David - I've used the black tape and pen from Radio Shack, but never a Vero board. I didn't have much luck etching the PCBs though, so I tended to fall back to wire-wrap or proto-board.
These days, we're kind of in a golden age or tools and suppliers. I'm contstantly amazed at how much we can do these days, with free or inexpensive tools. Not to mention, the wealth of information at our dispoal.
Back in the 1980's, I tried to design a Caller-ID system. The phone company had just started sending the information down the phone line prior to the ring signal, so it was possible, but no one was selling the things yet. It proabbly took me six months or more of searching, calling, ordering documents & repeat before I found enough documentation to get close. The same would probably take me about 20 minutes now.
@Zeeglen - even when it's not my vile HCl / FeCl3 mix, it's certainly not stuff you want to chuck around the place. I've often thought, when I'm sloshing a PCB back and forth in an old icecream container, that I must make a bubble etcher - like a thin aquarium tank with a tube with holes at the bottom connected to an aquarium pump to blow bubbles thru the liquid to agitate it. Maybe a heater as well.... Then I don't make another board for a couple of months and the idea vanishes till the next time.....
Back in college a couple of us students had summer internships, one day we were assigned the task of servicing the PCB etching machine. This was a small tub on wheels that used a magnetically-coupled impeller to slosh the feric chloride around while the pcb remained stationary. I forget whether it was just a cleaning or if we had to replace the pump impeller, but whatever it was necessary to first remove the ferric chloride.
We undid the drain on the tub and collected the ferric chloride in a plastic bucket. After we finished servicing the system I started pouring the ferric chloride back in. About a quarter-bucket later I suddenly remembered - "The drain plug!" Was quite a mess and took a lot of paper towels, but the tray shelf in the bottom of the cart caught most of it. Fortunately none of the profs noticed.
@antedeluvian Hi Aubrey....I did read and comment on your How it Was on the subject. You certainly got a lot further with the computerised stuff than I have - I gotta learn one of the tools soon. Watching the track pattern come out on the board as you develop it always gives me a thrill - like developing your own photos did. Your descriptions of waiting an hour for the display to pan are a graphic reminder of how PC performance used to lag behind software requirements in the old days - though that seems to be a problem still, I doubt users these days would wait an hour!
@Karen I quite enjoyed Chemistry at school and had a couple of chemistry sets at home too. Of course these days the chem sets (and the teaching at school) are pretty tame. I remember our chem teacher at school would not let us see what happened when sodium reacted with water. So my friends and I hatched a plot...we stole some sodium from the lab, I carried it home in my pocket wrapped in oily tissue in a plastic bag (It was kept under oil in the lab as it reacts with air). At home we chucked it in our swimming pool. It rose to the surface, bubbling furiously and then exploded. To this day I get cold shivers wondering what would have happened had it started combusting in my pocket.
Our progression through PCB layout tools sounds quite similar as I described in Max's How it Was series. However I never tried making my own PCBs until after university and then only once.
When you said that Rhodesia was not the centre of the electronics universe, you were understating by a long shot. In 1967/8 my electronics course was mainly valves (tubes to the the bilingually challenged) and you certainly didn't need PCBs for those. I know that I have a few years on you and I was in Bulawayo and not Salisbury, but my teachers were never of the goto variety. They were more of the talk softly (and by that I mean little content) and carry a BIG stick variety. My physics teacher even suggested that I was no good at electronics and that I should give it up. 45 years later I reflect and think maybe he was right!
@Crusty...."Funny thing the link was in one of your posts." Yeah right, I'm getting old.....if you'd said reprap I would have cottoned on.... :-) I kinda skimmed thu the article at the time, thinking I would get back to it. Good thing you have a longer attention span!