process_2s-plate

This is for PCBs with traces and/or components on both sides of the board, and a need to electroplate the board (most commonly, for vias).

Be sure you actually NEED to electroplate before starting this! The plating process can take in excess of three hours (depending on how closely you're watching it), and it is liable to not always work, especially due to things that are mostly out of your control. There is an alternative! Plating is typically avoidable by designing your vias as a standard hole with a diameter of 40 mil (1 mm). A standard 0.1” header pin can then be pushed through and soldered on both the top and bottom.

Before starting, make sure:

Step 1: Process setup and first drilling on the ProtoMat

  • The ProtoMat will pause at a step called “Dismount Material”.
  • Once it reaches that point, remove the substrate from the ProtoMat and click “Abort” in the Wizard.
  • Continue with Step 2.

Step 2: Electroplating with the Contac S4

Quick Plating Tips:

  • If you would like to adjust the plating time, ask a PI to put you in touch with an MPI.
  • Do not let your substrate sit in the bath (any bath) for very long after the timer runs out.
  • If the machine throws an error on startup, it’s likely a bath needs to be topped off. Get a PI to help.
  • After bath 3 (activator):
    • Swipe a “reasonable” amount off with squeegee (mostly just don’t want it dripping)
    • Cure for 20+ mins at 150F. (Higher than this can cause the ink to bake into the copper.)
    • When rinsing after drying (after “bath 4”), scrub the copper surface with a sponge to remove as much of the dried activator off the copper as possible.
  • Scour around your fiducials after plating. It makes a noticeable difference to the laser.

Step 3: Etching with the ProtoLaser

Step 4: Routing with the ProtoMat


For issues with the ProtoMat, see the ProtoMat Knowledge Base.
For issues with the ProtoLaser, see the ProtoLaser Knowledge Base.
For issues with the electroplater, see the Contact S4 Knowledge Base.

  • process_2s-plate.txt
  • Last modified: 2022/06/24 16:37
  • by benh