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Hints, Tips and Solutions (Do NOT post requests for help here) If you have any useful general hints and tips for vintage technology repair and restoration, please share them here. PLEASE DO NOT POST REQUESTS FOR HELP HERE!

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Old 5th Jul 2020, 9:43 am   #1
Colin Boggis
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Default Dalo Pen replacement

Like many others I've been disappointed with several of the current offerings as Dalo replacements. I have found most, particularly those that are actually "permanent markers" do not prevent etchant damaging (pitting) the wanted copper areas and this is a big problem on very fine tracks. Even the Cif etchant resist pen sold by CPC Farnell is not totally reliable.
I believe I have at long last found a true Dalo replacement - it's called "Pen-touch" and is a paint(not ink) pen. It's available in several widths from Amazon.
I find the fine tip best as it allows the drafting of narrow tracks and larger areas can be filled in if needed. This is a pump action pen with a plastic tip, not just hole at the end of a narrow metal tube. It doesn't run and the paint is quite dense.
Not very expensive either 4.99 including post.
See attached picture.
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Last edited by Colin Boggis; 5th Jul 2020 at 9:45 am. Reason: grammar/spelling correction
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Old 8th Jul 2020, 5:48 am   #2
Bazz4CQJ
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

Interesting; I've still got one or two Dalos in my secret place, but cannot count on them seeing me out. That particular pen appears to be widely available; I don't buy from the site you mention.

What are you using to clean it off (acetone)?

B
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Old 13th Jul 2020, 5:52 pm   #3
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

That's good to know. I have a couple of original Dalo pens that are still working but I don't know for how much longer!

John
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Old 14th Jul 2020, 8:12 pm   #4
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

I have just made a small PCB with a Sharpie pen. It was surprisingly good! I was mentally prepared to have to do it again with a Dalo pen, but no, it was OK.

The Pen-touch sounds good though, especially for fine lines so I'll be ordering one of those for the next one I make.

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Old 25th Aug 2020, 9:21 pm   #5
Oldcodger
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

Two solutions( possibly three) I've found
1- sharpie.
2- most permanant markers.
3- Nail varnish, but years ago some firms brought out a nail varnish pen ,similar to a permanant marker. I've seen them advertised on line. Might be worth a look.
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Old 30th Aug 2020, 7:14 pm   #6
Colin Boggis
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

Sorry for late reply, but for Bazz4CQJ - yes I use acetone. I've used this pen several times now and it is just as good as the Dalo was, but it is possible to get a blob if you pump it too often so needs a little care.
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Old 30th Aug 2020, 7:26 pm   #7
Philips210
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bazz4CQJ View Post
What are you using to clean it off (acetone)?

B
Hi.

I have used acetone to remove the dried ink which works well.

Years ago I tried an experiment. White spirit was tried with poor results. Next methylated spirits sort of worked but not too well. Then I put some white spirit and some meths together on a cloth. It worked quite well but the somewhat oily residue from the white spirit had to be washed off with detergent. Interesting that combining the two gave improved results.

Regards,
Symon
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Old 30th Aug 2020, 8:12 pm   #8
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

I've skipped using pen and ink now. The thing that ended up working for me is quite fiddly but works well.

1. Get Tamiya masking tape
2. Clean the board with a pan scourer and let it dry
3. cover it with the tape, overlapping slightly.
4. Draw the design on the masking tape with any old pen (bonus it doesn't get finger prints on it now)
5. carefully cut round the traces with a scalpel and peel the rest off.
6. Etch as usual.

The tape doesn't dissolve in ferric chloride and you get really sharp traces!
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Old 30th Aug 2020, 9:40 pm   #9
Bazz4CQJ
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

Hey Mr Bungle is back . The masking tape is interesting...but I still have a few genuine Dalos in my secret place.

B
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 8:45 am   #10
Philips210
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

For not too complicated artwork then that's a good way to do it Mr Bungle. I'll purchase some of that Tamiya masking tape and give it a go.
I have before tried something similar using PVC insulation tape overlayed with masking tape which seemed to be OK too but is very dependent on the quality of the tape's adhesive. Some cheap tapes don't stick too well.
Why did I use two tapes? Well I didn't trust the masking tape to be etch resistant so the PVC tape seemed better but that alone was not ideal for marking out the design as it will smear as you progress drawing the lines. A layer of masking tape was then required over the top of the PVC. I used a fine tip standard Bic pen for marking out the design.

Regards,
Symon
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Old 5th Sep 2020, 7:23 pm   #11
Colin Boggis
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

Having sung the praises of the "Pen-Touch" I now have some reservation! Just nearly finished a layout when the whole "nib" fell out dumping paint all over the place. Had to clean off much of my work & start again with pen put back together. Finished layout OK but still concerned about that incident - I'll contact the supplier to see what they think ( if they care that is!). I'll update you all in due course.
The Tamiya tape idea is interesting - might give it a try.
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Old 7th Sep 2020, 7:50 pm   #12
Colin Boggis
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

Just for the record - when I told the supplier about the pen falling apart, they instantly apoligised & sent a replacement. So they do care! Good service and hopefully the failure was a one-off.
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Old 8th Oct 2020, 6:23 pm   #13
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

Colin, Just about to buy one of these - are you still happy with it? Is it acrylic paint?

John
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 5:31 pm   #14
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

I've just spent the afternoon making a PCB using a Sharpie as an etch resist. Second time I've used one and once again it worked as well as the old Dalo pens.

It's actually a little bit less messy in some ways. With a Dalo pen, if you pressed a bit too heavily, you could get a flood of ink all over your PCB. That's happened to me!

So, it's another YES from me for Sharpies!

John
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 11:23 pm   #15
Philips210
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

Hi.

I've found the Sharpie marker pens to be good too but stopped using them after feeling light-headed and unsteady. I was careful to avoid inhaling the fumes as well. Even out in the open the smell can be quite potent. I never experienced this with the old Dalo pens or the Rotring marker pens. There seems to be something in those Sharpie pens that disagrees with me so reluctantly won't be using them again.

Regards,
Symon
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Old 22nd Feb 2021, 8:04 am   #16
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

Thanks. I'll bear that in mind although I have to say I didn't notice that when I was using it.

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Old 23rd Feb 2021, 9:14 am   #17
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philips210 View Post
Hi.

I've found the Sharpie marker pens to be good too but stopped using them after feeling light-headed and unsteady. I was careful to avoid inhaling the fumes as well. Even out in the open the smell can be quite potent. I never experienced this with the old Dalo pens or the Rotring marker pens. There seems to be something in those Sharpie pens that disagrees with me so reluctantly won't be using them again.

Regards,
Symon
You might like to take a look at Edding 8404 pens. They are excellent for laying down resist for fine, closely packed tracks. They draw easily between DIL pins, SOIC pins are easy; I have even on occasion used them to draw TSSOP pins (you need a steady hand for this !). They don't smell and have never caused me any health problems.

A few tips:
- although the 8404 resist appears to dry near-instantaneously then is dry enough to sustain finger pressure as you lay down other tracks - in fact they take some hours to cure fully. Best left overnight in a warm place. If you don't do this the resist will gradually lift off during etching and the copper will appear rough and pockmarked
- one pen is enough to do eg. a Eurocard full of chips. However as the pen becomes used up the flow rate decreases until you have to wait a few minutes for the nib to fully re-ink. Buy yourself two pens and swap them periodically to keep the ink flowing, or be prepared for frequent tea breaks
- storing them nib down for some hours before you start using them also helps
- don't have your etchant at too high a temperature as this may distort the resist. I never go above 'just too hot to touch'

For large copper areas I swear by parcel tape and Dalo 33 pens.
Cheers, Marty
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Old 23rd Feb 2021, 12:55 pm   #18
Bazz4CQJ
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

These pens made by Mitsubishi are very good https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Uni-Super...0AAOSwSCZbNM21 and were available in Wilko. Nice fine point and I like them very much just as general permanent markers, though my heart belongs to Dalo for PCB's (still got some) .

B
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Old 23rd Feb 2021, 5:08 pm   #19
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

I just had a rummage and dug out my old Dalo pen. It must be at least 25 years old and I think I haven't used it since I made a PCB for my very first PIC programmer. However, I removed the end cap and tried it and it still works! It always gave really good edge definition when etching PCBs. A tough act to follow I think...
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Old 23rd Feb 2021, 9:52 pm   #20
Philips210
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Default Re: Dalo Pen replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by marty_ell View Post
You might like to take a look at Edding 8404 pens.
Cheers, Marty
Hi Marty.

Thanks, I will purchase one and give it a try.

My late father obtained a number of the Japanese made Royal Sovereign Magic Marker pens which have a tip at each end (fine and coarse) They were excellent quality pens which I used for marking out sheet metal etc. I wonder if the composition of those pens would be suitable as an etch resist. I still have a few lying around so I'll do a few tests to check suitability.

Regards,
Symon
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