I'm surprised that this thread has not included mention of Kicad (a free (as in Free Beer and Free of License restrictions)), a suite of ECAD programs. Far better than Eagle (IMO - I never really "got" Eagle) and nearly as simple as Design Spark, without the vendor tie-in.
The homebrew PCBs Yahoo! group also has a wealth of information and knowledgable people. <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Homebrew_PCBs> who all do toner-transfer, positive and negative photoetch, isolation milling, and etching with FeCl, CuCl, Ammonium Persulphate, HCl/H2O2, strong coffee, ...
I do an occasional board, but nowhere near as many as I'd like. Kicad, toner transfer (with inkjet paper), HCl/H2O2, hand solder are my usual toolchain.
@dhlocker1, thanks for that info and link, I'll bounce over there when I have a second and take a look. Forums like that can often save you hours of experimentation and sometimes tears (as in wailing and gnashing of teeth :-) when you have problems with an existing tool or are trying to select a new one.
I must say that I didn't pursue the photo technique much further, soon reverting to good old ink & brush - at least as long as spare time for hobby lasted, that is, not for long.
Now in my daily job as an EE, sometimes during the prototyping stage of a new project when I need small PCBs made in short time and low cost, I have them made at a CNC mill service. Results are excellent, down to 8mils trace width / clearance.
Admittedly, tne new DIY techniques as toner transfer, P&P, and the like, are very intriguing. I ought to give them a try some day.
@David : I have always run Tiny Cad with VeeCad and whilst the two do not forward and back anotate they seem to co-exist well.
I have just downloaded FreePCB and this is supposed to link with Tiny Cad output, so I shall now be trying this out. FreePCB is also linked to a Free router software so all this will be in the melting pot with me over the nex few weeks.
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