Having recently tested a lot this method, I’ve finally determine my "easy and cheap" way to build PCB using toner transfer method. I tried a lot of things, different papers. I’ve also tested the professional photoengraving method, this one can be considered for the most accurate (but certainly not the cheapest).
So, what’s the recipe ? This is closed to the last one, but now way faster, since only ~ 10 minutes are needed. Main difference is you don’t have to be careful while peel off the paper, toner really sticks firmly, there’s no risk damaging the tracks.
- I use glossy photo paper for laser printer (135g/m2)
- wash your PCB board with soap, then with window cleaner (or detergent with alcohol).
- sandpaper your board with ultra thin paper (600, one used for body car)
- wash again the board with soap, then with window cleaner. It must absolutely be dry.
- preheat the board,
- place the paper on the board. Be careful, it’ll instantly stick to the board.
- iron the paper., first smoothly to help paper to sitck firmly, then with a lot of pressure (~1min)
- continue with the iron tip, and redraw all the circuit (black tracks will appear through the paper), for ~4/5min.
- Ironing time: ~4/5min
- then place the board on hot water, no soap. Wait for ~ 3/4 minutes, watching the paper beeing soaked.
- peel-off the paper. Most can easily be removed, only the last layer, where the toner sticks, will mostly remain on the board.
- peel-off again the paper with a toothbrush. Don’t hesitate, it won’t damage your PCB.
- once done, dry the board. Check if you’ve missed some paper.
- clean the board with window cleaner. While it won’t remove toner, it’ll help to remove paper residue and get an accurate board.
- you’re done. You’ll then need to etch the board. Once done, remove the toner using acetone (nail polish remover works well)
This video shows the whole recipe:
Now, as a conclusion, here’s a comparison of different PCB creation techniques:
|Photoengraving||Toner transfer with transparency||Toner transfer with photo inkjet paper||Toner transfer with photo laser paper|
[EDIT 2009-09-10] : here are some photos of the glossy paper I use, hoping it’ll help choose the correct type.