ICSP - a meta-CNC project finished!

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Yeah, I can reclaim my breadboard (again)! 

The plan is for my CNC to use a couple of PICs (16F716's to be precise) for stepper drivers. This entails programming them. I built an In Circuit Serial Programmer following instructions on line. It worked, however, my programmer was prototyped on a breadboard. I don't have many of those, and wanted to work on a different circuit.

My CNC is not quite ready for PCB milling, so what to do!?!

A couple handy pages online led to the answer. Tonight I etched my first PCB in many, many years. In the past, this was a royal pain because:

  1. Creating the artwork was tedious.
  2. Laying the artwork on the blank board was tedious.
  3. Etching with harsh chemicals not fun.
  4. Artwork lifting off board is frustrating.
To handle the artwork, I have been working on my Eagle skills. Next challenge was getting the artwork on the board. That turns out to be not that hard. Print the artwork on magazine paper and iron it onto to board! Next, for etching, again household chemicals to the rescue!

  1. Equal parts H202 & vinegar
  2. 1 part salt to 9 parts above mixture.
  3. Mix, add board and etch.
  4. Add more salt if reaction slows down.
(I used lots of salt - my board took a few hours. FerricChloride is faster, but not stocked in my kitchen or medicine cabinet)

No more nasty chemicals or lifting traces - yeah!

Here is the end result:

ICSP board

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