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Old 16th April 2010, 01:01 AM   #21
tomchr is offline tomchr  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theAnonymous1 View Post
I've had some time to play around with my laminator. All I can say is.... WOW.... why have I been using a cloths iron for the last 5 years?
How many times did you run it through the laminator? Just once? Did you preheat the board before running it through the laminator?

Sounds good with the presentation paper. It's always good to have alternatives.

~Tom

Last edited by tomchr; 16th April 2010 at 01:27 AM.
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Old 16th April 2010, 02:30 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by yeti View Post
As i use this waxy paper leftover from CD labels, peeling it off is very easy, no need to soak it.
Interesting!
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Old 16th April 2010, 04:15 AM   #23
40 watt is offline 40 watt  Canada
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I'm impressed.

Question:

Would a cheap HP P1006 Monochrome laser jet be satisfactory for the printing? Is HP's patented new spherical toner appropriate for circuit boards? I assume the little balls of plastic should still melt uniformly?

It's a cheap laser printer. I need a new printer anyway...

Last edited by 40 watt; 16th April 2010 at 04:18 AM.
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Old 16th April 2010, 05:06 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomchr View Post
How many times did you run it through the laminator? Just once? Did you preheat the board before running it through the laminator?
No, I didn't bother to heat the board first.

That GBC H425 laminator is a monster though; I can clearly see through the paper that the toner adheres after only one pass. I still ran it through about 4 or 5 times just for good measure; it's not a big deal to me. Even if I had to run it through 10 times it's still easier, faster, and more consistent than using an iron.

I don't know why some people worry about having to do multiple passes; it's probably the least time and effort consuming part of the whole process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 40 watt View Post
I'm impressed.

Question:

Would a cheap HP P1006 Monochrome laser jet be satisfactory for the printing? Is HP's patented new spherical toner appropriate for circuit boards? I assume the little balls of plastic should still melt uniformly?

It's a cheap laser printer. I need a new printer anyway...
As long as it prints dark enough, it should work just fine.

I was using an old POS Lexmark Optra E312 for years. It just recently started printing with these weird stretch mark looking cracks in the toner, so I set it out on the curb and bought a Samsung ML-2525W (love it).
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Old 16th April 2010, 05:08 PM   #25
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I think I've perfected my transfer method.

My previous board had some pitting due to what I assume was not enough toner being layed down on my transfers. I found out I could make it a little darker by choosing "thick" for the paper type.

This latest board came out the best I've ever done. No pitting at all and the traces and text/image came out as good as I think one could ever expect with this method.

Here is a pic of part of the board with some really small text (the scale above is millimeters).

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 16th April 2010, 07:27 PM   #26
40 watt is offline 40 watt  Canada
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I looked at about 3 of the lower level Samsung laser printers. Price is right, and twice the DPI [dots per inch] should be twice the plastic sprayed on and and then melted cohesively with the laser. 1200 x 1200 dpi has to be more plastic than 600 x 600 dpi, thus more resistance to etchants? Then there is the tricks to try and coerce the printer to spray more toner. Thick paper setting works, you say? Sounds good.

One of their models, still cheap, also does wireless networking and fax. That's a handy universal printer.

The laminators are really quite inexpensive as well. All there is left to do is source cheap but good copper board. Seems expensive at Digikey.
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Old 16th April 2010, 08:23 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 40 watt View Post
...twice the DPI [dots per inch] should be twice the plastic sprayed on and and then melted cohesively with the laser. 1200 x 1200 dpi has to be more plastic than 600 x 600 dpi, thus more resistance to etchants?
I have a feeling that's not quite how it works. If you look at the specs for 1200dpi laser printers they always make sure to say "effective output", which I assume means they are using some fancy trickery.

The first board I did that had the pitting issue had a 1200dpi printed transfer. The nearly flawless board I posted above was printed at 600dpi.

I dunno.

I'm loving this Samsung ML-2525w wireless printer though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 40 watt View Post
The laminators are really quite inexpensive as well. All there is left to do is source cheap but good copper board. Seems expensive at Digikey.
Well, the one I've been using retails for a couple hundred bucks, so they're not all cheap. Just make sure it's a GBC brand.

For PCB stock, I buy from ebay seller abcfab.

(side note: The laser in a laser printer doesn't melt anything, the fuser does. The lasers function is actually far more interesting.)

HowStuffWorks "How Laser Printers Work"

Last edited by theAnonymous1; 16th April 2010 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 19th April 2010, 05:51 PM   #28
tomchr is offline tomchr  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theAnonymous1 View Post
I still ran it through about 4 or 5 times just for good measure; it's not a big deal to me. Even if I had to run it through 10 times it's still easier, faster, and more consistent than using an iron.

I don't know why some people worry about having to do multiple passes; it's probably the least time and effort consuming part of the whole process.
I could see some people being worried about the artwork shifting between passes, but as long as the toner sticks the first time through I wouldn't think that would be an issue. I haven't had any issues when using an iron where I have to flip the artwork/pcb compo half way through to apply pressure to the other layer.

I sense a laminator order coming up here pretty soon. Thanks for sharing your data! The thin lines and sharpness of the text on your board is pretty impressive.

~Tom
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Old 26th April 2010, 03:08 AM   #29
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I just ran 6 boards through my cheap laminator from target with great results. Boards were 2"x2"

I cut the magazine paper with the layout big enough to fold around one edge and used a small piece of tape to hold it for the first 2 passes until the toner tacked onto the board. Then ran it through about 4 more times changing insertion point along the roller and board orientation until the board was nice and hot and the traces started to show through the paper. Dunked it in a bowl of water and the paper just lifted away after a minute or less.
All etched great. The printer wouldn't feed the partsexpress paper so I went back to the magazine paper I used before. Printer settings set to highest quality, true black (Uses only black toner for traces instead of making black from CMYK) and I think I had it on gloss black.
2 boards had a little pitting but they were from a different print run with different settings.
Once you find your printer settings that work.. make sure you write them down!

The printer doesn't have to be the best on the market. I used an OKIdata 600x1200 dpi iirc.

I might try a test board with different line thickness and clearance just for reference. Anyone have an Eagle file of one?
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Old 26th April 2010, 03:38 AM   #30
gootee is offline gootee  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theAnonymous1 View Post
I have a feeling that's not quite how it works. If you look at the specs for 1200dpi laser printers they always make sure to say "effective output", which I assume means they are using some fancy trickery.

The first board I did that had the pitting issue had a 1200dpi printed transfer. The nearly flawless board I posted above was printed at 600dpi.

I dunno.

I'm loving this Samsung ML-2525w wireless printer though.



Well, the one I've been using retails for a couple hundred bucks, so they're not all cheap. Just make sure it's a GBC brand.

For PCB stock, I buy from ebay seller abcfab.

(side note: The laser in a laser printer doesn't melt anything, the fuser does. The lasers function is actually far more interesting.)

HowStuffWorks "How Laser Printers Work"
Yeah... def... def... definitely abcfab. Yeah...

Back when I used to make a lot of boards with TT, abcfab cut board blanks to size, for me, within something like .01-inch. And he's great to deal with. Other decent sources included mouser.com and ebay.com (search for FR4, probably).

BTW, for those who haven't, also check out Homebrew_PCBs, at yahoogroups.com.

You guys are doing some good work!

Cheers,

Tom Gootee
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