Toner Transfer PCB creation - Attempt 2

by Ivan Hamilton 8/22/2008 6:24:00 PM

In my previous attempt, removing the paper after ironing was an issue. The Inkjet Photo paper I used had a thin, yet tough, film on the glossy side that stuck between tracks. Removing it was a slow process as any rough attempt would lift the toner track. Also, the paper would bubble and lift when dropped in the water... taking the toner with it. From the web, I knew the results depended largely on the paper, with everyone having their favourite paper. What you need is something smooth (glossy) to transfer a clear image, and easily removed with water.

An idea I had seen was using pages from colour magazines or brochures. The paper is glossy and easily breaks down in water. I looked thru my bin for some junk mail and found a Kmart catalogue: smooth & glossy - yup, disintegrates in water - have you seen these after rain?

I also filled the unused area of my PCB. This will give extra toner to hold the paper down, and also gives the etchant less work to do.

I'm pleased with the result...

The result

The shadow you can see was from my first attempt. This was using the inkjet paper, but chunks of toner pulled up when getting the last of the paper up. I removed it was acetone, but the outline remained. The dark spot at the top right is from lighting, and not really visible (except in this photo).

The outcome was: two bridges & 1 broken track. The bridges were easily fixed with a knife, and the break was repair with some light wire.

The bridges may have been from the toner transfer (I'll look closer next time), and the broken track I think is where I (once again) didn't apply enough pressure near an edge.

Now I'm going to try drilling (not looking foward to that job) and soldering it together.

If I can iron out the bugs from this PCB creation method, it'll open new doors into custom circuit creation. 

We live and learn.

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Name of author Ivan Hamilton
"My inner nerd can beat up your inner nerd."

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