diy metal core pcb

When it comes to designing and fabricating printed circuit boards (PCBs), there are several
options available. One of the popular choices is metal core PCBs, which are also known as
MCPCBs. These PCBs are ideal for high-power LED applications, power supplies, and other
electronic devices that require efficient heat dissipation. In this article, we will
discuss the basics of DIY metal core PCBs and the steps involved in making one.

What is a Metal Core PCB?

metal core PCB is a type of PCB that has a metal core layer instead of a traditional FR4
layer. The metal core layer is usually made of aluminum, copper, or a combination of both.
The metal core acts as a heat sink, which helps to dissipate heat generated by high-power
components on the PCB. This makes metal core PCBs ideal for applications that require
efficient heat dissipation.

aluminum core pcb

Advantages of Metal Core PCBs

There are several advantages of using metal core PCBs over traditional FR4 PCBs. Some of
these advantages include:

1. Better heat dissipation: Metal core PCBs have a metal core layer that acts as a heat
sink, which helps to dissipate heat generated by high-power components on the PCB. This
makes metal core PCBs ideal for applications that require efficient heat dissipation.

2. Higher thermal conductivity: The metal core layer of metal core PCBs has a higher
thermal conductivity than traditional FR4 PCBs. This means that heat is transferred more
efficiently from the components to the metal core layer.

3. Improved reliability: Metal core PCBs are more reliable than traditional FR4 PCBs,
especially in high-temperature environments. This is because the metal core layer helps to
reduce the thermal stress on the PCB.

4. Better mechanical stability: Metal core PCBs have better mechanical stability than
traditional FR4 PCBs. This is because the metal core layer provides additional rigidity to
the PCB.

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copper coin pcb

Steps to Make a DIY Metal Core PCB

Making a DIY metal core PCB is not as difficult as it may seem. Here are the steps involved
in making a DIY metal core PCB:

Step 1: Design the PCB

The first step in making a DIY metal core PCB is to design the PCB using a PCB design
software such as Eagle PCB or Altium Designer. Make sure to include a metal core layer in
the design.

Step 2: Print the PCB layout

Once the PCB design is complete, print the PCB layout onto a transparency film using a
laser printer. Make sure to print the layout in mirror image.

Step 3: Transfer the layout onto the metal core

Next, transfer the layout onto the metal core using a heat transfer method. This involves
placing the transparency film onto the metal core and using a laminator or iron to transfer
the toner onto the metal core.

Step 4: Etch the PCB

Once the toner has been transferred onto the metal core, etch the PCB using an etching
solution such as ferric chloride. This will remove the unwanted copper from the metal core,
leaving behind the PCB traces.

Step 5: Drill the PCB

After etching the PCB, drill the necessary holes for the components using a drill press or
hand drill.

Step 6: Solder the components

Finally, solder the components onto the PCB using a soldering iron and solder wire. Make
sure to use a heat sink for high-power components to ensure efficient heat dissipation.

Conclusion

Metal core PCBs are an excellent choice for high-power electronic applications that require
efficient heat dissipation. Making a DIY metal core PCB is not as difficult as it may seem,
and the steps involved are similar to those used in making traditional FR4 PCBs. With a
little bit of practice, anyone can make a DIY metal core PCB.

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