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Stefano Di Paolo's Dirty PCBs Review

Gareth Halfacree

For many makers, the obvious next step on from breadboarding prototypes is to build a printed circuit board - but home-etching is falling out of favour thanks to low-cost services like Dangerous Prototypes' Dirty PCBs. The tagline "no bull, just crappy PCBs" might not fill you with confidence, but as Stefano Di Paolo found when building a VA meter the quality is typically higher than a homebrew board could ever reach. That said, there's still a satisfaction to be gained by doing it yourself if you don't mind playing with a few harsh chemicals and spending a fair while drilling out holes.

Red PCBs: holes perfectly aligned, soldermask good alignment on both sides, silkscreen has a small offset (< 1 mm). Blue PCBs: holes aligned within tolerance, soldermask good alignment on both sides, silkscreen has a small offset (1 mm) + some silkscreen imperfection (dirty) on some PCBs.


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