PCB using toner transfer method: video and comparison

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
Ease      
Repeatable
Accuracy
Fast  
Cheap    
Total

[EDIT 2009-09-10] : here are some photos of the glossy paper I use, hoping it’ll help choose the correct type.

  1. Marco’s avatar

    This pcb-making method looks really great, what kind of material do you use for the board? It looks like copper, but I can’t really believe it is.
    Would this process also work with inkjet toner? (It’s different from laser printer toner, but who knows)

    Reply

  2. tomymanAudio’s avatar

    Nice, fast and cheap tehnic!
    I am using 200g paper same results!

    Reply

  3. vick’s avatar

    What else can I use to remove the paper residue ?

    Thanks

    Reply

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