28 September 2009

5 Simple Steps to Recycle Old Printed Circuit Boards

You don’t have to be an electronics enthusiast to earn a few bucks by recycling flexible printed circuit boards or PCBs. Here are the five easy steps to recycle one:  obtain all materials to be needed, disassemble the components, remove required parts, segregate individual parts, and recycling.

Usually, when one home appliance gets jammed and is beyond repair, we are left with nothing but a piece of junk that will only frustrate us. But think again, that junk may be transformed into a unique and saleable item. Printed circuit boards belong to the non-biodegradable matters which imply that it needs a safer way of disposing. It has chemicals that may cause harm to the environment and surely, no one wants to see Mother Nature taking her revenge. Follow these simple steps to reuse old PCBs.

Step 1: Obtain all materials to be needed

You will need a vise or also called “third-hand” to keep the PCB from moving too much, a needle nosed pliers for dismantling the pieces, a soldering iron for melting some of the necessary components and a sponge that will come in handy in removing melted solder. You may also want to have a few containers to properly segregate the individual pieces and of course, don’t forget the PCBs itself. With just six materials, you may now start recycling old PCBs.

Step 2: Disassemble the components

Take apart the portions that are still connected to your electronic appliance such as wires or cases from a DVD, computer, clock, camera and the likes. This will be made easy with a vise and pliers at hand.

Step 3: Remove required parts

Either gripping the PCB with a vise or holding it with your hand and having the soldering iron on the other, you may now start removing tiny parts on the PCB. All you have to do is to detach electrical parts from the board. You have to be very cautious on avoiding the heated parts because this may cause burns on the skin. Keep in mind that it is better to press lightly on the wire using the soldering iron rather that to apply it immediately to the solder in the joint. Carefully tug the heated component with the needle nosed pliers until the wire comes off from the first joint on the PCB. Do the same process in each connection that is holding each part in place. If necessary, remove the melted solder on the soldering iron using a dampened sponge.

Step 4: Segregate individual parts

You may need two containers at the least. One will hold recyclable components and the other one would contain ones that need to be thrown away. Electrical pieces namely: sockets, resistors, transistors, capacitors, plugs and the likes, belong to the recyclable container. On the other hand, those that cannot be reused anymore should be disposed properly to avoid polluting the environment.

Step 5: Recycling

There are several ways to recycle a PCB. A few suggestions are multi-purpose holder, address book, tape dispenser, ruler, wall clock, key ring and a pocket organizer. You may also try making it into a mouse mat, clip board, pencil box, door hanger, coaster and business card holder. This may also serve as a home-made necklace, faux gem stones, wall tile, mosaic items and a unique beaded curtain. It only needs a little time and a lot of creativity to achieve a recycled ‘something’.

You see, it doesn’t need an expert’s hand to make something out of electronic junk. Anyone who has the extra time can surely make a much-appraised end result.

No comments:

Post a Comment