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# Toner transfer release agents.

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#### Hero999

##### Banned
Has anyone here tried adding a release agent to plain paper to improve the toner transfer process?

If you know about relase agents then you can skip the next three paragraphs highlighted in blue; I don't want to bore you.

What's a release agent?
A release agent just makes it easier for the paper to come off leaving the toner stuck.

How does it work?
Suppose you cover the paper with water soluble PVA glue, leave it to dry and print on it; the toner isn't stuck to the paper but the PVA glue. When you iron it to the board the toner will stick to the board. Now when you soak it the PVA will dissolve, making it very easy to remove the paper.

The release agent doesn't need to be too special, it just has to be comparable with the printer, withstand ironing and dissolve in a solvent that doesn't attack the toner (preferably water).

I haven't tried thie myself but I'm willing to give it a go. I know there's been talk of waxed paper and glue stick in other threads but has anyone tried anything else?

#### whiz115

##### Member
what's wrong with the magazine paper? doesn't do the job?

#### Rolf

##### Member
what's wrong with the magazine paper? doesn't do the job?

It works, we are just trying to make it easier and faster.

#### Rolf

##### Member
I haven't tried thie myself but I'm willing to give it a go. I know there's been talk of waxed paper and glue stick in other threads but has anyone tried anything else?

When using the glue stick was difficult to get an even thin coating so I diluted it with water until I got a thin paste but looking at the results the coating must still have been of an uneven thickness.
BTW it did its job as release agent in a outstanding manner.
My next problem is how to get the paper coated with the correct and even thickness.

I have not given up my experiments with spray lacker as a release agent and alcohol as the removal solvent.

BTW, I am disappointed by the lack of ingenuity and willingness to experiment by most of the participants in the previous forum.

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#### whiz115

##### Member
When using the glue stick was difficult to get an even thin coating

glue in the printer? even if it is dried...isn't it dangerous to mess the printer?!

how many PCBs you guys do each day and magazines aren't enough for you?

#### MrDEB

##### Well-Known Member
Does the magazine paper need to be blank??

if its printed on already how can one tell how good the pattern is before applying heat?
something that I have wondered?
Have seen post about using a glossy photo paper from staples?
does it work well?
I tried using some Fuji photo paper. The transfer worked but lots of the paper wouldn't come off after soaking in water for one hour.
Am getting low on Pulsar paper (lots of trial and error but it works great.
just wish it was cheaper.

#### 3v0

##### Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
Am getting low on Pulsar paper (lots of trial and error but it works great.
just wish it was cheaper.

At $15 for 10 1½x11 sheets it works out to about 1.5 cents per square inch. The green foil add 1 cent more. #### mneary ##### New Member One web site suggested dextrin glue as a release agent. They made their own dextrin by baking corn starch at 375 F for several hours. Cheaper than Pulsar only if your time is worth 15 cents an hour and your oven is free. We used to buy a water soluble glue called mucilage. It's like the stuff on envelopes and stamps. I wonder... Last edited: #### HarveyH42 ##### Banned Isn't Mucilage made from mucus? Or was that just gross, grade school humor... I stopped experimenting with papers and irons, when I tried Pulsar paper and a cheap 4" surplus-store laminator. I don't have a lot of spare time, patience, or a huge need to save every penny. My board volume isn't that great. Etching and drilling the board isn't the fun part of the project. Anyway, I use my paper cutter, and chop the Pulsar paper into four pieces. My boards are usually small, and can usually print two or more on one piece. Not really expensive, and none of the time consuming hassles. I'm all for saving a buck, but how much do you spend on magazines anyway? I know that it took a lot of time to learn to use an iron (still can't do shirts, or crease in pants, myself). Just seems a little crazy to go through all this extra work. I've had boards printed, etched, drilled, stuffed, and powered up, in less time than it took to soak, and rub off paper fiber. Doesn't the paper tend to roll and curl when you apply a release agent. So, you will also need a way to hold it stretched flat while it drys on. Flakes of glue in the printer doesn't sound like healthy thing either. It would need to be something flexible, and won't flake or powder under heat. Not saving much, if you need a new printer after a few boards. But then again, there is always some initial cost for research and development. #### 3v0 ##### Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter The general method is to use only enough pulsar paper for the image you are printing. 1. Print image on regular paper. 2. Cut pulsar paper to cover image on regular paper. 3. Place a single piece of tape along top edge of pulsar paper to hole it in place over image. (I use blue painters tape) 4. Print the image on the above assembly. This method allows for maximum use of the paper. One sheet will make a lot of small boards. #### Rolf ##### Member Have seen post about using a glossy photo paper from staples? does it work well? Am getting low on Pulsar paper (lots of trial and error but it works great. just wish it was cheaper. Someone in Australia ( where it is difficult to get Pulsar or Press-n-Peel) wrote that he used HP photo paper (stock # Q5441A), it comes 100 sheets to a box and is 4"x6" in size. Price is around$14.00 at Office Depot (US).
What he liked was that it slid right off after soaking.

#### MrDEB

##### Well-Known Member
I thought about using tape BUT

worried that it might come up and tangle up in the printer.
if just one edge gets caught it could cause a major jamup??

#### 3v0

##### Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
worried that it might come up and tangle up in the printer.
if just one edge gets caught it could cause a major jamup??
I have been using it in an HP1020 for a couple of years with no problem.

The blue tape is low tac so it does not make a adhesive mess.

#### Rolf

##### Member
I have been using it in an HP1020 for a couple of years with no problem.

The blue tape is low tac so it does not make a adhesive mess.

That is good to know. I have been using regular clear tape and it is way to aggressive and tear my paper when I try to remove it.
Edit: I just tried regular masking tape it is a little less aggressive than the clear tape and I can remove it without any tearing of the paper.

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#### HarveyH42

##### Banned
I have been using it in an HP1020 for a couple of years with no problem.

The blue tape is low tac so it does not make a adhesive mess.

That's the same printer I use! Paid \$129 for it, free shipping about three years ago. No regrets.

#### Hero999

##### Banned
glue in the printer? even if it is dried...isn't it dangerous to mess the printer?!

how many PCBs you guys do each day and magazines aren't enough for you?
If it's dried I don't see the problem.

Anyway can we please keep to the original topic of release agents?

So far I've been pretty happy with magazine paper. I've never had any problems and think that proprietary papers such as Pulsar and Press 'n' Peel are a total waste of money. Magazine paper is free and if it can be improved at very little cost then all the better.

I don't have a problem with people using overpriced paper or even talking about it on the forum but there are plenty of threads for that.

There are lots of common chemicals that are water soluble and dry hard, here are some I can think of off the top of my head:

Wallpaper paste.
Hairspray.
Hair gel.
Soap.
Acacia gum (the sticky stuff on labels you need to lick).
Cherry tree resin.

All of the above are probably worth a try, I don't know whether they'll all stand up to the heat from the iron.

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#### MrDEB

##### Well-Known Member
Where do you get blank magazine paper?

I would wonder if the ink already on the paper would interfer with process.
As for release agents
I think Pulsar uses cornstarch I recall seeing posted
If so it dosn't seem to stiff.
Hair Spray?? that might just work
I assume we are after a release agent that will take heat and be water soluble and yet dry to a thin film and not make the paper stiff.
Wax paper = wax melts
Parchment paper = won't do a transfer?
The hair spray idea might just work. But my wife doesn't use it nor do I.
another thought is roll on deodorant??

#### MrDEB

##### Well-Known Member
Rice paper??

has it been tried?
they use it for doing pictures on cakes.

#### Hero999

##### Banned
Magazine paper actually works slightly better on the inked areas. The kind of ink the magazine printer's use is totally different to toner and seems to act like a release agent. After peeling the paper off there are white lines where the PCB traces were.

Deodorant might not be soluble enough.

I've never seen plain rice paper before, is it expensive?

#### 3v0

##### Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
I've never had any problems and think that proprietary papers such as Pulsar and Press 'n' Peel are a total waste of money.
...
I don't have a problem with people using overpriced paper or even talking about it on the forum but there are plenty of threads for that.

When don't you tell us how you really feel.

3v0

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