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Need PCB Program help please!!!

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I recently started etching my own boards in practice to get up to the ability to etch SMT layouts. I have had a decent ammount of sucess in that the boards I make are a little bit better and smaller each time around. I use the 'toner transfer method', ironing the print onto the copper clad.

The problem I have run into is scaling it down. I am using a program called 'express pcb', one of the major problems ive been having is that I cant paste the final design into photoshop or MS Word. It says copy to the clipboard, but only pastes blank white or black squares, no board traces :mad: No matter what I have tried, it just wont work. I have had to screen shot the layout and trace the jpeg out in photoshop :(

I am looking for a non-trial program that will work with less headaches, if any of you guys know of a good app for this, please post a link.


Here is my first off, of a Jr. LM317. You can see the board was taken out of its vibrating acid bath a bit too early, and was more or less just a test to ensure it all worked. This is so far the smallest I have made, it fits nicely into an axiz module, and is great for lower power diodes.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance,
Joe.
 

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rkcstr

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I use ExpressPCB as well....

I zoom the layout to as big as will fit on the screen, do Ctrl+Prnt Scrn, and paste into Photoshop. Make sure you turn off the grid and the corners in ExpressPCB. Copy each layer separately.

I crop it to the exact size of the board, then go into Image->Image Size and uncheck "resample image", then adjust the height or width to the exact dimension of your board and it will properly size the image without actually changing the image at all.

Then, I do Select -> Color Range, use the selection tool and select the red (top) or green (bottom) layer, make sure "fuzziness" is set to 0. and then in a new layer, use the paint bucket to fill the selection with black.

Repeat for your other PCB layer(s).

I create a print page with multiple PCBs, make sure you set the size to whatever you're printing on (I do full-sheet sized printouts) and then set the resolution of the printout to exactly the same as your PCB so that copy/pasting into the printout will be exactly the same size as your PCB file.

If you're doing double-sided, use the guides to line things up and then make sure the snap is set so that you can just drag and drop and have things line up accurately.

There are many more subtle things you need to do, but you can feel free to ask for clarification :)
 
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Thanks :)

I have just finished trying the method in the second link. What I did was select print in express pcb, it then gave me the option to print on either a printer or PDF. I have acrobat 8 pro and distiller so it worked perfect this way. I was able to open in adobe CS3 where I sized it, then in word, printed, checked size, printed 80 on a half page and am now etching. I did a simple 7135 board just until I get the hang of everything. I also use a DIY vibrating etch tank to get them even as possible ;)

Its going to be the supper tiny pads for a boost circuit that im working up to. Some of the pads are so damn close together, this is the challenge but also the fun!
 




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