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'[OT]: Making printed circuit boards with lazer pri'
2001\11\15@220937 by Freddie Leaf

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A while back I read an article on how to make a printed circuit board using a
printout from a laser printer.  You could iron the laser print onto the copper
and then etch the board.  I can't recall exactly how they were doing this.
Does anyone use this method and could they explain how to do it?  Thanks.

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2001\11\15@223938 by Kevin Maciunas

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On Fri, 2001-11-16 at 13:37, Freddie Leaf wrote:
> A while back I read an article on how to make a printed circuit board using a
> printout from a laser printer.  You could iron the laser print onto the copper
> and then etch the board.  I can't recall exactly how they were doing this.
> Does anyone use this method and could they explain how to do it?  Thanks.
>

I do this, from time to time.  It produces, well, not the *best* PCBs
but functional SINGLE LAYER PCBs.

Clean the copper and iron on the art-work.  Laser toner contains plastic
(polystyrene, if memory serves).  You then dunk it in water *AND WALK
AWAY*.  The paper gets soggy, you rub it off (carefully), AFTER WAITING
FOR IT TO GET APPROPRIATELY "SOGGY"[TM].  You are left with the toner
(resist) and lots of paper "hair".  Someone posted that they use tracing
paper and this cures the hair.  No experience with that, I use 80GSM
paper :-)  Small hobby knife and patience fixes the hair.  (Which also
tells you that most of my boards have been no bigger than a couple of
inches on a side - I'm not *that* patient!)

Of course, you need to print the art-work the "right way around".  I
first gave this a go a year or so back and had to have a couple of go's
at it to get it right.  Acetone will remove the resist afterwards.  You
may need to experiment with "iron settings" for optimal results.  I use
an HP-LJ5MP and I need the iron HOT, a colleague tried this with his
Apple (unknown, to me, model) and he needed the iron set "warm".  On
hot, it spread the toner - so the melting point appears to vary (at
least on two data points).

You can't (in my limited experience) make fine pitch boards.  You
ABSOLUTELY can't make SMT boards :-)  The resist does not present 100%
coverage either - you will get some holes in tracks.  I tin them heavily
afterwards :-).

Anyone have any ideas for using the laser to drill holes?? :-)  Geez, I
*hate* that bit :-)

The tools I use are just pcb (under Linux) and the laser printer.
Pretty simple for one off's...

/Kevin
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2001\11\15@231753 by Alexandre Domingos F. Souza

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>You can't (in my limited experience) make fine pitch boards.  You
>ABSOLUTELY can't make SMT boards :-)  The resist does not present 100%
>coverage either - you will get some holes in tracks.  I tin them heavily
>afterwards :-).

       I do smd boards, and they are just fine ;o)


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2001\11\16@011944 by Kevin Maciunas

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On Fri, 2001-11-16 at 14:51, Alexandre Domingos F. Souza wrote:
> >You can't (in my limited experience) make fine pitch boards.  You
> >ABSOLUTELY can't make SMT boards :-)  The resist does not present 100%
> >coverage either - you will get some holes in tracks.  I tin them heavily
> >afterwards :-).
>
>         I do smd boards, and they are just fine ;o)
>

I've NEVER been able to get the track size down to something that
approaches the spacing on SMT components...  The hair from the paper
fibre creates an 'error margin' which is bigger than the SMT component
spacing!  How do you manage to do this?  It seems practically impossible
to me...

/Kevin
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2001\11\16@021710 by Alexandre Domingos F. Souza

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>I've NEVER been able to get the track size down to something that
>approaches the spacing on SMT components...  The hair from the paper
>fibre creates an 'error margin' which is bigger than the SMT component
>spacing!  How do you manage to do this?  It seems practically impossible
>to me...

       Using transparencies instead of paper. Paper gave me the shittiest output ever. The more slick the media are, and less pressure/heat you use, more "fine" gets the detail.


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2001\11\16@022911 by Kevin Maciunas

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On Fri, 2001-11-16 at 17:21, Randy Glenn wrote:
> What kind of transfer media are you using? There's the special transfer
> films, the Epson inkjet paper that many swear by, probably a few other
> methods too.
>

Nothing at all.  Just the toner.  IF you use the Xfer paper, you seem to
get a really good result.  I have a laser printer, and as far as I can
see, you can't use the Xfer papers in it...  Still, as a Computer
Scientist, and not a practicing Electrical Engineer, I don't make that
many PCBs, so it doesn't bother me that much..

Cheers
/Kevin
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2001\11\16@022949 by James Burkart

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Alexandre,

Sure, you do surface mount fine, but could you please elaborate a little
further if at all? Are you doing something different, because I am trying to
etch a board that requires fine detail but am comming up with the "hair"
problem and holes.

{Original Message removed}

2001\11\16@024604 by Kevin Maciunas

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On Fri, 2001-11-16 at 17:36, Alexandre Domingos F. Souza wrote:
> >I've NEVER been able to get the track size down to something that
> >approaches the spacing on SMT components...  The hair from the paper
> >fibre creates an 'error margin' which is bigger than the SMT component
> >spacing!  How do you manage to do this?  It seems practically impossible
> >to me...
>
>         Using transparencies instead of paper. Paper gave me the shittiest output ever. The more slick the media are, and less pressure/heat you use, more "fine" gets the detail.

[Sorry to keep pestering the list with this..]

So, I take it you iron the transparency onto the copper cladding and
then peel the transparency off?  Do you do this hot or cold?

I've had a stack of transparencies weld themselves together on the back
seat of the car (it gets hot here in Australia :-) ) when they were
printed on the old Apple LaserWriters, but the ones from my HP-LJ5MP
seem to be VERY temperature resistant..

/Kevin
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2001\11\16@025851 by artstar

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I've always been and always will be a big fan of photoetching.

Transferring the toner to the PCB is good for thick trackwork, but where
truly fine resolution is needed, this will NOT do by any means at all.
That's where photoetching is so much better. Only thing I haven't
managed to find yet is a laser printer (or a transparency) that will
actually print a DENSE black line without any voids at all. To
circumvent this, I make 2 printouts on 2 separate sheets and then stick
them together perfectly. This overlap virtually eliminates all voids. Of
course, I extend the exposure time by a couple more minutes to
circumvent the extra shading caused by the additional layer of plastic,
but it works like a dream.

Adios,
LarZ

---------------  TAMA - The Strongest Name in Drums  ---------------

{Original Message removed}

2001\11\16@043958 by Graham

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>. Only thing I haven't
>managed to find yet is a laser printer (or a transparency) that will
>actually print a DENSE black line without any voids at all.
>

use a toner density improver/re-flow'er spray, such as

Folex, 'folatoner'

others exist, I have done 10 mil track and line via transparency exposure
and then simple by hand developing and small series protoype etching tank...

the problem then is 'under cut etch' , attempting to tin these with a roller
tinner will sometimes pull the track.....down to 15 mil seems very reliable
through all our 'amateur' in house processes though.

over etch is reduced by printing the top layer mirrored, then the
transparency can lay with toner side directly on the PCB, this stops edge
blurring of UV exposure through the media supporting the desired
pattern.....having a proper exposure table with top clear film lid and a
vacumn tube also helps , sucking the artwork tight to the board is also
essential.....hard for hobbyists or limited one off lab's but these old
exposure machines can be found cheaply... but you need space, they are not
small.

I have not tried folex on the board using the iron onto pcb method, I would
be interested to hear if it works there  as well as it does on
transparencies for our exposure method ?

Graham






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2001\11\18@173600 by Peter L. Peres

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> ... Only thing I haven't managed to find yet is a laser printer (or a
> transparency) that will actually print a DENSE black line without any
> voids at all. To circumvent this, I make 2 printouts on 2 separate
> sheets and then stick them together perfectly.

Me too but I print one copy straight and one turned 90 degrees and
mirrored, both on foil. Then I juxtapose the copies with the printed sides
together. Gives neat blackness even with inkjet and the holes are all
covered. Sometimes a bit of retouche with a retouche pen or ink is needed
(ask a photographic shop about retouche pens - they use them to doctor
B/W negatives).

Peter

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2001\11\18@192559 by mike

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On Sat, 17 Nov 2001 12:58:30 +0200, you wrote:

>> ... Only thing I haven't managed to find yet is a laser printer (or a
>> transparency) For lasers, use tracing paper - gives very good toner adhesion and
opacity, much better than transparencies. Use the thickest stuff you
can get (at least 90gsm) to reduce crinkling in the fuser.

I have heard good report with some inkjets and tracing paper as well.

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