Author Topic: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB  (Read 8575 times)

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Offline Enea

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Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« on: January 05, 2017, 03:14:17 pm »
Dear All,
My very old laser printer for PCB making died after 15 years+ of service and I am looking for a replacement.

I have tried some modern laser printers on transparencies lately but none has so far reached a good DARK BLACK printing quality for my UV setup (yes I tried to play with UV exposure time and intensity but yet to achieve satisfatory results as good as my old one)

I print up to QFN package

Any advices or tips for a good laser printer for PCB making??? I can spend up to 300/400 USD/EUR

Many thanks in advance
 

Offline alanb

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2017, 01:38:00 pm »
I have had fairly good results using both an old HP3si and a more modern HP CP2025 however I have never had any success with transparencies, I have had much better results using tracing paper. Tracing paper seems to accept the toner very well and gives a good black result.

This guide gives some useful info http://www.electricstuff.co.uk/pcbs.html

 

Offline jpanhalt

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2017, 02:53:36 pm »
I have been using the UV photoresist method for more than 20 years.  In my opinion, the absolute best transparency was made with an inkjet printer (HP970cse, as I recall) on a high-resolution transparency film (it was coated with ceramic microparticles and is  made mostly for commercial artists).  Unfortunately, in the past several years, I do not make enough transparencies to keep the ink cartridges from drying out.  So, I switched to a laser printer and developed a method to improve the density of the image. 

Laser Method:
I have used HP LJ4 and HP LJ4101 printers with good results.   A Brother HL2270 and probably others (see below) will not work with this method.  In brief, I print the transparency on ordinary overhead projection film (polyester), then go over the image with a dry-erase (aka white-board) marker, let it dry, and then rub the image with soft tissue to remove excess marker.   One goes over the entire image as the particles are small enough to be retained by the toner.   I have attached a full text description and pictures that illustrate the method.

Recent Problems:
As noted, transparencies made with the Brother printer will not work with this method.  Its toner is not as hard or stuck as well to the transparency as the HP toner is.  I suspect many of the newer printers that use LED's for fusing will have the same problem.  The only way to tell is to test it.

Good luck.

John

 
« Last Edit: January 06, 2017, 02:55:30 pm by jpanhalt »
 

Offline Brutte

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2017, 03:21:51 pm »
I have never used UV method.
The toner transfer with 600x600dpi laser printer HP Laserjet 5L was ok but that resolution was acceptable only down to 0.4mm LQFP (no traces in between pads). Now I'd like to test UV method with 1200x1200dpi inkjet on a dedicated transparency.
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2017, 04:08:02 pm »
Don't use transparencies, use tracing paper. Much better toner adhesion and evennesss,  and they work well in most laser printers.
Get the heaviest stuff you can, at least 90gsm, as the thin stuff can crinkle in the fuser.

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Online Fred27

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2017, 04:37:28 pm »
Another recommendation for an inkjet over a laser. My Canon MG5250 has a T-shirt transfer mode that lays down think ink on transparencies and even mirrors it automatically.
 
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Offline ray-san

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2017, 11:10:43 am »
Did some tests with transparencies printed with a Color LaserJet 3600 this morning. Have layered 3 layers of transparancy over each other. To make the allignment easy, place 4 crosshairs outsite of the PCB, and mirror the printout. So the printed site sticks directly to the PCB. And it worked quite well.

I have figured out, the exposure time is not that critical (3-6 minutes with my self-browning-thing with 4 UV tubes), much more critical is the bath after that in the sodiumhydroxide solution. Many webpages recommend "a few seconds", but you should keep it in the bath until your layout becomes clearly visible, than you get a very sharp and crisp image on your pcb. And than you can start etching, until it's done. I'm sure, you will see it, when its ready.

Good luck :)
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2017, 11:21:04 am »
Did some tests with transparencies printed with a Color LaserJet 3600 this morning. Have layered 3 layers of transparancy over each other. To make the allignment easy, place 4 crosshairs outsite of the PCB, and mirror the printout. So the printed site sticks directly to the PCB. And it worked quite well.
[/quot]
Seriously, try tracing paper. No need to mess with multiple layers, just works.
I have figured out, the exposure time is not that critical (3-6 minutes with my self-browning-thing with 4 UV tubes), much more critical is the bath after that in the sodiumhydroxide solution. Many webpages recommend "a few seconds", but you should keep it in the bath until your layout becomes clearly visible, than you get a very sharp and crisp image on your pcb. And than you can start etching, until it's done. I'm sure, you will see it, when its ready.

Good luck :)
[/quote]
Use silicate developer - much wider margin between develop and strip, and solution  doesn't go off over time
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Offline jpanhalt

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2017, 11:35:54 am »
Use silicate developer - much wider margin between develop and strip, and solution  doesn't go off over time

Not all resists are the same!  First, there are positive-acting and negative-acting resists to consider.  Some resists work with ordinary sodium or potassium carbonate.  Some require a totally different developer.

Considering only the positive-acting resists, the resist I use (Injectoral brand, Digikey) definitely does not work with just silicate.  It requires about 0.5M sodium or potassium hydroxide to remove the exposed material.  The unexposed areas are quite stable to that concentration of alkali and can be rubbed with a sponge to get crevices clear.

John
 

Offline ray-san

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2017, 05:35:45 pm »
Seriously, try tracing paper. No need to mess with multiple layers, just works.
Wasn't really a mess. When i have first read, that you should use multiple layers, my first thought was "shit, how i should accomplish it, that it is perfectly alligned?!" After trying it out, i found out, that it is pretty easy. Of course it's more easy if you can do it in just one pass, but have had these transparancies laying around. When they are all used up, i will probably try your way, because i'm lazy :)
 

Offline Enea

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2017, 03:36:18 pm »
Many thanks all for the advices  :-+
 

Online CJay

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2017, 03:47:11 pm »
This stuff:

http://uk.farnell.com/mega/100062/laserstar-film-a4-10-sheets/dp/895945?ost=pcb+film&categoryId=700000005232&searchView=table&iscrfnonsku=false

made printing UV transparencies for small production run etching much more reliable, it worked reliably in HP, Ricoh and Epson lasers.

M0UAW
 

Offline oldway

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2017, 07:01:34 pm »
The adhesion of the toner to the glossy transparencies is very bad.
The solution I use is to make the print surface dull by sanding it with very fine sandpaper (400)
As laser printer, I was using an old OKI 6W, but there is no more replacement image drum.
I need to buy a new laser printer....It need to have a darkness adjust ....A Brother perhaps ?
« Last Edit: January 10, 2017, 07:06:16 pm by oldway »
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Online CJay

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2017, 07:55:20 pm »
This stuff:

http://uk.farnell.com/mega/100062/laserstar-film-a4-10-sheets/dp/895945?ost=pcb+film&categoryId=700000005232&searchView=table&iscrfnonsku=false

made printing UV transparencies for small production run etching much more reliable, it worked reliably in HP, Ricoh and Epson lasers.
tracing paper is a lot cheaper
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Professional-Tracing-Pad-Acid-Free-Paper-90gsm-50-Sheets-A4-/302173436582?hash=item465af0baa6:g:eIAAAOSwCGVX4-0q

I'll have to order and try some, I found when I tried to use tracing paper before the toner flaked off it but I'm willing to give that stuff a go as it's heavier than the one I found.
M0UAW
 

Offline illusive

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2017, 07:43:26 am »
Im looking for a new printer for PCB Transparencies also. Currently i have a laser printer Xerox Phaser 3020, but even with the darkest print settings i still have to put 4 layer of tracing paper over each other to get dense black. The paper heating of the laser printer also difforms the tracing paper and its difficult to get accurate image. So im looking for some cheap inkjet alternative, it seems peaple are more happy with ink printers for pcb uv work.
 Can you reccomend a printer? Something like HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 1115 or Canon PIXMA iP2850?
 

Online Fred27

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2017, 08:10:25 am »
I had great results with my old Canon MG5250 using T-shirt printing mode. I wouldn't be surprised to find other Canon printers to be similar. (Oops. Just noticed I'd already said the same things a while ago in this fairy old thread.)
 

Offline jpanhalt

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2017, 09:22:24 am »
I used a Canon Pixma MG3620 for my last transparencies.   The machine was cheap (about $50).

Transparency was printed in black and worked great.   The cartridge was #240, which is pigment.  If you haven't followed the debate of pigment vs. dye, here is one link: https://laserinkjetlabels.com/pages/pigment-based-inkjet-cartridges/

Frankly, I am not sure whether pigment or dye would be preferred for making transparencies or whether there is any difference at all.

Years ago, I used a HP870cse (or something like that) and when printing "black" with a color cartridge, it worked the best I have seen.  There was no "black" pigment in the color.  Yellow alone is a pretty good blocker for UV.

One detail to consider is the medium you use.  At the aforementioned time years ago, I found a transparency that is used for inkjet art ("gallery quality").   Brand: Pictorico Premium OHP Transparency Film.  Its surface is treated with extremely fine ceramic.   It holds the ink and never smears.  If you go that route, be sure to get the version without UV blocker.   The version with UV blocker is used when one wants to decrease glare/reflections.

John

 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2017, 07:45:12 pm »
I'd recommend using tracing paper, rather than a plastic transparency because the toner adheres to to more easily.
 

Offline jpanhalt

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2017, 07:59:30 pm »
I'd recommend using tracing paper, rather than a plastic transparency because the toner adheres to to more easily.

Not really toner.   But the ink (pigment or dye) adheres well to most good transparency films I have tried.   The stuff I mentioned is extremely fine for detail.   I have never had any of the ink flake or fall off.

With ordinary tracing paper in the US, you get more spread of the ink.   If you mean something like drafting vellum, that is different. 

John
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2017, 09:51:11 pm »
I'd recommend using tracing paper, rather than a plastic transparency because the toner adheres to to more easily.

Not really toner.   But the ink (pigment or dye) adheres well to most good transparency films I have tried.   The stuff I mentioned is extremely fine for detail.   I have never had any of the ink flake or fall off.

With ordinary tracing paper in the US, you get more spread of the ink.   If you mean something like drafting vellum, that is different. 

John
I haven't tried tracing paper with inkjet before and wouldn't be surprised if it's different but I've found it excellent for laser printers.
 

Offline illusive

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2017, 11:57:30 pm »
I did say that i am using tracing paper. What resolution of the printer should i be looking for? Some specification says 600x1200, ather says that this is upscaled or rendered resolution, its rather confusing.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #22 on: July 17, 2017, 08:05:40 am »
I did say that i am using tracing paper. What resolution of the printer should i be looking for? Some specification says 600x1200, ather says that this is upscaled or rendered resolution, its rather confusing.
Oh I was looking at the original post. You could try a different brand of paper with a laser printer.

The most common problem with inkjet is bleeding but can't help you there as I haven't used an inkjet printer for years.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 08:55:21 am by Hero999 »
 

Offline jpanhalt

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Re: Good Printer for Transparencies for UV - PCB
« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2017, 09:07:34 am »
I did say that i am using tracing paper. What resolution of the printer should i be looking for? Some specification says 600x1200, ather says that this is upscaled or rendered resolution, its rather confusing.

The original post was by "Enea. "   You simply hijacked the thread. 

Tracing paper describes a function, not a single product.   Vellum is considered "tracing" paper.   If what you are set on using is the  cheap, onion skin tracing paper, then the quality of your print will depend more on that paper than any dpi setting for your printer.  Deciding on your "paper" before anything else is a bit like getting the cart before the horse.

It should be evident from comments in this thread that even the cheapest inkjet printers (e.g., Pixma MG3620) work well.  You will need to experiment with the dpi settings, ink flow, and so forth depending on the medium you use for printing and other factors you may encounter as you do your first few batches of PCB's.

John
 


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