Laminator for PCB Toner Transfer? - diyAudio
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Old 24th May 2006, 03:13 PM   #1
dfdye is offline dfdye  United States
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Default Laminator for PCB Toner Transfer?

In my newfound quest to perfect home PCB manufacturing, I have become interested in using a heated rolling laminator in place of an iron when using the toner transfer PCB method since getting even transfers seems to be the weak link in my process (though I have been getting better!! ). Looking into it, there seem to be a multitude of laminators on the market, and I was wondering if people who had used them would care to comment on which one they own and how well it works.

Staples has a cheap one here that seems to take a variety of thicknesses of material, which would seem to be a pre-requisite for any laminator one would wish to use to do thermal transfers. If anyone has used this particular model or one similar, I would especially be interested to hear how it worked.

Thanks!!
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Old 24th May 2006, 05:54 PM   #2
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that's a pretty cool idea... if it works for you I'll have to try it. That may be the tip I was waiting for...

Thanks!
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Old 24th May 2006, 06:02 PM   #3
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We have a couple of industrial grade ones here at work, I might just have to give this a go!
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Old 24th May 2006, 06:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by pinkmouse
We have a couple of industrial grade ones here at work, I might just have to give this a go!
We have one of the huge 60" wide ones, but it's a pain to load and unolad. Thus the quest for a smaller desktop one. I don't really want to commit $75 just to try one out (since I won't really have a use for it since I don't need a laminator), but I think I might just bite the bullet for the greater good if nobody knows if it is any good or not.

David
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Old 24th May 2006, 07:06 PM   #5
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Considering the time it takes to drill a complex board, a "bare bones" PCB from Advanced Circuits makes sense if you are using a CAD program to design your board.

For something like $45 plus a per square inch charge you can get a two sided board in 1 oz. copper with plated through holes. It works out to 10 boards 80mm x 100 mm for ~$100 plus shipping. The turnaround is one day. The boards are every bit as good as their regular production boards, minus the silkscreen and soldermask. I don't think I'll be making my own boards anytime soon.
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Old 24th May 2006, 07:53 PM   #6
dfdye is offline dfdye  United States
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Slacker!

Seriously though, there are some boards I want just one of, and spending $3 vs $50 is a pretty substantial difference in my book. It is all relative, though, I suppose. If your time is worth more than mine () then it definitely makes more sense to have somebody else make boards for you.

Also, I have used Olimex to get cheap boards with solder mask and silkscreen for cheap, but the shipping time is a killer.
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Old 24th May 2006, 07:57 PM   #7
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Whilst Advanced do provide a good service, there are times when you just want one board just to test out a concept, or prototype a circuit. For instance, when I did the Krell GB, I made 3 iterations of the board before I was happy to release it even to the beta tester, that adds up very quickly...
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Old 24th May 2006, 08:02 PM   #8
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I figure if I am going ot put the time into a board its for somethin I'll use a few times, so 10 for 100 isn't too bad. for one offs I just point to point it. To each his own
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Old 24th May 2006, 08:09 PM   #9
dfdye is offline dfdye  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by BobEllis
I figure if I am going ot put the time into a board its for somethin I'll use a few times, so 10 for 100 isn't too bad. for one offs I just point to point it. To each his own
Well, Bob, you certainly have made that "10 to 100" limit on your past couple of projects with the xovers and PSU's!!!

As for the point to point, I must sadly admit how badly I have failed at that each time I have had to connect more than a couple of IC's and resistors! I never can seem to get it right! So indeed, to each his own.

PS Have you tried the $33 specials at Advanced? That looks to be a pretty good deal as well.
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Old 24th May 2006, 08:46 PM   #10
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No, I haven't tried them, but I am sure they're nicely made.

You've discovered my "secret" design tool. If the idea is good enough, Jens steps in and polishes it up.
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