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Printing Circuit Boards with your Laser Printer

02/19/2017 3:48 PM

Ran across this today thought I would share it.....pretty cool

Photo etching fine detailed parts....

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#1

Re: Printing circuit boards with your laser printer

02/19/2017 6:28 PM

I haven't made any circuits since the components were big enough to see with the naked eye (which were a lot sharper back then)...

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Printing circuit boards with your laser printer

02/19/2017 7:25 PM

Yeah it's more of a 3rd world survivalist hack than anything...still find it interesting....

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#3

Re: Printing Circuit Boards with your Laser Printer

02/20/2017 12:06 AM

I've been doing circuit boards using the "Toner Transfer" process (with Ferric Chloride) since laser printers became commonly available. I've made quite a few that did work, both for through-hole and SMT boards, but I'd hardly call them professional.

Both of your processes appeared to have higher resolution than I've achieved. Thanks.

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#4

Re: Printing Circuit Boards with your Laser Printer

02/20/2017 4:43 AM

Great stuff, thanks for sharing.

His website "nothinglabs" is also well worth a visit too. Be prepared for a surprise or three.....

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#5

Re: Printing Circuit Boards with your Laser Printer

02/20/2017 10:49 AM

I had something like this come into my feed about 2 years ago. I think they drew a ladder logic diagram.

It was just a matter of time until it was pressed for circuit boards. I think its would be mostly for remote areas that has to be self-sufficient. Just like 3D-Printing.

Not the best answer, but better than what's available.

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#6

Re: Printing Circuit Boards with your Laser Printer

02/20/2017 11:56 AM

I wish this information/tech was available when I was a kid. Radio Shack was a great place to get the materials for etching circuits. I don't even recall what circuits I was making it was so long ago!?

There is another way to use lasers to create a circuit.

.. the red laser is just a visual aid. the co2 laser is invisible.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Printing Circuit Boards with your Laser Printer

02/20/2017 12:06 PM

Radio Shack was a great place to get the materials for etching circuits.

That was pretty toxic etching material..., but then again... so were the chemistry sets for 12 and over.

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#8
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Re: Printing Circuit Boards with your Laser Printer

02/20/2017 2:23 PM

Are you talking about Ferric Chloride?

I still have a partial container of Radio Shack 276-1535A Ferric Chloride. The directions say: "Discard used solution in toilet and Flush."

I presume the used solution is a mixture of ferric chloride and cupric chloride (or something close to that). I also presume that cupric chloride is more toxic than ferric chloride. Since I have a septic system, I never followed those directions! I kept used containers for many years, until finally a toxic waste disposal location became available.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Printing Circuit Boards with your Laser Printer

02/20/2017 8:54 PM

I can remember in the early days drawing my circuit on a copper clad board using a resist pen and dissolving the remaining copper with ferric chloride and then drilling holes for the components.

It wasn't very pretty, but it did work.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Printing Circuit Boards with your Laser Printer

02/20/2017 9:29 PM

What I've been using for something like 20 years appears to be this: http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/pulsar/50-1101/182-1003-ND/3386

The company name has apparently changed since I last bought the paper (Quite a few years ago, but still quite usable), but the product name is the same...

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Printing Circuit Boards with your Laser Printer

02/21/2017 5:20 AM

I tried it many years ago, I could not get a clean circuit "transfer", so I continued with a DIY UV lightbox (made from a tanning lamp). That worked really well and gave clean sharp copper circuits.

The first software I had for that was in comparison to today, primitive, but I made dozens of different PCBs over many years with it. It supported only a strange (I forget the name) plotter, so I wrote an interpreter to convert all the commands to HP plotter language, HPGL. I still have the HP plotter somewhere in the cellar....

I and a colleague bought a professional etching system, with heating and aeration, for a tiny sum, DM100,-, secondhand, but never used, worth many times what we paid!!

We still have it stored away, but I tend to get PCBs made nowadays....I'm a lazy "B".....

I am at present making an SMD Digital Clock.....but too busy in other directions to get it finished....hand soldering SMD is very heavy on the eyes.....!!! But it makes a really small PCB, which I do like.

My first projects were made in 1955 and as far as I am aware, that predates DIY PCBs.....all components were mounted on rails or flapping in the breeze. It was a RC aircraft system I continually upgraded, eventually to proportional, analog!!

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Printing Circuit Boards with your Laser Printer

02/21/2017 2:26 PM

Heck, in '55, if PCBs existed at all, they must have been in research labs. I was doing projects at that time, but all point-to-point wiring. I fixed my first radio in '51.

As I recall, I assembled my first PCB around '75 and started making my own a year or two later.

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Printing Circuit Boards with your Laser Printer

02/22/2017 3:51 AM

I started making PCBs in the early 60's, a lot of "drawing" with an acid resist pen and or sticky tape, cut to size, not pretty....but they worked!!

I made an FM/AM/LW radio, portable, copied a kit that a fiend of mine bought in the RN.

Made my fist car radio, push button, in 1973, for my car, which had the radio "hole" with nothing in it!! Worked really well.....I could not afford a new one and ebay had not been invented!

I also have made many (don't ask how many!) metal detectors, some from magazines and some I designed myself....I also use Picaxes for certain jobs, and and and.....

My eyes will give up before I will!!

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