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'[PIC] Need critique of my SMD PIC18F4550 PCB - Fin'
2011\01\09@174122 by Nathan House

picon face
Thanks again for your help, everyone!

I finished making the board and thought I'd post the results.

PCB:
www.roboticsguy.com/images/misc/smt-pcb-small.jpg
http://www.roboticsguy.com/images/misc/smt-pcb2-small.jpg

Finished board (sorry for the poor quality):
www.roboticsguy.com/images/misc/pic18f4550_smd_board_top.jpg
http://www.roboticsguy.com/images/misc/pic18f4550_smd_board_bottom.jpg

I made a simple program that blinks the status LED and it seems to work fine.

This was a good learning experience for me. Thanks to everyone who
pitched in giving me advice :-

2011\01\09@175652 by IVP

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> I finished making the board and thought I'd post the results.

Nice job

IIRC you're using the toner print and press method. Always on
the look out for info. What printer, paper and etchant ?

Jo

2011\01\09@190343 by Oli Glaser

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On 09/01/2011 22:41, Nathan House wrote:
> Thanks again for your help, everyone!
>
> I finished making the board and thought I'd post the results.
>
> I made a simple program that blinks the status LED and it seems to work fine.
>
> This was a good learning experience for me. Thanks to everyone who
> pitched in giving me advice :-)

Great news - looks like a nice board and work, especially for a first go with SMD components, well done.
A nice example of the Piclist working well..

2011\01\09@200317 by RussellMc

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part 1 114 bytes content-type:text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" (decoded quoted-printable)

Congratulations.
Attached is 'just for fun"
(VERY rough)

R


part 2 12102 bytes content-type:image/jpeg; name="zzzPCB.jpg" (decode)


part 3 181 bytes content-type:text/plain; name="ATT00001.txt"
(decoded base64)

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2011\01\09@230259 by Marcel Duchamp

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On 1/9/2011 2:41 PM, Nathan House wrote:
> Thanks again for your help, everyone!
>
> I finished making the board and thought I'd post the results.
>
> PCB:
> www.roboticsguy.com/images/misc/smt-pcb-small.jpg
> http://www.roboticsguy.com/images/misc/smt-pcb2-small.jpg
>
> Finished board (sorry for the poor quality):
> www.roboticsguy.com/images/misc/pic18f4550_smd_board_top.jpg
> http://www.roboticsguy.com/images/misc/pic18f4550_smd_board_bottom.jpg
>
> I made a simple program that blinks the status LED and it seems to work fine.
>
> This was a good learning experience for me. Thanks to everyone who
> pitched in giving me advice :-)

Thanks for reporting back with the outcome.  It's good to see success stories now and then.  I'm sure you have a good feeling of accomplishment - designing the circuit, the pcb, the software, and then seeing it all come together before your very eyes.  Congratulations

2011\01\10@114017 by Nathan House

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Thanks for all your comments.

>IIRC you're using the toner print and press method. Always on
>the look out for info. What printer, paper and etchant ?

Yes, I'm using the toner transfer method. This is a blog post I wrote
showing the steps:
www.roboticsguy.com/tutorials/printed-circuit-boards/making-pcbs-the-toner-transfer-method
.. I'm using Graytex 32lb high gloss paper, printing with an old HP
LaserJet 4MP, and using a laminator to heat up the board. I think the
laminator makes a big difference, it works tremendously better then a
clothes iron

2011\01\10@120338 by Lorenzo Luengo

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Whoa!! Looks great... which software do you use for layout your pcb?? I'm still looking for a quite easy to use one.

El 09-01-2011 19:41, Nathan House escribió:
> Thanks again for your help, everyone!
>
> I finished making the board and thought I'd post the results.
>
> PCB:
> www.roboticsguy.com/images/misc/smt-pcb-small.jpg
> http://www.roboticsguy.com/images/misc/smt-pcb2-small.jpg
>
> Finished board (sorry for the poor quality):
> www.roboticsguy.com/images/misc/pic18f4550_smd_board_top.jpg
> http://www.roboticsguy.com/images/misc/pic18f4550_smd_board_bottom.jpg
>
> I made a simple program that blinks the status LED and it seems to work fine.
>
> This was a good learning experience for me. Thanks to everyone who
> pitched in giving me advice :-)


-- Lorenzo Luengo Contreras
Ingeniero Civil Electrónico
Laboratorio MIDGEO (LF-106)
Facultad de Ciencias Físicas y Matemáticas
Universidad de Concepción
Concepción - Chile
+56-41-2207400
http://midgeo.udec.cl

2011\01\10@170305 by IVP

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> I'm using Graytex 32lb high gloss paper, printing with an old HP
> LaserJet 4MP, and using a laminator to heat up the board. I think
> the laminator makes a big difference, it works tremendously better
> then a clothes iron

Thank

2011\01\15@032156 by IVP

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> I'm using Graytex 32lb high gloss paper, printing with an old HP
> LaserJet 4MP, and using a laminator to heat up the board. I think the
> laminator makes a big difference, it works tremendously better then a
> clothes iron.

Nathan, Haven't tried toner transfer for a while but you inspired me
to have another go

I've seen 4MP on trade sites dirt cheap ($10 -$20) when I didn't
want one, now I do, there aren't any ;-)) I've seen 4MP mentioned
before as a good printer for this. It's possibly the 4MP toner rather
than the printer itself, as there are many toner formulations

So the first one I could try out is an HP Laser Jet 4. Tried a variety
of magazine papers but they were no good. Wouldn't let go of this
particular toner. Remembered I have a ream of gloss paper which
I don't use because it's too slick for water-based inks and smudges
if you just look at it

I made two PCBs for this project

dl.dropbox.com/u/18683201/SC_LED_lights_06_sm.jpg
dl.dropbox.com/u/18683201/SC_LED_lights_11_sm.jpg
http://www.siliconchip.com.au/cms/attachments/show.html?year=2010&month=May

and they came out very well. I did use a clothes iron, after some
experimentation to find a good heat setting. I left it in soak for an
hour. The paper peeled away easily and no toner was left on it

The paper must have a clay content. Note some left behind

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/18683201/PCB1_clay_detail.jpg

I'd hoped that the clay would be permeable to the etchant (FeCl)
but it wasn't really. Places where I left it as a test didn't etch as
cleanly as where the copper was bare. I cautiously used a soft
wet nailbrush on PCB2 and all the clay came off

Note that wetting the board (LHS) shows the transfer as it really
went down. The paper fibres (shown dry, RHS) do not affect
the end result

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/18683201/PCB1_wet_dry_sm.jpg

Etched board

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/18683201/PCB2_pre_drill_sm.jpg

I took the toner off with mineral turps, then cleaned up with the
nail brush and a little laundry powder

Whence it came (don't know how I got this board, just turned
up during a clean-out in the shed)

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/18683201/scummy_pcb_stock.jpg

and the graphic (original pdf edited, cleaned-up, re-sized,
aliasing removed etc)

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/18683201/Silicon_Chip_0510_Solar_Lighting_PCB2_133x86_600dpi.gif

Now I know what the spread factor of the toner is, I think with
a little practice I could do SMT to a certain resolution, maybe
higher with a little scraping with a needle, but the above is quite
adequate for through-hole as is

See also

http://techref.massmind.org/techref/tonertransfer.htm

Still chasing that Riston film though !!!!

Joe

2011\01\15@101415 by Carl Denk

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Our township has twice a year, a weekend, rubbish, batteries, computer, and other recycling. I asked for and got permission to sort through the electronic things, and picked up a Laserjet 4+. 2 hours of disassembly, cleaning, and a $35 cartridge, and it performs flawlessly. Haven't tried it yet for transfer etching. Used to take inkjet hardcopy to the local copy center, they would run it through their high volume type copier/printer to glossy paper. That worked well, until they closed a year ago.

Does anyone have comments on the toner material? Are all materials equal in performance for masking?

> I've seen 4MP on trade sites dirt cheap ($10 -$20) when I didn't
> want one, now I do, there aren't any ;-)

2011\01\15@104638 by Kerry Wentworth

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That's how I got my LaserJet 1100, free at the dump.  A cheap toner cartridge from the internet, and I'm up and running.  But for everybody who does toner transfer, there is somebody who says that their method doesn't work.  Many people use cheap toner and many say only genuine HP toner works.  The only consensus seems to be that Brother printers and toner don't work.  I use magazine paper and a Creative laminator.  I clean the board with Scotchbrite and scouring powder before transferring, scrub the board with an old toothbrush before etching, and remove the toner with acetone.  All of which there are people who swear it won't work.

Before I found the LaserJet, I printed the artwork and had it photocopied on to magazine paper by the local drug store or at Staples.  It wasn't convenient, but it worked fine.  The bottom line is whatever works for you.

You might want to consider http://dorkbotpdx.org/wiki/pcb_order as an alternative, though.  Silk screen, solder mask and plated through holes can make life a lot easier.


Kerry



Carl Denk wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2011\01\15@105252 by Oli Glaser

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On 15/01/2011 15:14, Carl Denk wrote:
> Does anyone have comments on the toner material? Are all materials equal
> in performance for masking?

For UV mask production, definitely not - I used a cheap cartridge in my HP laser jet and it was a lot worse than the HP cartridge (basically not as black/sharp so UV passed through where it shouldn't)
For direct transfer to PCB (which I think is what you are more interested in) If I recall correctly (though it was ages ago when I looked into this) it's only laserjet ink (not inkjet) that works as a resist due to the plastic content or something, and quality varies with different inks (though I don't think by too much)
I'm sure folk who produce PCBs that way will have some better info on the direct method though.

2011\01\15@123834 by Carl Denk

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On 1/15/2011 10:46 AM, Kerry Wentworth wrote:
> Many people use cheap toner and many say only genuine HP
> toner works.
That's what I was wondering, the cartridge came from http://swapink.com/. They are local + Web, and I have done both.
{Quote hidden}

>

2011\01\15@124455 by Michael Watterson

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On 15/01/2011 15:14, Carl Denk wrote:
> Our township has twice a year, a weekend, rubbish, batteries, computer,
> and other recycling. I asked for and got permission to sort through the
> electronic things, and picked up a Laserjet 4+. 2 hours of disassembly,
> cleaning, and a $35 cartridge, and it performs flawlessly. Haven't tried
> it yet for transfer etching. Used to take inkjet hardcopy to the local
> copy center, they would run it through their high volume type
> copier/printer to glossy paper. That worked well, until they closed a
> year ago.
>
> Does anyone have comments on the toner material? Are all materials equal
> in performance for masking?
>
>> I've seen 4MP on trade sites dirt cheap ($10 -$20) when I didn't
>> want one, now I do, there aren't any ;-))
any decent mono laser should work.
Essentially it's like glue gun glue and soot.

So you need paper to print to that is very glossy so that on reheating the glue sticks to PCB and peels off shiny paper backing.

A Brother Laser likely a good choice. Set it to Thin paper and it will turn down the heat and not bond so tight to the paper. Then prewarm PCB ( hostess hot tray?) prior to re-heat.

Allow to fully cool so bonds well to PCB. Then very quick hot heat on paper with iron and peel off before PCB warms to get clean "lift" from backing.

2011\01\15@125231 by Pete Restall

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On Sat, 15 Jan 2011 10:46:47 -0500, Kerry Wentworth wrote:

> [snip]
> toner works.  The only consensus seems to be that Brother printers
> and toner don't work.  I use magazine paper and a Creative
> laminator.  I
> [snip]

Evening Kerry,

I think I'm going to disagree with the consensus in this instance.  I
have successfully produced plenty of boards on my Brother HL-5470DN
(with genuine Brother toner cartridge).  An example of a quick board
that I documented can be found here:

http://custard.restall.net/pcbs/index.php

Bit of a shameless plug, but there we go...:)  Site needs updating
methinks, but time's been tight for the last year.

Regards,

Pete Restall

2011\01\15@125958 by Oli Glaser

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On 15/01/2011 17:44, Michael Watterson wrote:
> A Brother Laser likely a good choice.

Interesting - I noted Kerry mentioned otherwise..
Any "evidence" from anyone either way on this point?

2011\01\15@164107 by Kerry Wentworth

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The reason usually stated for not using Brother is "new Brother printers use a higher temperature toner", too high to transfer with a laminator.  An iron on max will smear normal toner, at least mine did.  I've never tried a Brother printer, old or new.  If a Brother printer and an iron gives you satisfactory results, then you're home free.  The next guy who tries it will say "That doesn't work, but a Xerox photocopy and a wood stove work great".  What works (or doesn't) on the Internet is not important, what works in your basement is.

Kerry

Pete Restall wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
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2011\01\15@171719 by IVP

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>> A Brother Laser likely a good choice.
>
> Interesting - I noted Kerry mentioned otherwise..
> Any "evidence" from anyone either way on this point?

Ideally, if you get the procedure right, any toner should work

Because toners are proprietary mixes, either designed for
the printer or the printer is designed for the toner, I would
say it might be difficult to generalise

But -

As Michael said, toner is basically plastic and soot. There will
be a few formulations which are profitable, and probably also
therefore quite generic in bulk that will be used in the cartridges
of many printer manufacturers

It might be that generally toner is pretty good but the printer
is the built-by-accountants weak link, which is why results
could be variable across brands

>> I clean the board with Scotchbrite and scouring powder before
>> transferring, scrub the board with an old toothbrush before etching,
>> and remove the toner with acetone.  All of which there are people
>> who swear it won't work
>    
> That's what I do. Cleanliness is next to godliness!

I would agree insofar as removing grease and corrosion etc but
having the copper super-shiny isn't really necessary (at home
anyway). IME a little patina does help the etch-resist get a better
grip. It's kind of like an undercoat

And show me a man who says size doesn't matter and I'll show
you a man with slidy wallpaper

I've not gone to the trouble of dipping in FeCl, but I can see
how it would help

http://techref.massmind.org/techref/tonertransfer.htm

Jo

2011\01\15@190656 by Oli Glaser

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On 15/01/2011 22:16, IVP wrote:
> As Michael said, toner is basically plastic and soot. There will
> be a few formulations which are profitable, and probably also
> therefore quite generic in bulk that will be used in the cartridges
> of many printer manufacturers
>
> It might be that generally toner is pretty good but the printer
> is the built-by-accountants weak link, which is why results
> could be variable across brands

That sounds like pretty fair reasoning, and along the lines of what I thought might be the case in general, I was mainly wondering what might be different about Brother printers (i.e. the printers rather than the ink) to cause them to be singled out (which Kerry has now explained)
For me, I never got into the toner transfer method, tried it a few times ages ago then moved on to UV, and for me this works pretty flawlessly in that no pitch/package is really a problem. Also, with the UV box and etch tank the process is a bit less "fussy" and more reproducible IMHO (no scrubbing/soaking/ironing board etc, just UV, develop and chuck in tank - though this is a very debatable point I'm sure many would disagree with.. :-) )
I think the toner method seems fine though for all but the smallest detail, and is probably a bit cheaper too (both in equipment and expendables), so there is not much either way, just whatever works best for you, which of course (as Kerry also mentioned) is the important thing.
My goal with the whole thing was never really to save money, just time when prototyping (which it does very well when the need arises) but everyone who "rolls their own" is going to have slightly different motivations.

P.S. Very interested in how it goes with the Riston film - keep us posted there.. :-)



2011\01\16@084603 by Olin Lathrop

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Oli Glaser wrote:
> My goal with the whole thing was never really to
> save money, just time when prototyping

Note that it saves on turnaround time, not total expended time.

To save on total expended time, send the boards out, do the BOM, acquire the
parts, and then work on something else until the boards and parts arrive.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000

2011\01\16@093443 by Michael Watterson

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On 15/01/2011 22:49, Pete Restall wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Agreed. Nothing wrong with Brother laser & toner for this applicatio

2011\01\16@093718 by Michael Watterson

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On 15/01/2011 21:41, Kerry Wentworth wrote:
> The reason usually stated for not using Brother is "new Brother printers
> use a higher temperature toner", too high to transfer with a laminator.
> An iron on max will smear normal toner, at least mine did.  I've never
> tried a Brother printer, old or new.
That's why I recommended preheating PCB.

many laminators are too cool or not able for 1.6mm PCB

Also the smearing is due to too much speed and pressure

2011\01\16@102418 by Oli Glaser

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On 16/01/2011 13:47, Olin Lathrop wrote:
> Oli Glaser wrote:
>> My goal with the whole thing was never really to
>> save money, just time when prototyping
> Note that it saves on turnaround time, not total expended time.
>
> To save on total expended time, send the boards out, do the BOM, acquire the
> parts, and then work on something else until the boards and parts arrive.
>

Yes, fair point, and one of the reasons I only do it occasionally e.g. when then need to try something quickly balances the effort involved. Mostly the way you mention is how it's done.
However, the effort is (maybe) not as great as you might think with the correct tools. For example, typically it would involve printing the artwork (seconds), exposing the board (3-4 mins), developing (~15 seconds) and chucking in tank. Around 10-15 mins, mostly whilst doing other stuff.
Then (for me and I guess most others) however, the time consuming part is drilling/through hole rivets(for double sided boards) which can take anything from no time (single sided smt, rare) to an hour (loads of holes/drilling/riveting) Usually somewhere in between.
It is the drilling etc, that prevents me from doing it more often - I guess if I automated this bit the whole thing would be pretty painless and I could be doing other stuff during.
However, I'm not too interested in all the extra fuss for minimal gain, it works for me as it is and I get reasonable benefits occasionally - I was not looking for an "alternative" to a PCB house (others have been looking for a long time, with no real changes), just a "compliment" to.
On the money front, it's *possible* that having the option of not buying expensive development boards to try the odd chip out makes a bit of difference e.g. the Actel ProASIC board was ~£700, much of which I didn't need so I made a quick board to try it out (they often provide the gerbers etc so it can be very quick indeed) Often the same board can be used to try other potential chips out at the same time.
I don't take this bit very seriously though, in my case probably more the principle of not paying extortionate prices just to try out a £5 IC sometimes..  :-)
I guess that's (dev boards) a whole other subject though...


2011\01\29@172928 by IVP

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> A Brother Laser likely a good choice.

Last week I bought a Canon LBP6000, just for doing boards.
It's on special for two weeks

http://www.dse.co.nz/dse.shop/4d448fff00ecf446273fc0a87f3b06f4/Product/View/XP9600

Not a bad deal - trade discount, tax back, $30 redemption from
Canon, including a 3 year extended warranty. DSE had tried to
sell me their own EW for $12.95. BTW, in NZ, an EW gives you
no or little more protection than you can expect by law, so it's a
waste of money

One staff member went above and beyond the call. I took some
of my glossy paper in and asked if he could do a test page for me.
After some consultation he very patiently set up the printer on a
laptop, which took the best part of half an hour. And I had my test
page to prove that the toner doesn't stick just as well as it doesn't
stick with the printer I'd borrowed. So he got his sale. Good on him

And DSE are officially out of the components business. They are
wholly appliances now

Anyhoo, I've knocked out 1/2 dozen boards this week and very
happy with the results. Printer comes with a starter cartridge, good
for 700 pages they say, and that's an awful lot of PCBs

Boards I've made so far have all been DIP, but tests I've done
with line width, heat and time show that TSOP and TQFP will be
quite doable, so I can get stuck into some of those PIC projects

Joe

2011\01\30@002828 by MCH

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I would like to hear more about the details of making boards this way. A webpage reference/tutorial would be fine, too, but I would still appreciate any real list member experience.

Joe M.

IVP wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2011\01\30@020553 by Bob Blick

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On Sun, 30 Jan 2011 11:29:19 +1300, "IVP" said:

> Last week I bought a Canon LBP6000, just for doing boards.

> Anyhoo, I've knocked out 1/2 dozen boards this week and very
> happy with the results. Printer comes with a starter cartridge, good
> for 700 pages they say, and that's an awful lot of PCBs

The rating is probably for 700 pages, but not one at a time. Most toner
cartridges are rated for continuous use. If you output just one page, it
uses up twice as much life.

Cheerful regards,

Bob

-- http://www.fastmail.fm - Same, same, but different...

2011\01\30@030418 by Peter

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On 30/01/2011 6:05 PM, Bob Blick wrote:
> On Sun, 30 Jan 2011 11:29:19 +1300, "IVP" said:
>> Last week I bought a Canon LBP6000, just for doing boards.
>> Anyhoo, I've knocked out 1/2 dozen boards this week and very
>> happy with the results. Printer comes with a starter cartridge, good
>> for 700 pages they say, and that's an awful lot of PCBs
> The rating is probably for 700 pages, but not one at a time. Most toner
> cartridges are rated for continuous use. If you output just one page, it
> uses up twice as much life.
>
As far as I remember, most printer manufactures, do their toner cartridge sums per page, based on an approximated 5% toner covered, test page.

Peter

2011\01\31@102140 by Pete Restall

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On Sat, 29 Jan 2011 23:05:52 -0800, Bob Blick wrote:

> The rating is probably for 700 pages, but not one at a time. Most
> toner cartridges are rated for continuous use. If you output just one
> page, it uses up twice as much life.

IIRC, they generally specify at something like 5% coverage too; PCBs
tend to have very dense areas, especially if using polygon fills.  But
the 5% figure differs between manufacturers too, which complicates
things when comparing what to buy - some specify a certain percentage of
image vs. a certain percentage of text, etc.

Regards,

Pete Restall


'[PIC] Need critique of my SMD PIC18F4550 PCB - Fin'
2011\02\01@225646 by IVP
face picon face
> I would like to hear more about the details of making boards this way.
> A webpage reference/tutorial would be fine, too, but I would still
> appreciate any real list member experience.

Try this

http://techref.massmind.org/techref/tonertransfer.htm

and direct-to-board printing

http://techref.massmind.org/techref/pcb/etch/directinkjetresist.ht

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