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Toner Transfer PCB Prototyping

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by [email protected], Aug 3, 2006.

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  1. Guest

    Hello all,

    I was just wondering if any of the guys in the UK knew of any good
    paper to use in the toner transfer method of PCB prototyping.

    So far I have tried the Staples paper recommended on a website
    describing this method, but it didn't work. I assume the composition
    of the UK version is different to that of the US version. I have also
    used Tesco own brand matt paper, It worked quite well, but the toner
    didn't adhear too well to the board.

    I know about the blue transfer paper you can buy, but I think it is
    far too expensive if the same sort of quality may be attained using a
    good brand of paper.


  2. If you have it there, the brand (JetPrintPhoto - Everyday) for inkjet
    printers works well for me. You just need to let it soak a good time in the
    water to get it to release well. Use the cotton setting on your iron and
    solid pressure to the board. I find it useful to use a wood dowel once the
    board is hot to roll over the paper with hard pressure to ensure all the
    pattern in smooth to the board.
  3. VER

    VER Guest

    Do you pre-heat the board before applying the mask?
  4. Guest

    Yes, I do pre-heat the board. Actually, that does bring me to another
    question, surely the pre-heating would not be ideal with a double
    sided board because of the precision needed in positioning the second


  5. H

    H Guest

    I have tried a wide range of paper. You are mainly looking for two
    properties: It must have a very smooth surface, and it must dissolve
    well in water.

    My best paper so far is simply a catalog from these guys: The paper is too thin to get safely through the
    printer, but I simply tape it to a sheet of normal printer paper.

    You won't find this company in the UK, but start trying different
    stuff. It does not matter if it is printed, in fact, it may be an
    advantage, as the surface may be even smoother.
  6. I don't preheat the board. I position the paper by cutting 2 sides of the
    print and aligning it the the board edge for double side. hold the pattern
    to a strong light so you can see when the pads match up, then while holding
    them together tightly - trim at least one end or best 2 edges of the pattern
    so when you lay them on the board you can match the edges up with the edge
    of the board. I use a solid wood surface to lay board on and heat it with
    iron. let the board get heated well and the pattern will stick to it.
    While the board is very hot, I then lay a wood dowel on the pattern and
    press roll it across the pattern to ensure it all contacts well. That is
    the one critical step is enough heat and solid contact to the copper. Jtt
  7. Rob,

    I experimented with several types of paper as well but to find out that the
    printer is very important. With my Laserjet 4Si I got no good coverage
    regargless what paper I used. When I had - halas for a short time - access
    to a Laserjet 5 the cheapest local available glossy jetprinter photopaper
    (no brand) worked perfectly. What printer are you using?

    petrsu bitbyter
  8. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    I've heard that if you can get a good solid black from an inkjet, that
    you could print the artwork and Xerox it. I've heard that their toner
    is very reliable, albeit you still have the paper issue.

    Good Luck!
  9. ehsjr

    ehsjr Guest

    The Staples paper (in the US) works great for me,
    but you have to soak it a long time before removing
    it from the copper. I've found the following:
    * the copper must be clean, clean, clean!
    use Copper cleaner
    * after cleaning, wash it with brillo in circular strokes
    or steel wool it, then wash.
    * dry well, then immediately apply the artwork (no tarnishing)
    * iron with heavy pressure for 5 minutes
    * soak the completed copper/paper "sandwitch" a long time -
    at least 1/2 hour.

    I'd bet if you do the above, and if your laser printer covers
    well, you'll get good results. I can't believe the Staples
    paper would be different US vs UK. If you are already following
    the procedure, I'd suspect the printer before the paper.

  10. Yes, absolutely. Copper-Brite does a good job with a green kitchen

    No, PLEASE. The copper cleaner with a water wash is perfect. Anything else
    will contaminate the surface.

    It helps to ever so slightly warm the copper in a toaster oven set on low
    for a couple of minutes.
    .... on the highest setting of the iron.
    Or soak in really hot water for about five minutes, or as long as it takes
    for your hands to be able to soak in the water without burning.

  11. ehsjr

    ehsjr Guest

    That might eliminate the steel wool step - great!
    Yes PLEASE - at least for me. Works great and does not
    contaminate. The brillo soap is washed off. But if the
    kitchen potscrubber works in place of the steel wool,
    then the brillo/steel wool step is not needed at all.

    Never thought of that - thanks! Sounds good.

    Yes! I should have said that.
    I've not had success with that. I soak it in water that
    is too hot to leave your hands in, but maybe it's not
    hot enough? I believe the water is 140 F - at least that's
    what I think the water heater produces. Maybe I need

    In any event, I've got to try the potscrubber. It
    will be nice to save a step. On the toaster oven -
    when you take the blank out, is it too hot to handle,
    or just a little bit less hot?

    Thanks, Ed
  12. It will be just a little above the temperature you could achieve by putting
    the board outside in the shade on a really hot summer's day. All you are
    trying to achieve is to (a) be sure it is bone dry and (b) give the toner
    plastic just a little head start at gripping the surface of the copper.

  13. James Waldby

    James Waldby Guest


    I use blue Press-n-Peel rather than paper, not having
    had particularly good luck with paper, but you still might
    find some of the techniques at
    of interest, eg, wrapping the board and film in aluminum
    foil before ironing.
  14. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    I don't know what "blue Press-n-Peel" is, but I assume it's
    something that you stick to the copper and peel the backing.

    How do you get the pattern onto it?

  15. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Jim, don't top-post. It disturbes the natural flow of the thread. Thanks.

    Can that be done double-sided, with any kind of reasonable registry?

  16. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    I don't know what "blue Press-n-Peel" is, but I assume
    Polyplastic with a powder coating.
    It's easier to sepatate from the board than is paper.
    About $2 a sheet.
    Same as with clay-coated paper.
  17. James Waldby

    James Waldby Guest

    As JeffM implied, laser-print the traces onto the Press-n-Peel,
    then ironing transfer step. The first few photos at my link
    above show how I use a small piece of Press-n-Peel rather than
    printing the whole sheet at a time, so cost per circuit is low.
    Also see manufacturer's site
  18. joseph2k

    joseph2k Guest

    My experience is that it is much more difficult. When the completed pattern
    is done on the first side, drill the through holes and use them as
    alignment guides. Also outline marks have been useful. Nor does this give
    you through hole plating.
  19. Ken Muldrew

    Ken Muldrew Guest

    What kind of tape do you use?

    Ken Muldrew

    (remove all letters after y in the alphabet)
  20. James Waldby

    James Waldby Guest

    Usually, ordinary "invisible" cellotape, like Scotch Magic.
    I only tape across the leading edge - not along the sides
    or trailing edge. It's visible in the top right corner of .

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