DIY Photopolymer UV Light Box

Written by kasandra rose
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DIY Photopolymer UV Light Box
UV light boxes are needed to cure circuit boards. (circuit board image by Sonar from Fotolia.com)

A printed-circuit board connects different electronic parts by copper laid on the surface of a board instead of individually wiring each element. They are most cost-effective and efficient when you are going to use the same connections repeatedly. When making a printed-circuit board, you first design the layout of board using specialised software. Print the layout on acetate film, and transfer the layout to a photopolymer-coated circuit board to finish creating the printed-circuit board. To complete the transfer, you need a way to expose the circuit board to an evenly distributed source of UV light.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 5-by-7-inch matrix board
  • Ruler
  • Marker
  • Drill
  • 1 gallon opaque plastic box
  • 48 UV LED lights
  • Painters tape
  • Black solid core wire
  • Red solid core wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • 8 2W 390R resistors
  • Power switch
  • Standoffs
  • Long bolts
  • 12 volt power adaptor

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Draw a grid on the matrix board with 1.5 inches between the lines. Center the matrix board on the lid and drill a hole through both layers in the centre of each corner square of the grid to attach the grid to the lid.

  2. 2

    Align the UV LED lights so the wires are going in the same direction along the length of the board with the positive wires on the same side. Press the UV LED lights into holes on the matrix board where the lines on the grid cross. When you finish a row, lightly tape the UV LED lights in place with painters tape.

  3. 3

    Carefully turn the board over to work on the wires on the back. Cut the solid core wire into pieces long enough to reach all the way across the width of the matrix board and peel the plastic coating off with a wire cutter. Place the wire close to the negative wires of the UV LED bulbs. Heat the soldering iron and melt solder onto the negative bulb wires and the solid core wire sealing them together.

  4. 4

    Repeat with a fresh piece of wire for the positive wires of the UV LED bulbs. Do this for all the lines of UV LED lights. Remove the painters tape holding the LEDs in place.

  5. 5

    Cut the solid core wire into pieces long enough to reach all the way across the width of the matrix board, and peel the plastic coating off with a wire cutter. Place the wire close to the negative wires of the UV LED bulbs. Heat the soldering iron and melt solder onto the negative bulb wires and the solid core wire, sealing them together. Repeat with a fresh piece of wire for the positive wires of the UV LED bulbs. Do this for all the lines of UV LED lights. Remove the painters tape holding the LEDs in place.

  6. 6

    Measure out black solid core wire long enough to reach across the length of the board plus six inches. Cut one inch of plastic coating off one end of the black solid core wire.

  7. 7

    Measure the distance between the rows of negative UV LED wires, about 1.5-inches, and cut only through the plastic coating. Push the plastic coating toward the bare end of wire, leaving a bit of wire exposed at the end. Repeat cutting only the plastic coating at each negative wire and moving the plastic coating along the wire to create gaps for each junction with the negative wires. This creates openings for soldering while leaving the rest of the wire insulated.

  8. 8

    Flip the board over and insert 2W 390R resistors between the rows of LED lights. Angle the resistor so that one end is close to a spot between two LEDs in a row of lights across the matrix board and the other in the open middle area between rows of lights. Line up all the resistors to easily solder them together with one wire. Spread the wire lead on the resister to hold it in place when you flip the matrix board.

  9. 9

    Carefully flip the matrix board. Solder the end of the resisters closest to the LED lights to the positive tracks. The positive track is the bare wire connecting all the positive wires in a row of UV LED lights.

  10. 10

    Measure out red solid core wire long enough to reach across the length of the board plus six inches. Repeat the procedure used to bare sections of the black wire on the red wire. This time measure the distance between the free ends of the resisters.

  11. 11

    Drill an access hole in the lid near the free ends of the red and black wires for a power switch. Connect the black wire to the negative side of the power switch and the red wire to the positive side of the power switch.

  12. 12

    Attach the 12 volt connector to the power switch by screwing the red wire into the positive side and the black wire into the negative side.

  13. 13

    Drill six holes in the lid. Attach six standoffs with long bolts from the LED side of the matrix board through the standoffs and through holes in the lid. Put a wide washer on the bolt and secure with a nut.

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