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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 19th May 2019, 9:39 am   #1
Aerodyne
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Default PCB production using toner transfer

I've been experimenting with hot transfer of toner onto copper laminate for PCB use and had only moderate success with the method suggested by some, that being the use of magazine paper. I found it messy and somewhat unreliable in practice.

Someone on You Tube advocated the use of 'transfer' paper, the stuff used by laminated sign makers as a peelable backing for plastics transfers. A search on Ebay didn't find that exact product but it produced packets of 'heat transfer toner paper', A4 size. This material is waxy on one side but takes laser print very well. As a bonus, the iron-on result is very good and if done with care, it can be used to make front panels and possibly other lettering on chassis.

I've created a quick video showing my results:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N3Z...ature=youtu.be

Search Ebay under 'heat transfer toner paper' and quite a few suppliers appear. As I was in no rush at the time, I sent to China (far cheaper than UK!).

Tony
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Old 19th May 2019, 7:13 pm   #2
60 oldjohn
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Default Re: PCB production using toner transfer

Hi Tony, I have been using this method for two or three years, still experimenting, try to get perfection. Like you I had limited success with magazine covers, one month perfect next month same magazine hopeless. Tried the transfer paper from China, unfortunately it often got screwed up in the printer. My Son finally brought the backing paper from a firm that makes laminated signs, they have to pay to dispose of the stuff. At first it seemed too waxy to get the toner to stick, after some thought I decided to wipe it on some old carpet to remove some of the wax or is it silicone? This worked well. I had been using an old electric iron for the heat, the modern steam irons have a lot of holes in the sole so not really suitable for this job. Then I spotted the Heated Book press pictured at a car boot sale for 20. It had some marks in the plates, I guess it had been used for die cutting leather. I finally achieved perfection with it using some thick strong card to back the PCB to even up the pressure. The card I used was out of a printing by numbers set that was being thrown out.
I like the toner idea for making front panels, something else for me to experiment with, Maybe spray it over with lacquer if it does not dissolve the toner. Thank You for the tip Tony.


John.
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Last edited by 60 oldjohn; 19th May 2019 at 7:24 pm.
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Old 20th May 2019, 4:52 pm   #3
Aerodyne
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Default Re: PCB production using toner transfer

Hi John

The backing paper method was used in a You Tube PCB video, so I think you are on to a winner with it. I just hope the old carpet you wiped it with wasn't in your living room - especially if it is silicone! Tread with care, perhaps? Only joking.
I don't know if lacquer would dissolve toner. It is remarkably hard to shift once it has been ironed on, but I guess lacquer spray might act as a solvent. In which case an alternative would be a covering plate of clear Perspex.

Thanks for your interest and contribution. Always good to hear from you.

Tony
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Old 20th May 2019, 9:26 pm   #4
Electronpusher0
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Default Re: PCB production using toner transfer

I used the toner transfer method to make a couple of pcbs, I found the magazine method worked but not ironing on, I used a laminator designed for laminating paper in plastic. I ran the pcb and printed magazine page through it several times on the slowest / hottest setting. The paper then soaked off in water with a drop of washing up liquid with some gentle rubbing.

Peter
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Old 20th May 2019, 10:56 pm   #5
60 oldjohn
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Default Re: PCB production using toner transfer

There was a guy on You Tube using Toner but no heat. If I remember correctly he used diluted acetone, its a couple of years since I saw it. Tony, The carpet was an offcut left from when we had a new carpet fitted, I have the same on my workbench.






John.
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Old 21st May 2019, 4:40 pm   #6
Aerodyne
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Default Re: PCB production using toner transfer

I need to draw the attention of forum members to an omission in the video (link on the top entry). I suggest the use of plumber's flux when protecting copper tracks from corrosion. Nothing wrong there. However what I omitted to mention was the need to remove all traces of flux after the board is completed. Plumber's flux is corrosive. This was pointed out to me by my good friend David but I was rather ashamed to admit that I knew it! My only defence is that the video was rushed, though I know that is really no defence at all. There is also a further complication if flux is left on the PCB because is is slightly conductive, so if you have adjacent tracks carrying differing voltages, arcing can occur.
So, to sum up, remove the flux either by washing with hot water and a good washing up liquid or similar product, or use a solvent such as Acetone.

Tony
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Old 21st May 2019, 4:47 pm   #7
Aerodyne
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Default Re: PCB production using toner transfer

As I've said, there are quite a few combinations of method that can be used to create PCBs. The advantage of the paper I use is that very little needs to be cleaned off afterward and as it is cheap enough to buy (from China) it seems a worthwhile thing to use.

Peter, I can see how a laminator would work. I have one so may give it a try myself.

John, I think I've seen that video. I think it might be a bit hit and miss, though. Like I say, each to his of her own. Whatever works for you is the obvious method you should use, but it is always good to hear about alternatives.

Tony
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Old 21st May 2019, 8:13 pm   #8
60 oldjohn
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Default Re: PCB production using toner transfer

Tony, I meant to pick up on the flux, I believe you missed a trick. If you polish the tracks with very fine wet & dry Paper before you smother the tracks and possibly the board with flux then get a tiny blob of solder on your iron you should be able to very quickly wipe the solder on the tracks to tin them, its very easy and quick. Just make sure there is plenty of flux, dab any excess solder off with flux soaked de soldering braid. Then clean off all traces of flux "even more important if it is plumbers flux" Sorry if its like teaching grandmother to suck eggs.


John.

Last edited by 60 oldjohn; 21st May 2019 at 8:18 pm.
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Old 21st May 2019, 9:00 pm   #9
Sideband
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Default Re: PCB production using toner transfer

Printing directly onto a metal surface is very interesting...possibly not as good as proper screen printing but well worth a try....I am trying to restore a 1973 Akai amplifier front panel since the original screen printing is very badly worn. I have the correct font and was trying the transfer method using transfer paper. It works but doesn't look very professional. Direct printing as shown in your video is well worth consideration....all I need now is a laser printer.....!
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Old 22nd May 2019, 9:36 am   #10
lesmw0sec
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Default Re: PCB production using toner transfer

I have never had any success with magazine paper, but got some HP plain glossy printer paper (NOT the photo stuff) which works very well and since it is designed to fit a printer, no screw-ups!
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Old Yesterday, 10:17 pm   #11
M3VUV51
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Default Re: PCB production using toner transfer

ive always used cheap photo paper no probs,just rub over with p1000 wet and dry on the pcb and wipe with acetone before ironing,always works for me.
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