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Uploaded on Feb 6, 2012
In this video, I try to use the tin pattern plating method to protect the plated vias. I go through the usual steps for copper plating the vias. Unfortunately, the vias were not consistently plated. I believe this was because of excessive burring and copper bits being lodged in the vias. My method of using double sided tape to mount the board in the CNC causes the board to be raised. This is the first time I did it this way. When the board is not pushed against another surface, burrs can form. This is why the board should be laminated between two other boards to eliminate burrs. But, I don't have spare boards laying around to waste for drilling. I will have to go back to my old method of board mounting or find a new way that will work.
Again, I had problems with the tin plating not being uniform. I decided not to do a micro-etch before tin plating because I did not want to damage the already delicate vias. But, it may be a necessary process. I will have to do more testing on that.
The etching process was a disaster. It took a full 2 hours to complete. I guess I didn't recharge the etchant as much as I should have. The tin plating turned dark in some places which from my experience is a bad thing. However, I think I know what the problem is now. Tin reacts with the copper sulfate in the solution. Having the board sit in copper sulfate for 2 hours only made things worse. See my follow-up video for more testing on this.