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PICList Thread
'[OT] Making circuit boards'
2000\01\08@235925 by Stephen Inkpen

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Does anyone know if using an inkjet printer with the ordinary iron-on sheets of
paper will work when making circuit boards with the copper and etchant solution?

Stephen Inkpen
spam_OUTsinkpenTakeThisOuTspamroadrunner.nf.net

2000\01\09@022554 by Robert.Rolf

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On Sun, 9 Jan 2000, Stephen Inkpen wrote:
> Does anyone know if using an inkjet printer with the ordinary iron-on sheets of
> paper will work when making circuit boards with the copper and etchant solution?

It doesn't. The ink is too thin and doesn't transfer well with heat.
The 'special' transfer sheets rely on the remelted toner to bond to the
board and then the backing tears away. Ink just doesn't do that.

Now, there is nothing to prevent you from printing out your artwork and
then photocopying it to the transfer paper. Unfortunately photocopiers
(and many laser printers) are not symetric, and often have different
scale factors in the x & y axis. You MUST calibrate them to be able to
do larger boards with fine (SMT) parts. Humidity control is also necessary.
You want really dry paper so that it's dimensions don't shift as the
page passes through the fuser and the water gets steamed off.
Depending on your climate you may want to run the paper thru the printer
as a blank page to stabilize it. I have found the the label backing paper
works pretty well if you are very careful in your handling (open the
back door of the printer so that the output path is straight, or else the
toner flakes off).

You might be able to use an inkjet printer to print directly on the board,
but I don't know of any cheap current models that have a straight thru
path, but some commercial units, meant for printing on glossy cardboard
stock, do.

You may also be able to take your PCL or PDF file down to your local copy
shop and have them print it to your release paper as a 'special' print job.

Robert
.....--Robert.RolfKILLspamspam@spam@UAlberta.ca
"If 'debugging' is the process of removing errors, then 'programming' must
be the process of putting them in".

2000\01\09@055508 by wwl

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On Sun, 9 Jan 2000 01:26:05 -0330, you wrote:

>Does anyone know if using an inkjet printer with the ordinary iron-on sheets of
>paper will work when making circuit boards with the copper and etchant solution?
>
>Stephen Inkpen
>sinkpenspamKILLspamroadrunner.nf.net

Some inkjets will produce useable masters for photo-etching by
printing on tracing paper.

For lots of info on quality homebrew PCB making see
http://www.netcomuk.co.uk/~wwl/pcbs.html

2000\01\09@060744 by Allan West

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Someone I know successfully prints out onto the backing sheets for sticky
labels and then irons this onto the board.  It's fine for most things but if
you want fine resolutions then it's not so brilliant.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Stephen Inkpen" <.....sinkpenKILLspamspam.....ROADRUNNER.NF.NET>
To: <EraseMEPICLISTspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: 09 January 2000 04:56
Subject: [OT] Making circuit boards


> Does anyone know if using an inkjet printer with the ordinary iron-on
sheets of
> paper will work when making circuit boards with the copper and etchant
solution?
>
> Stephen Inkpen
> sinkpenspamspam_OUTroadrunner.nf.net
>

2000\01\09@121655 by Rob

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The best and most economical way IMHO is to buy copper clad board, buy some
PCS spray on positive acting photo resist, spray it on the board and let it
dry, then print on an overhead with either a laser or thermal wax printer
(or, in the case of inkjet, print negative then use a copier to darken it
and print to a transparency), cover it with glass to hold the transparency
down so you get sharp lines, expose it with a halogen lamp for about 10 min
or so, then, use hot water from the faucet to heat the etchant by placing
the bottle in a container full of hot water, let it set for about 20 mins,
then, take a candy jar with a metal latch and seal (this stops it from
fuming all over), then, place your board inside, swirl it around a bit, and
in about a min you should have a VERY good board..

BTW, the spray on photo resist is called PCS by GC electronics, cat no.
22-074..
Unfortunately, I believe it is banned now. ;) Everything that works really
well is banned!

Also by buying raw copper clad, you can do stuff by hand using a sharpie and
dont have to pay extra for the photo resist that you dont always need..
Plus, too, you can sometimes get copper clad surplus SUPER cheap (read:
free) if you use scrap from a boardhouse or prototyper firm.

Rob

{Original Message removed}

2000\01\09@141606 by jkitchen

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I'd like to know the answer to that question too.  Please let me know what you
find.  Thanks...

Stephen Inkpen wrote:

> Does anyone know if using an inkjet printer with the ordinary iron-on sheets of
> paper will work when making circuit boards with the copper and etchant solution?
>
> Stephen Inkpen
> @spam@sinkpenKILLspamspamroadrunner.nf.net

2000\01\09@143055 by jkitchen

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I have had good results as follows:  Using a plastic film intended for the
purpose, print a negative image with a laser printer.  This will iron onto clean
copper nicely of you are careful.  I find it works better if I heat the copper
board on the iron, and then roll the film sheet onto the moderately hot copper.
I use a roller from the photo lab, and roll with light pressure.  Too much
pressure will smear the toner.  I have been able to get copper traces between
the 0.10 pins of IC's this way.  Good luck...

Rob wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> {Original Message removed}

2000\01\09@153738 by Rob

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No, the ordinary iron-on sheets actually have a flexible film that you are
printing on and this comes off in one big piece, which would tend to etch
resist the entire board.. Dont do it.. I tried it already! ;)

Rob

{Original Message removed}

2000\01\09@153740 by Rob

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Yes, I did the same thing at one point, but, as you have said, there is an
art to getting the ink to come off onto the copper, and I just couldnt get
it quite right, although I have done it, its always seemed that I had to
touch it up with a sharpie because not enough of the ink came off onto the
copper.

Rob

{Original Message removed}

2000\01\10@113500 by Lawrence Lile
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My experience with iron-on transfers is: They stink.  Sometimes I would get
a good board, sometimes not. Most often I would spend hours fixing the
iron-on transfer with an etch resist pen.  I also worked with a pen plotter
for a while, but I finally went to photo-etching with excellent results.

I use a laser printer or an inkjet printer to print transparencies on clear
mylar (you can use transparency sheets as well).  Then I photo-etch them.  A
good source for photo etch supplies is:

http://www.kepro.com     I buy their "keproclad" 4" x 6" boards - a cheap
simple package with developer and instructions all sealed  in a light-proof
bag.  They sell light bulbs, etch kits (which can be replaced with a few
tupperware containers and a hair dryer!)  etchant, etc.  Dump the iron-ons.


{Original Message removed}

2000\01\10@113918 by jkitchen

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The film I use is designed for making PCBs from the laser printer.  Trust me, it
works :-)

Rob wrote:

> No, the ordinary iron-on sheets actually have a flexible film that you are
> printing on and this comes off in one big piece, which would tend to etch
> resist the entire board.. Dont do it.. I tried it already! ;)
>
> Rob
>
> {Original Message removed}

2000\01\10@131536 by D. Schouten

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> The film I use is designed for making PCBs from the laser printer.
Trust me, it
> works :-)

Can you tell me which film you use?

Thanks!

Daniel...

>
> Rob wrote:
>
> > No, the ordinary iron-on sheets actually have a flexible film that
you are
> > printing on and this comes off in one big piece, which would tend
to etch
> > resist the entire board.. Dont do it.. I tried it already! ;)
> >
> > Rob
> >
> > {Original Message removed}

2000\01\10@195021 by Henry Carl Ott

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<x-flowed>At 07:11 PM 1/10/2000, you wrote:
> > The film I use is designed for making PCBs from the laser printer.
>Trust me, it
> > works :-)
>
>Can you tell me which film you use?
>
>Thanks!
>
>Daniel...

   I'm reposting a message of mine from a while ago that might be of interest.
 At the end there are some re-sources.

 Some notable updates:
 Techinks also sells a 'wet' transfer film. It works just as well as the
dyna-art product.
 Techniks also appears to now sell AVR parts in small quantities.

 Currently I've been using epson photo gloss inkjet paper in my laser
printer with good results. It's about 1/3 the price of the specialized
transfer films, but there are some issues. This could form a whole thread
on it's own.

-------------------repost-----------------

 I've been using the toner transfer system for about 4 years now, and
I get very good results. I've used both the 'blue' waterless
Press-n-peel stuff, and the gel 'water' paper from DynaArt Designs.
The DynaArt material gives slightly better results but it's
twice as expensive. I order transfer sheets 50 at a time (I use
it a lot!) and I don't throw much of it in the garbage from botched
results.
I've never did anything special to prepare the copper clad beside
clean it with some steel wool.
I've used an HP LJ-IIp and a LJ-III printer and both worked fine.
The only real suggestion I can give to improve results is to always
use a laminator to transfer the toner to the copper clad. Cloth irons
don't work consistently, and I don't think a tee shirt press will
work.
I use a small badge laminator for 99% of my designs (boards
can't be more then 5 inches wide), but I've borrowed a larger
laminator for bigger designs and it also worked fine. It helps to
crank up the heat setting a bit and run the artwork through twice
just to be sure all the toner transfers. Also make sure the
copper clad is absolutely dry before it goes through the transfer
process.
DynaArt sells a modified (slower) 12 inch laminator
that works great, but at about $200.00 (US), it's a bit (IMHO)
expensive.
I usually find small used laminators at Ham Fests for about $25.00.
As a plus you can also make all the luggage tags you'll ever need.

Hope this helps............

BTW, some contact info before anybody asks:
DynaArt Designs
http://www.dynaart.com/
 805-943-4746
(All sorts of home PCB fabrication materials definitely worth
getting their catalogue)

Techniks
http://www.techniks.com/
 908-788-8249
 ( Makers of Press-n-Peel transfer film)



carl

--------------------------------------------------------
Henry Carl Ott   N2RVQ    KILLspamcarlottKILLspamspaminterport.net
http://www.interport.net/~carlott/
--------------------------------------------------------
You're entitled to your own opinions.
 You are not entitled to your own facts.

</x-flowed>

2000\01\12@182018 by jkitchen

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Film by The Meadowlake Corp.  25 Blanchard Drive.  P.O. Box 497.
Northport, NY  11768  Be advised that is an old address, and I don't know
if it is still OK.

"D. Schouten" wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> > > {Original Message removed}

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