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Old 20th March 2007, 02:20 AM   #1
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Default toner/iron method problem

I've been trying to use the toner/iron method to make pcb's using my HP Laserjet1018 laser printer. The problem is that when i tired to print the paper (used glossy photo paper for INKJET printers) the printing came out very bad and the paper had like a thin transparent layer all torn apart, by the heat i pressume. I've tried many different kinds of paper to do this but only that one worked (using a photocopy, which didn't tear the paper apart). I want to use my own printer but i don't know what paper to use.

Another thing, after ironing the pcb and all, some paper remained strongly sticked to the pcb and i couldn't take it out, not without taking the toner off too...again, what paper should i use?!
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Old 20th March 2007, 11:55 PM   #2
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i just screwed a pcb because of the stupid paper that stays sticked to the pcb. What paper do i have to use to make pcb? Glossy photo paper didn't work
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Old 21st March 2007, 12:15 AM   #3
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You need to soak it in hot water after ironing.
Rick: Oh Cliff / Sometimes it must be difficult not to feel as if / You really are a cliff / when fascists keep trying to push you over it! / Are they the lemmings / Or are you, Cliff? / Or are you Cliff?
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Old 21st March 2007, 12:32 AM   #4
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Having used the toner method extensively, I will simply say that its reputation far exceeds its accomplishments. Yes, people routinely post pictures of circuit boards they made using transfer paper, but have you ever noticed that the boards look as though they were done by a third-grader with a crayon?
The entire system is flawed from the ground up. It's conceptually simple, but bogs down in the real world due to pressure and temperature problems. Then there are the hairline fractures and pinholes in the toner that let the etchant through. And the need to (at least) double print the image in order to get a sufficient amount of toner on the silly paper...only to run into registration problems from multiple runs through the printer. Etc. Etc. Et-flippin'-cetera.
It's kinda like the old thing about the pig singing--it's not that the pig sings so well, it's that it sings at all.
Screw transfer paper.
I went optical.

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Old 21st March 2007, 12:45 AM   #5
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I too have tried the toner method of printing. I have no doubt that you can develop your skill to a point where the method produces passable results. If you are happy to spend weeks experimenting, failing and destroying copper boards

However the photo transfer method is far easier for an occaisional user to perfect (I got it right on my second go) I would even dare to say you can produce pretty amazing work with the same amount of practice that the toner method guys put in to produce useable results... Hope I am not being too controversial

I use an overhead projector to do my exposures and get results I am very hapy with from printer to the point of cleaning the copper in less than 15 minutes.

My advice, go photo resist...
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Old 21st March 2007, 12:46 AM   #6
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well i have to say that this method is not THE BEST thing but it works well WHEN IT WORKS. I was able to do it a couple of times but that's all. The optic method would be cool if i'd be able to do it at all, i've never seen what's needed to do it around here. BTW, i soaked it in water, didn't work out, the paper remains sticked hard to the pcb
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Old 21st March 2007, 12:54 AM   #7
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Photo resist student packs can be bought, and come with reasonable instructions.

I typically produce a test strip, basicly I just make a long board with traces of varying sizes, down to a grade or two below the smallest trace on my design, I place this on my print alongside my board design and cut it off my transparency. I expose it in sections on the ohp, at time intervals of 30 seconds. Then I develop it and see what timing produces the best result. This I then use as my exposure time on the real design.

Its not rocket science, but its easy to controll the exposure this way and I can make many boards on the same afternoon all to the same quality level.

Typically I use a student kit once only, they are cheaper to buy than buying the chemicals seperately if your only doing small batches

***Edit*** by the way if you use an ohp, remove the fresnell lense when doing exposures.***
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Old 21st March 2007, 02:35 AM   #8
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try thin, glossy paper like that in those 800+ pages catalogues.

BTW, i soaked it in water, didn't work out, the paper remains sticked hard to the pcb
Add plenty of dishwashing detergent. Let the paper soak for an hour or more. Brush the paper off (use plastic bristles). You can brush vigorously without scratching the toner, if the toner has been ironed on well.

If paper fibre residues keep sticking to the toner (and only the toner), just leave it where it is, as it probably wont affect the etching process. If the paper sticks to the bare copper (i.e. with no toner in between the copper and the paper), the paper is obviously not suitable for the iron on method.

Better still: forget the toner/iron method. I've tried it once and yes, it works, more or less, if done right, but it's still a pain in the rear.

All you need to process photoresist coated PCBs:

-photoresist coated PCBs (duh)
-printable transparency sheets (even ordinary copier paper works when soaked in salad oil to make it slightly transparent - need I say soak it in oil after printing?)
-sheet of glass (to put on top of and to flatten the transparency sheet during UV exposure)
-face tanner as the UV light source (used 5$ off ebay)
-sodium hydroxide (NaOH, ~10g/l, to dissolve the developed photoresist)

...etch as you're used to.

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Old 21st March 2007, 03:17 AM   #9
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I went the toner route when I started because I already had a huge pile of double sided 2 oz. FR4 and I didn't want to spend the money on everything involved with a photo setup. The only thing I needed to buy for toner transfer was a $8 pack of photo paper.

I get good results without too much hassle. I don't see myself ever switching to a photo setup as I have a good routine down that works well for me.

It's good enough for SMD work.........

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Old 21st March 2007, 03:28 AM   #10
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I get good results without too much hassle. I don't see myself ever switching to a photo setup as I have a good routine down that works well for me.
I'm with you. Once you find paper that works for you (Jetprint Photo Premium/Laserjet 4 in my case), results are quite good. It does take some practice though. The Jetprint Photo Premium paper (walmart) leaves NO residue with about 10 minutes of soaking in soapy warm water.
Crazy Yankee.
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