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Printer for transparencies. HP any good?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Colin Stamp, Oct 14, 2007.

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  1. Colin Stamp

    Colin Stamp Guest

    Hi all,

    Apologies if this is a bit off-topic...

    Every now and then, I find I need a transparency printed, either for a
    PCB layout or an illuminated front-panel design. Years ago, I used to
    use an Epson printer, which was great, but it died. I really needed an
    ethernet all-in-one printer, so I replaced it with a Brother DCP310CN.
    For normal printing it's fine, but for transparencies it's crap. The
    black is nowhere-near opaque and if you print black next to colour, it
    all slowly splurges together over the course of a month or so.

    Epson don't seem to do Ethernet all-in-ones, but HP have a good range.
    Has anyone here tried doing transparencies on a recent HP printer?
    does it have a good opaque black? do adjacent colours stay properly

    If HP aren't any good, can anyone recommend a printer that is?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    Just tried out my new hp P2015dn... not very good :-(

    ...Jim Thompson
  3. If you only require occasional transparencies, try your local print
    shop. I do so little paper printing now ,the cartridge has usually
    dried up. I just load a memstick, and go to the local internet caff.
    I send invoices as pdf files, and let the customer print them !

  4. Barry Lennox

    Barry Lennox Guest

    I still keep an old Laserjet IIIp for this purpose and printing onto
    glossy inkjet paper for PCB transfer, it works better than many modern
    ones, and seems utterly indestructable.
  5. Colin Stamp

    Colin Stamp Guest

    I'm still looking, but I haven't found any print shops yet that can
    make a decent job. They all use lasers and the results are always
    about as bad as the laser I can use at work. I'm sure I remember my
    old Epson Inkjet working no-end better.


  6. Colin Stamp

    Colin Stamp Guest

    I've never had much luck with lasers. Maybe it's just the modern ones.
    They seem about passable for PCB layouts, but my current masterpiece
    needs a black-on-white, back-illuminated front panel. All the lasers
    I've tried make it look really patchy :eek:(


  7. Colin Stamp

    Colin Stamp Guest

    That makes sense. I've never found a laser that makes a really good
    job of transparencies. None of them seem to be able to manage large
    black areas. It seems to be down to how fast they can replenish the
    drum with toner after a huge wodge of it has ended up on the paper. I
    was sort-of expecting my ideal printer to turn out to be an inkjet.


  8. The only real good HP I used for this purpose was an HP LaserJet 5000. A
    heavy duty office machine too expensive for soho. This days I use a old
    LaserJet 4Si but I need to stack two sheets and even then I cannot expose it
    too long.

    petrus bitbyter
  9. Guest

    Try diddling with the control panel for the printer. There are often
    toner-saving modes enabled.
    For example my ancient HP 5L has economode to save toner and a ret
    option I can set to dark.
    I can get quite nice large black areas.
    Best advice was from the guy saying to offload the work to a
    commercial printer. That's the ticket.
  10. Maybe a silk screening firm could help. When I was still in the UK, my
    local silkscreen firm used to print on dummy drinks cans, for
    photoshoots. I have no idea how they did it.

  11. The trick for PCB work is to use tracing paper - this has much better toner adhesion and 'blackness'
    than transparencies. You need to use fairly thick stuff (90 GSM or more) to prevent crinkling in the
  12. Ecnerwal

    Ecnerwal Guest

    You want a shop that does printing with an offset press, and you want
    the output done on the photoplotter they use for preparing the artwork
    for the plates - if they have direct digital presses, you might be out
    of luck. If you don't ask for the right thing, you'll also be out of

    If they are photo-exposing plates, they will have something that will
    make good dense blacks and sharp lines with clear clear parts - and that
    is the device you want used for making your transparencies. The one
    which I used to access was not (so far as I know) a "classic Gerber", it
    was more printshop oriented with a PostScript interface - but it exposed
    a photosensitive film with a light beam, and resulted in crisp artwork,
    no toner involved.
  13. Winfield

    Winfield Guest

    I have an HP LaserJet 5000, you say it's good for making
    big black areas on transparencies? I've gotta try that.
  14. I set the toner to maximal black and used tracing paper at the time. A kind
    of paper that can stand the heat of laser printers (and copiers). Got no
    even a single pinhole on a 1" square black. Using the same paper in the
    LaserJet 4Si does not work even when I used some "blackout" spray (A type of
    lacquer meant to equalize the toner.) Tried every laser printer within reach
    ever since but so far no luck.

    petrus bitbyter
  15. Leon

    Leon Guest

    I get excellent PCB transparencies with an HP DeskJet 5940 printer
    (about £60) and Jetstar Premium film from Mega Electronics. I often
    use 10 mil tracks, and can go down to 8 mils if necessary.

  16. Colin Stamp

    Colin Stamp Guest

    Yep. I was thinking along the lines of photoplotting, but I haven't
    found any local firms yet. I guess I need to look harder. The
    particular job I need to do at the moment is a front panel that's
    practically all black and illuminated from the back. I reckon a
    photoplot would work nicely for that.


  17. Colin Stamp

    Colin Stamp Guest

    I've diddled endlessly with the one at work, to no avail :eek:(
    Yep. Someone round here must be able to do it for me. I'll find them


  18. Colin Stamp

    Colin Stamp Guest

    Hmmm, I haven't tried tracing paper yet. Lately, because of the duff
    inkjet, I've been using a cheap Samsung laser printer on
    transparencies. I've had to increase my track width from 12mil to
    20mil to avoid them occasionally petering out.

    I'll have to give it a go...


  19. john jardine

    john jardine Guest

  20. Garamond

    Garamond Guest

    Colin Stamp:
    I'm using a HP LJ2100 and this kind of film.[headerdisplay]&cart=11913717782349861

    OH-films is no good for that kind of work. The best is to have a
    screenprinter make the film for you.
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