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Homemade PCBs with a Brother printer - 4mil Traces

  1. Supercap2F

    Supercap2F

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    Mar 22, 2014
    Supercap2F submitted a new Showcase Item:

    Homemade PCBs with a Brother printer - 4mil Traces

    Read more about this showcase item here...
     
  2. chopnhack

    chopnhack

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    Apr 28, 2014
    Wow Dan!
    I have had good luck with the foreign yellow paper as well as the steaming of the paper off of the pcb. The one drawback I have seen so far with steaming the paper is sometimes the increased temperature and presence of water does oxidize the copper. Mostly cosmetics as the exposed parts get etched away, but I did see on a few of mine some bleed through. 2 and 4 mil is outstanding work!! Being able to use a Brother laser is interesting as all the internet material I have read said that the Brother toner does not work well for toner transfer. You obviously are bucking the trend and with outstanding resolution. Are you using Brother toner or remanufactured ink?
     
    Supercap2F likes this.
  3. Supercap2F

    Supercap2F

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    Mar 22, 2014
    Hey John!
    When I tried steaming off the paper with other than that yellow stuff I did seam to get worse results - It probably did bleed through like yours too.

    When I do it with the yellow stuff, I didn't go all the way and steam the whole thing off. It seamed to work better if I let the paper and PCB cool down to room temperature before removing it.

    The brother printer I used did have a refiled cartridge in it (from Cartridge World), and it was fairly new. I never got to try a real brother cartridge with this method - It would be pretty interesting to see if I would get different results though.
    Thanks
    Dan
     
  4. chopnhack

    chopnhack

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    Apr 28, 2014
    My best results with non specialty paper was with thin magazine paper. I steamed it off to the point where running it under water lifted it right off! It was very cool. My only issue so far is toner density - I have not figured out how to increase it over the max resolution offered by the machine. There might be a setting that allows for more density.
     
  5. skenn_ie

    skenn_ie

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    Sep 7, 2009
    If your layout software can do it, it is well worth printing pads with holes.
     
  6. Colin Mitchell

    Colin Mitchell

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    Aug 31, 2014
    Those 4 thou tracks are totally unnecessary and you are only going to get yourself into trouble by using tracks this thin.
    Obviously you have never repaired hundreds of boards and fine tracks from a land can break at the land and it takes ages to locate the fault.
    The least you should be is expand the track where it touches the land.
     
  7. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

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    Dec 18, 2013
    Very impressive Dan, well done. I think the sand paper you used was a bit on the coarse side. You may find some fine wire wool is all you need.
    Good job.
    Adam
     
    Supercap2F likes this.
  8. Supercap2F

    Supercap2F

    550
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    Mar 22, 2014
    Yeah, I agree. I did a few without them and the drills turned out kind of bad.. I didn't put them on this board because I didn't intend to drill them out.
    Ouch, Colin. :confused: I just wanted to see small of a trace I could get in case I ever need it. I usually keep them at 20mil or larger.
    Thanks Adam! I did use steel wool but it may have been a little on the course side. :D I have to see if I can find some finer stuff...

    Dan
     
    Arouse1973 likes this.
  9. Dalton C

    Dalton C

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    Jul 1, 2016
    What software do you use to make the board design?
     
  10. Bluejets

    Bluejets

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    Oct 5, 2014
    Brother laser toner usually does not work with toner transfer as it is not re-fusable.
    i.e. it is made to melt correctly just the one time.
    I must have tried it 20 times or more with no consistant acceptable result.
    Since going over to the HP mono laser printer and even with the el-cheapo replacement toner I get a good consistent finish every time.(HP Laserjet P1102w....mono laser)
    I use the old Circuitmaker 2000 I've had for many years.
     
  11. Supercap2F

    Supercap2F

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    Mar 22, 2014
    For this one I used Diptrace (it's quick and easy), but most of the time I use KiCAD.
    Yeah, I have heard that it doesn't work but I thought I would try it anyway (since I'm not about to buy another laser printer). It may have worked because I used a non-official ink cartridge. I think that the yellow toner-transfer paper off of ebay is key to making it work this nice though.
    Dan
     
    chopnhack likes this.
  12. Bluejets

    Bluejets

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    599
    Oct 5, 2014
    mmm..ok.
    I use the blue press-n-peel normally but I'll give this a try as it is a much cheaper alternative.
    Thanks for the link.
     
  13. chopnhack

    chopnhack

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    Apr 28, 2014
    I second that - I have had mixed results with other media, including the blue stuff - the dextran coated paper seems to be the best to date for me. I think some of the success is in the fact that the paper and dextran separate when wet vs. the blue paper is more of a transfer off and sometimes small sections don't release. Just my mileage on that.
     
  14. Pieter Kralt

    Pieter Kralt

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    Oct 19, 2016
    My experiments using toner transfer did not work except from the time I could use a HP Laserjet 5. (The big and heavy office machine). All other printers I tried did not leave enough toner on the various papers I tried. The HP Laser Jet P2255dn I am using now, also does not fill the traces. The parts that should be black leaks light like a sieve. Now I am using transparants, fill the sieve holes with indian ink and UV lighting to make the etch mask on the copper. I'd like to try your method but bying a Brother printer for it is at least one step too far.

    petrus bitbyter
     
  15. alsmith

    alsmith

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    Aug 18, 2015
    This should work using an inexpensive GDI laser printer- you can usually get generic refill kits for low prices too, so I'd imagine the generic toner would do the job with one if the original toner doesn't work. I know some Brother printers are GDI but don't know if supercap2f's printer is. but Ricoh and others make them too, years ago I had a really cheap Panasonic.
     
  16. FuZZ1L0G1C

    FuZZ1L0G1C

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Nicely done - good resolution!!
    Still planning to buy transfer sheets as advertised at our local RS electronics.
    Not sure how my Samsung M/F will print them..
     
  17. dukepcb

    dukepcb

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    Jul 14, 2018
    It's cool,but why don,t let a PCB Prototype factory to make it for you?more quickly,more professional,you should focus on the PCB design and the electronic product develop.
     
  18. alsmith

    alsmith

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    Aug 18, 2015

    and why don't you stop driving your own car and let a professional do it for you? more time,more professional, you can focus on other things.
    and why don't you stop bringing up your own children and let a professional do it for you? more professional,you can focus on other things.
    etc.
    etc.
    ...........


    some people like to do things for themselves.
     
  19. Bluejets

    Bluejets

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    Oct 5, 2014
    Yellow paper stuff is crap.
    It comes rolled up and will not flatten out properly no matter what I tried.

    Advised the supplier who obviously comes from another planet as the message just never seemed to sink in.

    Savings over the use of press-n-peel just not worth the effort/ wasted time.
     
  20. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,035
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    Jan 21, 2010
    I use a carrier sheet with a hole cut in it where the image is to go and the smaller (and generally curly) piece is taped behind it. When I was doing toner transfer this worked pretty much every time. I only had failures when I put the hole in the wrong spot :)
     
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