The week before last, Wayne College student Tristan arrived with an interesting laser engraving project.  He is building a large, seven-segment display to show the number of “likes” that he receives over time on his YouTube channel.  Tristan is building the display from scratch, including a custom circuit board!  He literally drew up the design with Microsoft Paint.

Tristan bought some copper plates, then sprayed them with Rustoleum Specialty High Temperature paint typically used for hot outdoor appliances like grills.  These painted plates were placed in the engraver, which removed the paint when etching his circuit design, like this:

This creates a negative image of the circuit.  Next, the board is soaked in ferric chloride (43% strength) which interacts with the visible copper.  The last step is removing the paint which exposes the copper traces underneath the paint.  The final step hasn’t been performed on the picture below, but it gives you an idea of the display that Tristan is building.  More progress coming soon!

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