# Cheap Hot Laminator

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#### HarveyH42

##### Banned
Saw this earlier, and figured I should share.

- Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices

Not sure if it will work as-is for toner transfer, but might be modified. For under $30, might be worth a shot for some tired of ironing, and$70 is a little steep.

Specs say 125 degrees F., 15 inches/minute, doesn't seem hot enough. Think toner was something like 180 degrees...

#### HarveyH42

##### Banned
Mines a 4" GBC, haven't used an iron in 3 years. Don't see the low price laminators much, figured I'd put it up. Ironing never gave consistent results, and seemed like a lot of work and wishing. This one might not be great for toner, but might just need a tweak.

#### microtexan

##### New Member
laminator

I tried the HF laminator and it would not handle a PCB (too thick)

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#### HarveyH42

##### Banned
I tried the HF laminator and it would not handle a PCB (too thick)
How thick are your boards? I use some really thin stuff, 12" x 12" Scissor Cut Copper Clad-The Electronic Goldmine , but I also use a different laminator. Goldmine use have a lot of this stuff, 6 x 12 for $2.00, sometimes less on sale. Looks like that well is drying up... Got a good supply of single and double sided though. Don't remember where I saw it, but one some store site they had a 'coming soon' for some flexible PCB material, I want to try. Will post a link if I find it again. I want to try running some straight through the laser printer, no magazine paper, just straight print. Haven't tried anything else in my laminator, that thin board is much easier to work with, and I don't use large or heavy parts. #### 3v0 ##### Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter I have a 4" HF laminator from about 1 year ago. It will take a thicker PCB then my GBC's but does not get hot enough. The Pulsar site says this. NEW! FLEXIBLE COPPER LAMINATE! • New for late '09 • .005" Thicknes • Single & Double-Sided • Packaged as one sheet • 8" wide by 20" long • Single-Sided, and • Double-Sided • 1/2oz Copper • Traces down to .005" Last edited: #### mneary ##### New Member I have the HF #92499 laminator (identical picture). Unless that's a different unit under the same stock number the description is all wrong. (I do make boards with it and I am pretty happy with it.) It certainly will not handle 6mm material thickness. The cover says .024" max. I've forced 1.5mm (.062") PCB through it with no apparent damage. It's much happier with the thinner "scissor cut" stock. It's not 125F. Legend on the cover says 300F. It takes me 5 to 8 passes to get good transfer, mostly getting the PCB heated I suppose. I haven't found a way to 'adjust' the temperature. The green light comes on in 7 to 8 minutes, but as you would suspect it's not hot enough to make a PCB for about half an hour. #### HarveyH42 ##### Banned I have a 4" HF laminator from about 1 year ago. It will take a thicker PCB then my GBC's but does not get hot enough. The Pulsar site says this. Thanks for the link, didn't think of Pulsar yesterday, tried most of my other bookmarks. Didn't think 125 F was hot enough, but still there may be a chance of modifying it. I'm happy with what I'm using, might get a larger one someday, but don't make large boards right now, and really don't see it anytime soon. Won't really need the laminator much, if that flexible material runs straight through the printer. Stuff sounds nice, and might not even need a drill, just a hammer and needle punch. #### 3v0 ##### Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter You will let us know how the flexible PCB works. I (barely) recall seeing a system where you ran a thin PCB through the printer then laminated it to a fiberglass board prior to drilling. So what you want to do could/should work. 3v0 #### jameseck ##### New Member Texet LMA4MKII I'm new to home PCB's and I just wanted to share my success so far with the above laminator. I bought it here in the UK for £11 new and it works pretty well. I've been able to make several boards (including a 44-pin TQFP chip) using the toner transfer method onto magazine paper. The laminator will accept standard thickness copper-clad boards (even double-sided boards) and has required no modifications at all. I'm using a cheap Samsung laser printer, so maybe the toner melts at a lower temp than other printers. It really couldn't be easier, preheat the board with 5-6 passes and then 5-6 passes with the magazine paper and the result is a perfect transfer onto the board. It's much easier than using a clothes iron. Now I just need to get better at designing my boards in Eagle and the sky's the limit. #### HarveyH42 ##### Banned I didn't have much luck with the clothes iron, just a few boards that weren't pretty, but usable. Finding just the right paper, the right heat setting, right amount of pressure, and how long to iron, are a lot of variables to deal with. Some people swear by the magazine paper and iron, guess it gets easier once you find the magic combination. I found Pulsar paper online, ordered a pack. Later the same day, found an inexpensive 4" laminator (about$20), figured the paper was a little expensive to experiment on with clothes iron, it was worth a shot. Both worked out with no problems, except a little clumsy handling the copper. The paper releases quick and easy,no soaking for 20 minutes, no scrubbing off pulp, board is ready to etch in just a few seconds after the laminator. I only use 2 passes on my boards, one per side.

Some people don't mind doing the extra work, for a board that only costs a few pennies to produce. I prefer to just get the thing done quickly and painlessly. If I could find a cheap CNC drilling machine... Drill press isn't too bad, but after 30-40 holes, I'm wanting an easier solution. Just plain lazy I suppose, but would much rather be soldering.

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