[Source] computer board substrate material

Hello Orchidians,

I usually lurk on these pages as I am a rank newbie. I have been
helped a great deal from the experience and found here.
Here is my question. Computer circuit board is made from a substrate
material onto which copper has been fused, the circuitry pattern is
then etched in and the process goes on. I am looking for a source of
the basic substrate material, it can be cut to various shapes. My
instructor uses it for the roller printing process. It works
beautifully in assisting the transfer of the pattern as well as
protecting the rollers if using steel screen or sandpaper or any
material that may be potentially damaging to the mill. It also
survives the process for ad infinitum reuse. Anyone have an idea
where we can obtain a reliable source of this substrate material?
Thanks again for such a great forum for learning.

Irene White
grateful student

About the substrate material - try a retail (not Radio Schack)
electronics supply house that carries all the supplies for making
your own cicuit boards etc. There are usually plenty around any
industrial computer or aerospace manufacturers.

Commonly, the substrate is fiberglass with epoxy filer. It is
available without the copper cladding, but may be hard to find in
small quantities. If you only need a small amount, you could buy
copper-clad board at Radio Shack and etch off the copper.

Probably your best bet is to look in your local Yellow Pages under
"Printed and Etched Circuits" and “Electronic Equipment and


Hello Irene

The material you are looking for is known in industry as G-10. It is a
fiberglass and epoxy composite material. It is green in color and it
is a thermoset plastic, meaning that once the epoxy has cured, there
is no possibility of reshaping the material by heating to soften, such
as is possible with Thermoplastics such as acrylic(Plexiglas), ABS and
many others.

The most likely place to find this material will be an industrial
plastics supply center such as Cadillac Plastics or Commercial
Plastics, as well as many others. Look in your yellow pages under:
Plastics-Rods, Tubes, Sheets.

I recommend you have the supply center cut this material to size for
you. Speaking from many years of experience of sawing and sanding
this material, you do not want the glass fibers on your skin. It will
cause you considerable itching discomfort. You also don’t want to
breath the dust generated …not good for the lungs. If you however
must saw or sand this material to achieve your desired results, please
take the following precautions: 1) use a good quality respirator mask
over your nose and mouth 2) wear safety glasses with side shields or
better yet: a full face shield 3) wear a long sleeve shirt to limit
the exposure to your forarms 4) go to a Boat Supply/Repair
shop…they sell a cream that can be applied to the skin to protect
against irritation from the fiberglass.

By the way, this material is usually available in thicknesses from
about .015" to several inches.

Let me know if you need any further help. Best regards
Ken Shields

Try http://www.jameco.com

They sell assorted electronic bits (including some superbright
white LEDs that I just have to find a use for…)

Lynn A. Davis
Tephra’s Treasures
Handcrafted Jewelry, Accessories
And Other Fine Treasures

Irene: have you tried Radio Shack? I’m sure they sell the boards
unetched with the copper on it, the copper won’t hurt your rollers so
don’t think it would matter if it had copper on it or not. Dave

The material is called Garolite when it is not copper clad. It is
available from Mcmaster-Carr it is on page 2947 of their online
catalog http://www.mcmaster.com . They sell it in 12"x12" sheets
from 1/32 thick to 2" thick. Here is their description

G-10/FR4 Garolite Continuous, woven glass fabric laminated with epoxy
resin. Features excellent mechanical properties, is a superior
electrical insulator, and has high moisture resistance over a wide
range of temperatures. Maximum temperature is 284� F. Color is
natural light green.

When you cut it use tools that you do not care about or that have
replaceable cutting edges as it will dull any cutting edges very
fast. Do not use a bench shear or floor shear or you will have to go
get the blades sharpened right away.


James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601

Check Mendelson’s in Dayton, Ohio. You can use one of the web Yellow
pages to get the full address. I believe they are on 1st Street.
They do mail order, and usually have a stock of the
phenolic/fibergalss boards.

Karl J. Kuhlmann