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DIY Toner Transfer Paper (cheap and easy))

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Rolf, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. DirtyLude

    DirtyLude Well-Known Member

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    It is slight pitting and it has the toner that I didn't wash off properly. I'm not using any agitation other than swirling the PCB around in a plastic dish. The Direct Inkjet PCB guys noticed that Ferric Chloride is more forgiving for resist than acid etching as well. The Hydrochloric Acid is cheaper and nicely see through, like Ammonium Persulphate so it's hard to get rid of just because of the rash that I get on the board. I still have FC here for those times that I want a pretty etch.
     
  2. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    I agree with Mark regarding the rash on the large areas.

    Not all black toner is created equal (in regards to toner transfer). I do not know if the black in a color printer is the same as back in a b/w machine. It is quite possible that it is formulated differently to work with the color system, or it may be identical. Unless you know for sure you have introduced a variable into the processes. It may well be responsible for your poor transfer.

    I have not demonized any printers to my knowledge.

    3v0
     
  3. Angelgroove

    Angelgroove New Member

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    Finally a double sided board

    After many iterations and pulling my hair out when the foils did not transfer, I finally got the science of the heat and travel time. There is a company YouTube - THERM-O-TYP FT-10 Foil Fuser that deals with foils very well and the problems with foils are always travel time, temperature and pressure. Pressure can be predefined and is not too big a deal, but travel time through low cost laminators are a significant issue. Also not being able to closely dial in the temp will foul a foil.

    This is an art, and using professional machines one sees using feet of foil waste just to get it right. So my use is one shot because I do not have feet to calibrate nor do I have an expensive laminator. I do have my iron doing the best work thus far keeping in mind travel time from one side of the print to the other.

    With that I have finally finished my wireless motor controller and have only left to drill it out and assemble it. Wire wrapping was out of the question. One thing to note about PCB Express, do not use their predefined pad sizes if you are going to drill out these boards. .080" pad is a good size that wont rip away and will leave a pad to solder to when drilled with a #58 drill. Anything less including tiny vias is best left to the pros.

    The solder mask works but I have to print it in a three up lamination. It is a big pain to do but if done carefully one can get a sharp looking solder mask.

    Bottom line is with all of these foils and so forth it takes a toner that can reheat and create stickture when needed under heat and pressure for a certain duration of milliseconds. That is very hard to do with a low cost laminator and I would not waste the money on one and simply practice using the iron. The setting is around poly for any cellophane transfers and cotton for the white or green foils. Pulsar's release paper is worth the investment.
     
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. Mr RB

    Mr RB Well-Known Member

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    Or you could just use press n peel blue which is cheap, works perfectly in a cheap laminator and DOESN'T need foils to fix the problem of voids because you won't get any.

    I don't understand why so many people here seem to be obsessed with pulsar paper.
     
  6. mvs sarma

    mvs sarma Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps, not an aversion, but a reality. Beyond reach to some nations, without spending a moon especially due to international transport costs. OK , PnP may even help one or two samples. While such samples are welcome as starters, we should have local access to it and at reasonable affordable cost to local standards.
    Otherwise perhaps R&D groups can afford and not normal users like students and hobby groups.
     
  7. Mr RB

    Mr RB Well-Known Member

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    Are you saying the Pulsar paper + foil is significantly cheaper than the press n peel?

    I understand students in India that would not want to pay the cost of the press n peel but in other countries it is about $4 per letter sized sheet, which does 10 -15 small PCBs so it works out at 30 to 40 cents a PCB. That's much less than a cup of coffee etc. Considering the high cost of PCB material and all the time and effort involved I think its well worth spending 40 cents to make a job much easier and have less mistakes to be fixed. But then I don't make that many PCBs a year as a lot of my stuff uses veroboard or pro PCBs.

    It's not long ago hobby people were spending BIG $$ on presensitised photo PCB stock...
     
  8. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    We have been down this road many times. I have no problems with people using P&P blue. People are free to use whatever they please.

    Pulsar cost per square inch for paper and foil are 2.6 cents per square inch
    The time required to add the Pulsar foil is small in that you already have the laminator hot.

    As I understand it the Pulsar foil has a finer grain then P&P. The starch toner release system uses water to break the bond between the toner and the transfer paper. This allows for finer detail. Others have said that P&P tends to bridge as the pitch/spacing goes down.

    I have been using Pulsar products for several years. Frank, the owner/inventor will work with customers via phone of email. If you are unhappy he will buy the product back.

    Pulsar also makes DecalPro which anyone working on prototypes should be interested in.

    3v0
     
  9. mvs sarma

    mvs sarma Well-Known Member

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    i am saying that Rs200/ ($4) is too much in our currency for a support media (press and peel one A4).
    we get as good a coffee for a Max of Rs10/-unless we go to 3/5 star Hotels.even there it might cost Rs100?-($2)
    but the cost of such paper to reach our hand is say $10 again
    any way , i am a retired telecom person at my and may be i can pay for it. it pains to pay
    the students , instead can complete the design and give it in a local pcb making house, they get 5 boards almost at that cost or little more including cost of paper phenolic, solder mask. many wont go for solder mask at 5 samples.
    they work in groups , so it still becomes cheap on sharing. we are discussing the issues, also in relation to hobbyists.
    as hobbyist , how many PCBs one needs , say max 3, with redundancy included.
     
  10. Angelgroove

    Angelgroove New Member

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    Class using simple PCB techniques

    As someone who attended basic electronics classes in High School and lucky enough to have done so (California in the US has dropped all such classes thanks to attorneys) I feel I can comment on this.

    We used to build simple drilled out one layer boards with 2 mm pads and wide traces. The reasons were clear to get started in electronics it is about making boards that work time and again. If a student wants to build a PIC microcomputer board it gets much harder to do. All of our classwork focused first on the DC format and all you are doing is putting together simple resistor networks and explaining Kirchhoff's law and the fundamentals of power supply (linear) design. That is a semester of work right there. The next semester treads lightly on AC theory. From there you might get into timers using the old 555 standard IC but mostly from the point of making filters and oscillators. Anything further requires a college level of coursework.

    Sticking with filters, oscillators, linear power supplies, and the 555 timer the only requirements are still 2 mm pads single sided boards and 2 mm traces with maybe dropping down to slightly smaller pads and traces where an IC is located. I would use nothing but lead technology because the parts are cheap and easy to work with. Surface mount technology is all fine and good but has no place in a basic electronic forum.

    So understanding this need in a basic electronic classroom setting, the software using any cad or even PCB Express is good enough. Make sure all the pads are big enough because if you use the defaults you will set yourself up for failure. From there what you print on does not matter. I use the Puslar paper for making decals because solder-masks need precise placement. If you want to use the simple toner method all you need is a liquid barrier and the the remelted toner can give you that. It is at a specific temperature that has little forgiving tendencies. The book industry understands that fully due to their use of Hot Foil Stamping methods where the foils are simply the same plastic with a colorant in it as used in laser printer and copier toner. There is little mystery here other than understand heat, pressure, and time. Most irons at the poly setting pressed on with all your weight and sliding it over the graphic with a piece of 20 lb bond paper between the iron and the back side of the print. There are people who print onto magazine paper and photo paper to achieve similar results. The critical factor is can the substrate paper achieve the bonding temperature without wrinkling or scorching (both big no no's with thermal toner transfer). Pulsar paper not only can withstand the heat when made wet it completely removes itself cleanly. But this is just half of the process.

    The last thing I look at is how easy the liquid/chemical resist comes off. The toner is a real scrub. It takes a lot of solvent to remove it. That is why I use the photo resist method because a simple swipe of alcohol removes all of the resist with no scrubbing. If you are doing this as a hobby who cares. If you are doing this in the classroom you do not want to present a struggle to your student with solvents that are not good for them. I cannot comment on the other glued up techniques but I think it is safe to assume they also need a fair amount of solvent to remove the resist.

    So for a classroom setting I would advocate using the photo method only because the mitigation of the solvents is greatly enhanced. You may be able to get toner onto a board and successfully etch it, but it is another matter removing the resist; and you have to because the plastic that is left over you do not want to breathe those vapors at soldering iron temperatures.
     
  11. MrDEB

    MrDEB Active Member

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    toner is real easy to remove, can't believe anyone has an issue removing.
    I use lacquer thinner or acetone. The lacquer thinner, just one swipe and the ink is pretty much gone.
    With the acetone, maybe couple of swipes.
    I just dab some on a paper towel and poof the ink is gone.
    If one were to drench the board or just pour either liquid over the board I venture to say the ink would flow off the board.
     
  12. DirtyLude

    DirtyLude Well-Known Member

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    I've pretty much given up reading anything Angelgroove has to say. He makes specious conclusion, which he states as facts based on little evidence and his own theory. It's impossible to argue with as he makes no attempt to research anything he does with any source other than his own somewhat random experimentation and it just goes on and on forever.
     
  13. Angelgroove

    Angelgroove New Member

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    Acetone and Lacquer thinner are both very harmful. I know you guys work in your garages and not in your homes (at least I hope that is the case). Bottom line is Isopropal Alcohol is safe, anything else is not only flammable but is a major health concern.

    Maybe now I understand why some of you say what you say. Breathing these fumes makes you high as a kite, makes your liver suffer, and makes your outlooks dim. It is right up there with making illegal drugs. No thank you.

    I could care less you do that to yourself. I do care you advocate this in a classroom for students to do and you all should be taken to task for this solvent based dim view. I guess that is why I live in California and we have laws that govern such things.

    Go for it burn your brains out, you have only yourself to answer. Your sanity is not in check advocating using these solvents and you know that.:confused:
     
  14. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    All one has to do is step outdoors to remove the toner. And the solvents are safe stuff comparted to most of the solutions used to cold plate traces.

    3v0
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  15. Sceadwian

    Sceadwian Banned

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    So alcohol isn't flammable?
    Solvent's are perfectly safe if handle properly, and far more effective than what some consider to be more safe solvents. Short term exposure via breathing fumes or skin contact is irrelevant for the hobbyist as long as basic precautions are taken. IE use gloves and make srue you have adequate ventilation.
     
  16. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    And lets not forget the various chemicals we use to etch copper.

    3v0
     
  17. MrDEB

    MrDEB Active Member

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    DUH oh yea what he said ummm

    I myself just breath the fresh air here in Idaho, that's why I left California wear you can see your air that your breathing.
    Talk about toxic fumes
    for real -- I clean my boards in a well ventilated area. wear gloves and goggles.
    If doing this in a class room then take the chemical outside as I hope your doing when you etch. talk about fumes!!
    and yes alcohol is flammable as well as hazardous. I hope your class is wearing gloves?
    don't be making false statements about how hard it is to remove the ink toner.
    what chemicals are you using when you use photo transfer method?
    If your really worried about fumes then get a small CNC machine to etch your boards.
    OH wait the little darlings might get a scratch from the dangerous copper fillings.
    IMHO someone has been breathing California smog too much lately.
    oh yea there really is no Santa Clause or Easter bunny. The laws in California outlawed them.
     
  18. mramos1

    mramos1 Active Member

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    Like MrDEB said, acetone is all I use couple wipes and off with no work at all.

    Far as fumes. You are heating fiberglass too? And the fumes from the solder. Been doing it since 1979, lead solder too (some today). Glad I do not live in California. Seems everything when you live there will give you cancer.
     
  19. Mr RB

    Mr RB Well-Known Member

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    Anyone who's had a girlfriend/wife that worked in a nail salon knows they sit there all day every day, year after year using tons of acetone which evaporates right up their nose. And raw acetone dripping off her fingers and the customers fingers. And they can come home with some nasty headaches! ;)

    Saying that acetone is a health hazard because you might use it to wipe a PCB on rare occasions is just plain stupid.
     
  20. mneary

    mneary New Member

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    Every building must by law post a sign at all entrances stating that you may be exposed to substances "that cause cancer or reproductive harm". That is, unless you can prove otherwise.

    Nobody can prove their building is free of all substances, so the stupid signs are everywhere.

    It appears that private residences and government buildings are exempt, but I don't know why.
     
  21. MrDEB

    MrDEB Active Member

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    my next trip to S cal I expect to see at the boarder
    CAUTION, ENTERING CALIFORNIA
    MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR
    HEALTH AND POCKET BOOK
     

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