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Author Topic: Best method of making PCB .. Toner tarnsfer or Photoresist or what .. help?  (Read 23305 times)
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yahoo
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« Reply #50 on: April 17, 2008, 08:45:59 08:45 »

I know that using laminators is a very good way to transfer the toner. Which one to buy? Most of them they have temperature range   100-160°C and I think it's ok but I'm worry about the max. material thickness which is 10mil and if the pcb is 1mm and more it might not pass with the toner paper.
Can you recommend me a good brand and model? I want to try this. Thank you in advance!
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kamegang
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« Reply #51 on: April 17, 2008, 10:53:44 10:53 »

The reality is that the method is quite old. In the case of INK JET modified to print with indelible ink is already something old, and the results are not very good. If you want to see an example of modification here you leave a link. To my mind the best away remains the silk.
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« Reply #52 on: April 17, 2008, 12:47:52 12:47 »

Yahoo!
I am using chinese made laminator SIGMA EL142.
I think any model of laminator will be good.
The main is temperature, and I think a temperature in any model is approximately equal.
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yahoo
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« Reply #53 on: April 17, 2008, 07:32:34 19:32 »

Yahoo!
I am using chinese made laminator SIGMA EL142.
I think any model of laminator will be good.
The main is temperature, and I think a temperature in any model is approximately equal.

I'm worry that the pcb with thickness of 1mm cannot pass through the laminator because I saw that most of the models can handle only 10mil max material thickness. Is that true?
I need a laminator for max 2mm copper pcb + PnP blue sheet
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pl4tonas
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« Reply #54 on: April 18, 2008, 04:04:04 16:04 »

Through a laminator you can pass only the thin type of PCB, the 0,032" thickness.  It has about half the thickness of the standard PCB.

Also have in mind that, you need to pass the PCB about 10 times through the laminator in order to have good results.  This is performed with the heat setting to maximum.  A laminator does not have the heating power of an Iron but with around 10 passes you get much better results. 
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persiangulf
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« Reply #55 on: April 18, 2008, 10:12:52 22:12 »

Using laminators will give people mixed results and most laminators are not designed to feed a typical PCB due to thickness, this results in your lamintor loosing its pressing pressure overtime in the centre depending on how you insert your board. Also, the temperature is low on most laminators, but since you guys are into electronics, its easy to mod a laminator to operate at higher temperatures, but beware you do not melt the housing.

Laminators are not reliable in the sense that you might have to buy a few to find the right one, and even then, you risk damaging it by continuously feeding over-thick material through.

Using the Iron is the riskiest and most unreliable method regardless of which paper and how you use it, unless your end board is small and single sided.

The most common problems with toner transfer is the printer. Today, most new printers are designed to deposit as little as possible toner on paper, and most toners today are designed to provide the same amount of colour saturation with far less toner present on paper, meaning, its good if you want more pages per cartridge, but bad news if you want more toner on each page for transfer purposes. I have not come across any printer allowing you to choose how much toner you want used, although all have the typical economy, normal and best modes. The problem is, the best modes today give out as much toner as the economy mode 10 years ago.

This is due to better toners being produced and newer laser technology allowing the same print with less toner. You guys also have to note, there are different types of toners and some melt at different temperatures, although not wide on a spectrum, but enough to make some toner transfers successful whilst others fail.

I remember once, the office printer/copier was ordered by the boss to have its cartridges refilled with non-brand toner rather than replacing the cartridge with the same brand toner to save money, which resulted in disaster. The refill toner was melting far too easy and resulted in the pages full of smudges (i say smudge, but its different to that of inkjet...... imagine a stamp being pressed onto a piece of paper extra hard, everything gets bolder) where one letter was joined to the next, a's looked like fat b's etc. Anyway, the printer/copier was also ruined and needed a service.

Also, what happens, is some people find, this paper works for them, or that laminator works for them, then they tell others, forgetting that that particular laminator, and paper only works with a sufficient amount of toner present on the paper to begin with.

Laminator/Iron Method:

For newer models of laser printers, the thinnest possible paper should be used that has a glossy feel, however, you have to watch out you don't use too a thin of a paper otherwise it will jam in your printer as it tears during feed in. For single sided, cut out the circuit from the paper using scissor or others, and place on the ccb (copper clad board/pcb) and feed through your laminator. You can use normal photo/glossy paper, but will not work on most 2005> printers.

If your laminator has a habit to disposition your paper circuit during feed in, then simply use a small strip of masking tape attached on two opposite sides of the board fixing the paper circuit on the ccb. Some laminators require you to feed it in a number of times before the toner sticks to the board, some less and some more, but I have not come across any that does it in 1 or 2 goes. Once you feel the toner has stuck to the ccb, put it in warm or normal temp. water until the paper used tears away without effort. This is where many people go wrong, they try to scrub off, or use slight force to take away the paper which results in cut tracks or other errors. 

Anyway, if you leave it long enough, it should come off easier than a wet tissue, slowly start from areas with less tracks/pads then when entering areas of detail, try to rub your finger across the same way of the majority of the tracks, in other words, rub along the detail, if you have tracks going from right to left, rub from right to left.

If done right you will have a nice toner transfer. Back to the feed in step, to ensure you're laminators springs and pressure quality remains constant over continuous use, feed in the board+paper orientated to allow the widest entry, this may result in you having to feed in a few more times, but allows your laminator to work for such usage longer. On the other hand, if you feed in orientated so the width is the least, you may have a better transfer but you also risk ruining the laminator quicker. This also depends on your laminator, and how it applies pressure,whether by springs etc.

Some of you may find that your printer uses toner that is hard to melt or that there is not enough toner even at best quality, this will normally result in the laminator only sticking the paper circuit on to the ccb, but not transfering the toner, and it will peel off without leaving any trace of toners. 1. this could be due to an improper cleaned ccb, but normally, if it was not cleaned properly, then there should be atleast some sign of transfer. If there is no sign of transfer, then run the thing through the laminator a few times again until it sticks again... whilst its still warm/hot from the laminator, grab the iron and finish it off there.

Iron:

If your laminator does not do the job, it still is a good tool to fix on the paper circuit on to the ccb before ironing. If you are ironing, you have 2 options, either have it on a very hot setting, but be very brief and confident that you are applying even pressure. The second option is to use a medium heat setting, and then taking your time applying pressure.

Make sure the bottom of your iron is cleaning so the paper circuit does not come off or move off the ccb whilst your moving the iron. Don't use steam or any steaming that your iron provides, it does not make much difference and may also ruin the process. One thing you can do, which works well if done right, is straight/immediately after you lift the iron the final time confident the toner is stuck and transferred (I am saying Transferred, but the truth is, the toner will always be sandwiched stuck on both the ccb, and paper, unless the paper you use is special like PnP) then add a few ice cube on the back of the paper.. if done right, the toner due to sudden change in temp. will repel from the cold side (paper side) and stick to the ccb. Then proceed to drop the whole thing in warm - normal temp. water. Boiling or Hot water is not recommended, UNLESS you have bad bond or a different type of toner that works well repelling from paper under such conditions.

Etching:

The etching process is simple, dependent on the etching solution and environment, it shouldn't take more than 5-40 minutes. I recommend everyone to buy a etching bath, it makes the whole process faster, and also allows you to roughly estimate when the etching is done. For ferric chloride solution, add 5-10 seconds on top after you etch each board as its corrosiveness degrades according to usage. Add 20 seconds or more if you are etching larger boards. These times will vary dependent on the ratio of the solution and water as well as how much solution there is for the size of board you use.

UV Exposure Method

The BEST way, and beleive me, I have tried all the previous methods, is to use photosensitve copper clad boards. If you are thinking of spraying your own boards for them to become photosensitive, its not really worth it, unless you have switched to using photosensitive boards and you just want to convert some of your old normal copper clad boards. Buy photosensitive copper clad boards to begin with, and the price difference is not much these days, probably around 0.5 x more than the normal copper clad boards.

The best light source is UV-B tan tubes. You can buy a facial tanning machine for around $50 on ebay that has 4x15watt tubes that is housed with a timer. All you have to do is tilt it so it shines upwards, place a clear piece of glass or open up an empty scanner and take off of the top glass/clear plastic unit with the lid attached an place it on the tan unit. If you want, you can make a custom case using a scanner, and disassemble the tanning unit and place the tubes, starters, ballast and circuitry inside, but personally, I wouldn't bother, because you never know when the winter blues might hit you, which is when the tanning machine will become usefull ;-) You can use UV-A or UV-C but is not as fast as the UV-B tubes.

Use a frosted tracing paper to print on and place over the photosensitve copper clad board, and leave under then the uvb light. You need to use a frosted tracing paper so the uv rays are spread evenly, otherwise you will get areas of overexposure and areas of underexposure. You will also loose the ability to do fine tracks if you don't use froster tracing paper. If you can't get frosted tracing paper, DON'T WORRY, all you need to do, is just frost the glass/clear plastic which you will be placing the boards on and use acetate printing paper instead. There is not much difference on whether the clear plastic/glass panel is frosted or whether you use frosted paper instead.

All you need is something to diffuse the light evenly, and if you find other methods then thats fine too. The only thing is, there shouldn't be too much distance between the diffuser and the printed tracks. The distance between the UVB tubes and the board should be around 5-7 cm. The further away, the longer it takes, the closer, the more chance of uneven exposure. With a diffusor, 7 cm is the optimum for 4x15w spaced the same way as the facial tanning machines.

Anyway, when I started using these 4x15w uv-b tanning light i used to leave my pccb's for around 5-7 minutes, thinking I needed to see atleast abit of the tracks on the photosensitive side before I dip them into the developing solution. Everytime I dipped the board in the developing solution, the circuit got dark quickly on the board and then melted away in a matter of 10 seconds. This was odd, I thought the solution was too concentrated etc. I blamed everything except my exposure time. I then realized 5-7 minutes exposure is toooo much, I now expose my boards for 30 seconds under the uv light, and then dip them into the developer for 20 seconds, then give them a rinse and then off to the etchant.

It is easy to do double sided too, there are numerous way, I will tell you the way I think is the most reliable:

Double Sided:

1. Print-to-file both sides of your circuit board, use photoshop or another photoediting program and align both of your circuits end to end, but with one of the mirrored and the other flipped in a way so when you print, you can simply fold the paper and the circuits will align with each when you look through the paper under light. The gap between the fold should not be much, however, draw a center line in the photo editing suite you are using so you know where to fold.

Once you have printed on paper your circuit design, before folding, trim off excess paper, leaving only 0.5cm / 5mm gap between the edges of the circuit and the trim. Now fold precisely where your center line was, further sharped the fold by going over it with a ruler or something hard, watch out the design does not come off alignment when doing this, keep checking under light and use masking tape etc. if needed to help you.

Remove anything you may have used such as masking tap and place your pccp/ccp in between the paper so its like a pita sandwich. Use masking tape to hold the paper onto the board on both sides so it does not move when you flip it over under the UV light or when passing through the laminator. In the case of UV you should use a tracing paper because acetate is hard to fold etc.

Once you paper is secured to the board, drill 2 holes precisely through to the mounting pads (you need to add some during the design, or add some non-usable pads so you can check your alignment, make sure the pads you add are opposite of each other on both axis's such as ona hypotenuse of a triangle). Now check carefully to see if he holes align with the paper marks. If so, then proceed with lamination/ironing/uv exposure.

In my opinion, the best method for circuit development is the photosensitive method. I have never ever been able to get such detail, clarity and track width as I do with the photosensitive method. It is by far the best method for 3 reasons, 1. It is consistent, you can rely on getting the exact same results each time 2. You can achieve far more detail, surface mount, tqfp, no problem. 3. it is quick

You may have tried it and not been able to get good results, but i strongly suggest to use my method, and also ensure you buy ready photosensitive copper clad boards, and also ensure you use UVB with a diffusor. tw8
« Last Edit: April 18, 2008, 10:21:26 22:21 by persiangulf » Logged
pvasilik
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« Reply #56 on: April 19, 2008, 02:28:22 02:28 »

Hello i study electrical engιneer, and now learn to make PCB.In my university use protel '98.what is the best program for draw pcb because ths protel 98 is stupid!!!!
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Parmin
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« Reply #57 on: April 19, 2008, 03:22:56 03:22 »

Yo persiangulf.

That is a very thorough explanation on home PCB manufacturing.
Congratulations!  for a newbie, you certainly have contributed greatly and more thoughtful than most other oldies and that including me  Tongue

Now, my request,  I have trouble in following your double sided board explanation.
Could you  give some illustration to that technique?  maybe some pictures etc.
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persiangulf
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« Reply #58 on: April 19, 2008, 01:03:58 13:03 »

Parmin, nice signature. Double sided is really easy, but I guess the detail above might make it sound hard to some, and as we are human, we all think visually when learning practical things, so image descriptions are always good. I will either draw some images to help you understand, or take some pictures of doing a double sided board. I'll add them here later on today or tomorrow. If there is anything else, let me know so I can add them to the post.

Regards,

PG

Posted on: April 19, 2008, 07:46:27 19:46 - Automerged

Hello i study electrical engιneer, and now learn to make PCB.In my university use protel '98.what is the best program for draw pcb because ths protel 98 is stupid!!!!

It's really about preference, but there are a few packages that hit the taste of most people. Here are some of the top ones:

1. Diptrace - Easy to use, nice UI, good library and autoroute function.
2. Eagle from CADSoft - Difficult to learn, complex UI, but powerful program that allows you to virtually design boards for any process with excellent autorouting.
3. Orcad - Fairly complex, tedious UI, loads of features, simulator and various other powerful tools such as the autoroute function.
4. Altium Designer - haven't used this one.
5. Proteus - haven't used it, the screenshot put me off Smiley

There are others, and there are loads of threads around about PCB Cad packages, but
the BEST one in my opinion is Diptrace. Diptrace is easy to use, with a small learning curve. You won't even have to read the manuals, its one of those programs that you can begin using straight away.

I can't stress how easy it is to use Diptrace, definitely try it, before trying the rest. And if anyone else is using other pcb programs but hasn't tried Diptrace, then PLEASE DO TRY IT!! This is because it helped me stop growing white hairs. It's a likable package.
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« Reply #59 on: April 19, 2008, 05:09:34 17:09 »


persiangulf

You seems have done significant R&D on the PCB with various methods, and realy appreciate your nice effort to share your experience in the forum.

Do you ever experiment with plating (Nickel or gold) the PCB copper strips on the board, specially when you have edge connector on the PCB?


.
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yahoo
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« Reply #60 on: April 20, 2008, 09:41:13 09:41 »

Hi persiangulf,
I can confirm that DipTrace is realy very easy PCB design software. I have experience using Orcad & Cadstar for many years and their price is so high for the "demo" libraries they provide. First time I see so simple and user friendly interface of DipTrace and in combination with complete set of libraries - I'll switch to it. Thank you for your suggestion!
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« Reply #61 on: April 22, 2008, 06:28:22 18:28 »

Hi all:
Apart of the great tuto that persiangulf leave to us i want to share some personal experience about all this:
i dunno if you know the T-shirts transfer irons, they have a large (40 by 40 cms) evenly heated plate and an assembly to press the iron against the base and most of them have a temperature control, so you can make a very decent PCB with just mag paper and a laser printer, i can say that even better than a laminator because you have no chance to damage the unit and no rolls that would move you design when you feed it.
This iron seves a double propuse, if you can get the dupont or Kolon Dry film Resist, you can create you own photosensitive boards with this iron.
so you can switch from laser transer to Photoresist with  almost the same hardware
another good thing is that this irons are no so expensive like some professional laminators.
http://www.ikolon.com/eng/films/dry_film/dry_film_intro.html
http://tyvek.com.mx/Imaging_Materials/en_US/products/dryfilmPhotoresist/index.html

Hope this helps
Cheers
PS i almost forget... you can make your solder mask with Dry film photoresist too!  Wink
« Last Edit: April 22, 2008, 06:32:08 18:32 by OleRuffo » Logged
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« Reply #62 on: April 23, 2008, 05:14:24 17:14 »

I use toner transfer using normal Glossy Paper (most people would like to use a photo gloss paper. But using them increases your cost per board.) But with Glossy Paper the heat transfer time is increased. About 5-6 minutes under an electric iron with some pressure using your hands is sufficient.
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« Reply #63 on: April 23, 2008, 06:45:05 18:45 »

i dunno if you know the T-shirts transfer irons,

ya know ole,  I used this method before, but its unfortunate that I cannot get it right.  Tshirt are made of flexible compressable material, so when you press them they will flatten and levels. 
When using this method on PCB, I found that PCBs never is 100% level, and it cannot compress on the high/low points, thus the toner were never transferred 100%.
The difference is in micron but this made a lot of difference.


You must have special method to make the PCB ultra smooth and level..  I like to try it.. please share.
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« Reply #64 on: April 23, 2008, 11:22:28 23:22 »

Hiyas Parmin:
i always put a soft and heavy cardboard (like some dense cartoon box material)  over the PCB and with the pressure and heat amount that the iron can give to the assembly i had no problems with the transfered image, i always smooth the sides of the PCB with sandpaper to get a little angle ( like a knife sharp) then i put the laser printout and then the cardboard , and press about a minute , then i release and let go cold, and soak it with a bit warm water, when i can see the image trough the paper i start to remove it gently.
the heat flows really nice over the cartoon and hit the PCB correctly
cheers
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« Reply #65 on: April 24, 2008, 12:19:05 00:19 »

Hi Ole
T I have tried the cardboard method I even tried heat sink foams, cloth, High density closed and/or open celled foam etc of various thickness still it doesn't work well:

I think I am missing something important somewhere.
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« Reply #66 on: April 24, 2008, 03:25:23 03:25 »

What is the temparature of iron or laminator?
Is critical temperature?
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« Reply #67 on: April 24, 2008, 09:30:30 09:30 »

The iron i use is somewhat old so i don't have a real temperature setting, i put the knob to 180 ( in theory should be 180 C) and let the press down for a minute, i sand the board with a very fine metal sand paper ( gently!!) and then i clean it with acetone (before the transfer process, of course  Wink ).
Here you have a image before etching
Cheers

BTW i find useless to try a QTFP64 + footprint with the toner method cause the pads appear bridged, same for another fine pitch packs.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2008, 04:36:55 16:36 by OleRuffo » Logged
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« Reply #68 on: April 28, 2008, 11:09:29 23:09 »

I usually use a 60gr paper with a laser jet printer. and then oily on it with sunflowerseed oil until the paper become transparance, then next process follow the step that already post.
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« Reply #69 on: April 30, 2008, 06:38:55 06:38 »

hi OleRuffo,
have you a video of your réalisation of PCB with TTF?
I have some deformation, the line is not parallele!!
Wath is your pression (press down)?
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« Reply #70 on: May 01, 2008, 08:11:18 20:11 »

Hi Fr5:
Sorry i have no videos about the process, in fact right now I'm working with a very dense PCB so its not suitable for this technique ( not even for photo resist)  4 layers, some QTFP 80-140 pins and some other fine pitch parts that i had send to produce in a professional facility).
the press pressure is unique (Can't be controlled), just a handle that one pull down until lock, i have no idea how much is too much. once i finish my actual work i will try to post some images of the whole thing.  Wink
About the deformation...maybe, just maybe your press don't push evenly, or the level mechanism make a slight lateral movement? just an idea  Huh
Cheers
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« Reply #71 on: October 17, 2010, 08:48:04 08:48 »

Hi guys.  I thought I would chime in here with a few thoughts.
I print using an Epson R200 printer, using precision A4 Inkjet film and I always get good results.
I use JetStar Premium A4 10 sheet pack from http://www.megauk.com/artwork_films.php
Also photo boards from same supplier http://www.megauk.com/pcb_laminates.php
I have a 4 tube UV box (from RS components)
Developer is Seno Liquid Dev conc 1Ltr for 10Ltr - 20ltrs  http://www.megauk.com/pcb_chemicals.php
I use this 1.1KG Fine Etch Crystals for 5 Ltrs for etching in a bubble etching tank, also from same company.
I make a lot of pcb's with fine pitch IC's and have no problems, many of which are 2 oz copper.
Using this method I can re-use the artwork over and over again.

I never was a fan of the iron-on method, or using laser printers, the resolution on the R200 is much higher at 5760 dpi.

Steve
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« Reply #72 on: October 17, 2010, 10:43:48 10:43 »

Hello.

In this web site will see how to make a machine to laminate printed circuit boards using an old laser printer, using precione rollers and heating lamp.
Link: http://blog.opcode.com.br/dispositivos-diversos/laminadora-pci/

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-61zAe_zgUg

  enjoy.  Grin
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« Reply #73 on: October 19, 2010, 07:28:30 07:28 »

I have spent much time (and money) to make PCB with acid, film, etc
Now I find more convenient a (Italian) company that make prototypes of pcb
example:
 2 PCB   40x40 mm  Dual layer    28
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« Reply #74 on: October 19, 2010, 07:06:36 19:06 »

I have spent much time (and money) to make PCB with acid, film, etc
Now I find more convenient a (Italian) company that make prototypes of pcb
example:
 2 PCB   40x40 mm  Dual layer    28
do it yourself for less than 5 is best for me, 28 is a lot of money Sad
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