Toner transfer with a twist -- anyone tried this? - diyAudio
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Old 29th August 2005, 10:13 PM   #1
rif is offline rif  United States
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Default Toner transfer with a twist -- anyone tried this?

Let me preface this -- I haven't tried this, it's just a thought that came to me.

Why not disable/bypass the fuser portion of the laser printer when printing?

Seems to me that the fuser is doing a toner transfer of a kind -- just melting the plastic on to paper. So if one could carefully remove the paper before fusing, wouldn't the ironing onto a PCB be more efficient -- one melting instead of two?

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/laser-printer1.htm
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Old 30th August 2005, 03:24 AM   #2
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That might work.. but what if the toner just falls off the paper (when it contacts the metal maybe)?


Plus how would you do this without taking the whole machine apart.

If your going to do that, maybe you could just modify it to print straight onto a PCB
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Old 30th August 2005, 06:00 AM   #3
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The paper with unfused toner will be very hard to handle. Its going to smear everywhere the moment you try to put it toner side down on the copper. Why bother? The usual way works just fine.
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Old 30th August 2005, 05:57 PM   #4
rif is offline rif  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by thomas997
Plus how would you do this without taking the whole machine apart.
[/B]
Well this is a diy hobby... And laser printers are pretty cheap nowadays.

Quote:
If your going to do that, maybe you could just modify it to print straight onto a PCB [/B]
That would be best, of course, but I see 2 issues: 1) PCBs aren't flexible. But with a little creativitiy, I'm sure someone could get by that. 2) The printing relies on electrostatic attraction -- with a metal (copper on PCB), the charge would redistribute itself freely and you'd lose the image.
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Old 31st August 2005, 12:03 AM   #5
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As long as you're thinking about using printers for your PCB patterns, go get yourself a REAL LASER printer... It's been out for a while, but earlier this year IIRC Wired Magazine did a short blurb on it and reminded me...

Feed it a standard printer signal, and it makes it happen on ANYTHING from copper-clad PCB material, to wood, aluminium, plastics, whatever.

I would NOT however reccommend taking THAT puppy apart!

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Old 31st August 2005, 12:09 AM   #6
rif is offline rif  United States
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you mean it uses a string laser to burn image into the material? Wow!

Do you know the company's name? Or is it REAL?
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Old 31st August 2005, 02:33 AM   #7
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It's real. It's out there. It's on Google more likely than not. If I get something else out of the way in time I'll see if I can find a reference for you.
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Old 31st August 2005, 04:57 AM   #8
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okay, here it is

$8000
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Old 31st August 2005, 04:06 PM   #9
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It's just not going to work.

You'd be getting toner all over the place, especially inside the printer.

The idea I've been thinking about for a while is this: directly printing on the copper... After all, PCBs are just copper sheets glued to epoxy. If we could print on the copper sheet first, then cut it to dimension and glue it to bare epoxy, that would be a huge step forward. I don't think 35 m copper sheets would be a problem in a regular laser printer? The thing I'm not sure about, is how to glue them on epoxy. Not sure what kind of glue is used, if they glue the copper sheets under some pressure/some temperature, etc. That would be the harder part... unless someone tells me that reliably gluing copper sheets on epoxy is very simple...

Edit: I've seen someone has already told about the problems of printing directly on copper. I think he's probably right, but that would be interesting to give it a shot...
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Old 31st August 2005, 04:13 PM   #10
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there aren't many things worse in a workshop than carbon black -- it smudges everything AND conducts electricity.

you can use a plotter to apply waterproof ink directly from pen to copper -- here's the problem -- most of the plotters are programmed in HP/GL (Hewlett Packard Graphics Language) -- you have to get the gerber file and then manipulate it -- great if you remember DOS and how to use a text editor.

i have done this with small boards -- only a few square inches -- it works. with larger boards the inertia of the PCB is such that it is difficult to maintain registration -- at least on the plotter which I used.
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