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CAT # ER-3 (5 Reviews) Write a Review

$7.10 each
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Product Description
1/4 lb. of anhydrous ferric chloride. Makes one pint of etch solution, enough to etch 200 square inches of copper-clad board. Can be used with ER-1 or TEK-5.
WARNING: May cause cancer or reproductive harm.
California Prop. 65
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Customer Reviews (5 Reviews)

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Not worth the hassle and mess

Reviewer: from CHAPEL HILL, NC USA

I tried this years ago using the etch resistant pen or the tape and did one or two boards. Then I tried wire wrapping on unclad perf boards. More expensive but much preferrable in my opinion. I still do it this way.

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Great Etchant

Reviewer: from HAVERSTRAW, NY USA

You will need a big plastic water bottle with a cap to close very well if you want to save some that will not leak. Add etchant powder to 16 ozs of water a teaspoon every 90 seconds or more. This is because the solution gets hot. I was able to etch a 4 by 6 inch copper clad pc board with my circuit design using the pen er-15 on this site in about 60-or more minutes. I had a problem during etching where the pen lines and circles for the connections dissolved at some areas on the board submerged eating away the copper below it. It is a sharpie pen. I placed my board with circuit side up so I can see the amount of etching progressing as I rocked the tray back and forth. I was clearly able to ascertain when the process was over. I used the pcb-46 4 by 6 inches from all electronics. Radio Shack sells their etchant at $12 for 16 ounces. I think the deal at all electronics is way much better. It is good that All Electronics can mail the product safely using the USPS.

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Mix slowly

Reviewer: from San Diego, CA

This stuff really gets warm (actually hot) fast when being mixed. Mix into the water SLOWLY. Etches just fine.

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If a new batch etches too slowly...

Reviewer: from Toledo, Ohio, USA states that if a new batch of anhydrous FeCl3 solution doesn't etch, you can add a touch of hydrochloric acid to "kick" it into gear. This allows much more FeCl3 to dissolve into the solution as FeCl3 is not very water-soluable at PH 7.0. Alternatively, putting a clear bottle of new etchant in the sun for a few hours should accomplish the same thing - FeCl3 solution is photochemically reactive, so otherwise keep it out of sunlight. And by the way it is the FeCl3 that etches boards, not the HCl. HCl only allows more etchant into the solution.

It might be argued that other etchants such as ammonium persulphate and copper chloride are better, but FeCl3 is cheap and effective, so it gets 4 stars. However, please consider the disposal of this stuff. Do not pour FeCl down the drain! It will eat your sink and pipes (including iron and stainless steel) and it badly pollutes the environment. Instead, a nice disposal method is to slowly add either 0.5 parts sodium hydroxide (for the insane among us) or an equal part sodium carbonate or 1.5 parts sodium bicarbonate (baking soda.) This renders the stuff inert. When mixing acids and bases, always add the solids to the liquids, slowly, while stirring. And of course, be careful with any highly corrosive chemicals.

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cheap etchant

Reviewer: from santa cruz, ca

this is good stuff if you are on a shoe string budget. otherwise i dont think it is worth the hassle. the powerdery stuff to make the etchant can get all over the place and stains really dark spots whereever it hits. you will want to be very careful and read the instructions too. you have to poor the powder stuff into cold water, not the other way around or it will have a concentrated reaction and might melt your container or splatter all over.
overall its not a bad deal, you would spend a lot more for normal etchant.

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