I wanted to build an etching tank since i first saw one in an article on Make Blog. It was fun to make it and it will sure speed-up my PCB making process. The main thing that i wanted to achieve with my etching tank was to keep it thin so it holds up smaller amounts of etchant, it’s better this way because i need to store and work with smaller quantities. My finished tank holds 1,5 L of liquid when full.

In the article on Make the author made he’s from acrylic magazine holders. I chose to make mine from plexiglas. I got this 1500x1000x3 sheet for about $15 and now i got enough left to make cases for other projects. When working with plexiglas there are several methods of cutting it which include sawing it, cutting it with a hot wire or cutting it glass style. I used the method glass style which means you make repeated scratches on the same path using a sharp cutter.

Stanley sharp cutter

Depending on the thickness of your plexiglas you have to make more or less deeper scratches. You’ve reached the desired scratch depth when you try to bend the plexiglas and it just snaps along the line. I would of shown you pictures from the making process but unfortunately i accidentally erased them :( .

For gluing i used a PVC adhesive from Bison, it’s supposed to be used when gluing PVC pipes so i figured it should work on plexiglas too. The nice thing about it is that is leaves a nice transparent finish. After gluing i left it to harden for 24 hours.

Bison PVC Adhesive

Before assembling the etching tank make sure you’ve drilled holes for the heater and the hose.

Holes for the heater and the hose

On my DIY Etching Tank i also used a heater(an old aquarium heater that i used when i  was into aquariums) to heat the etchant because heating it makes the process faster.  Besides the heater i also added an aquarium pump that will agitate the liquid thus making the process even faster.

diy-etching-tank-with-aquarium-pump-and-heater-2

The parts used in the making are:

  • 1500x1000x3 sheet of plexiglas $15
  • PVC Glue $4
  • aquarium heater $10
  • aquarium air pump $10
  • aquarium hose and disperser stone $2

Total: $41 .  So with a little over 40 $ you can make your own etching tank

Here are some pictures with the tank being tested with watter:

The etching tank in action with watterdiy-etching-tank-with-aquarium-pump-and-heater-5