i just noticed this video on Makezine
Circuit Skills: Circuit Board Etchinghttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWnfnt2rNO0
They basically show you howto etch your own circuit boards. It seems quite easy.
The kit (2 solutions and 2 pre-coated circuit boards) is $46.95 USD from Jameco.com
And extra pre-coated circuit boards are $4.95 USD each.
Assuming the solution in the kit lasts,
- To be below the cost of the breadboard ($13.44) you'd need to make 5 of them ($12.36 each).
- You could print out 13 boards for $101 ($7.80 each)
- Or 33 boards for $200 ($6.07 each)
Though you would still need to drill the holes, and buy & insert the electronics which would be $28.52 per board (not including price of etched board).
If you made 5 boards, the cost would be comparible to the original breadboard version. The etched board would look more professional, would probably be more robust, but would be harder to construct/assemble.
I guess it would be something someone would do if they knew what they were doing, and were making a few of them.
not worth the effort. the solution fades quickly. depending on the type of solution, you may have to rise the temperature of the solution to work (properly). you already mentioned the drilling. you need extra space to place that stuff to not run it over accidently etc. you have to take the solutions to professional toxic waste disposal. you have extra equipment lying around (some of it contaminated after use), all that goes into the equation.
if double sided, the most disgusting and time consuming part is the connecting of the pads from the upper and lower layer.
find a local PCB maker and pay these 5-10% more, but have it done when it arrives in the mail, with solder resist and tinned pads, edges milled - double sided, if necessary (upper and lower pads are already connected). and it saves your time. you can ask for a quantity rebate too.
afterall, everything you get additionally adds up to about the same price as if you buy it, but you buy without worries