Jinx

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> I've been looking at some of the various etchants (as I'm
> going to be making some PC boards), but am confused.
> From what I've read, Ferric Chloride is truly nasty stuff,
> and I'd be likely unable to dispose of it. It does, of course,
> have the advantage of being available at the Radio Shack
> a stone's throw from my house.

Wouldn't worry about it, FeCl is perfectly harmless. Disposal
is something that you'll only need to consider occassionally
on a very long term basis. It takes a lot of etching and a long
time (years if you're doing this on a hobby scale) to use up
even 500ml. Just keep using that bottle over and over. More
important is that you do it somewhere or on something that
you don't mind getting the odd brown mark on. Which includes
you - smock, overalls or old clothes. No Armani

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2001\04\08@013352 by Roman Black

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Jinx wrote:
>
> > I've been looking at some of the various etchants (as I'm
> > going to be making some PC boards), but am confused.
> > From what I've read, Ferric Chloride is truly nasty stuff,
> > and I'd be likely unable to dispose of it. It does, of course,
> > have the advantage of being available at the Radio Shack
> > a stone's throw from my house.
>
> Wouldn't worry about it, FeCl is perfectly harmless. Disposal
> is something that you'll only need to consider occassionally
> on a very long term basis. It takes a lot of etching and a long
> time (years if you're doing this on a hobby scale) to use up
> even 500ml. Just keep using that bottle over and over. More
> important is that you do it somewhere or on something that
> you don't mind getting the odd brown mark on. Which includes
> you - smock, overalls or old clothes. No Armani

And don't spray concentrated solution in both your
eyes! It hurts. Stuck my head under the tap for
about 10 minutes afterwards to flush it out. I was a
first year apprentice and was cleaning brake tubing
in the FeCl tank, then I thought it would be smart
to blow the tubing out with the air gun...
Never again. :o)
-Roman

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