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Complete Circuit Board Lab & POV Business Card

Though there are many Instructables on some aspect of how to make circuit boards, this one is different. It’s an instructable on how to make the things you need to make circuit boards, specifically, a flamboyant business card toy. Over the past six months I have set up fairly complete printed circuit board fabrication lab in my apartment, cheaply and safely, and I intend to cover all aspects of the process, from start to finish. Some of it you may have seen before, but here it is all in one place, with references.

All in all, I had to design and build an airtight etch tank out of laser cut acrylic, an SMD vacuum pickup tool, a reflow oven and temperature controller, refine the toner transfer process with a modified laminator, build a custom programming jig, and of course design, program and build from scratch every aspect of the thing I did all this for in the first place: my business card. In the end it was well worth the time to have the ability to make circuit boards appear in my hands in an evening.

The Business Card
The POV Business Card uses the classic persistence of vision optical illusion to flash your name and number in midair as you wave the card. Based on the PIC12F508, an 8-pin 6 I/O ultra-low cost microcontroller, it is entirely surface mount and extremely thin- it uses PCB laminate that is as thin as a standard business card. And at roughly $2 apiece in parts, depending on how good you are at sourcing components, they are cheap enough to hand out (to the right people). But why go to all this trouble simply to make something to give away to someone I just met? Why not just have them printed up in an afternoon for less than 10 bucks at Kinko’s? Why, because I want a card that would not get thrown out. A card that would embody exactly what I do, instead of clumsily trying to sum it up in an clever job title. A card that would get me places.

The Scenario
Picture the following scenario, if you will: you have just met someone who you need to know. In actual fact, they need to know you. Having exchanged introductions, “The Man,” complete with dark suit and power tie, casually hands you his cloned, company-issue business card. “Here’s my card,” he grins, knowing that you will impressed by his Ownership Of Card, or at least his Power Over Someone Who Owns An Embossing Machine . Probably he expects to see you to scribble your number on a torn scrap of paper. But when you reach into your pocket and pull out your card, certainly he doesn’t expect to see…your name glowing in midair, floating before his very eyes! “It’s called persistence of vision,” you say, as you hand him your card. “I make these in my basement. From scratch.” You didn’t even need to say another word; anything more would just be gloating. You can see the look in his eyes; he’s already sold.

Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark.” - Patrick Bateman, American Psycho

Disclaimer: I should note here that this Instructable involves a lot of things that could be dangerous if done without caution and informed planning, including fire hazards, risk of electrocution in various horrible ways, handling of nasty chemicals, and very toxic fumes. This one really has it all, folks. So be safe!”

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