Author Topic: Best printer for toner transfer  (Read 6087 times)

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Offline rfguy2020

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Best printer for toner transfer
« on: June 01, 2020, 08:01:44 am »
I have used toner transfer method for sometime to make PCB prototypes. I have used Samsung SCX3205 as my laser printer. It seems to work pretty ok, but it is getting old I want to get new even better printer for toner transfer method.

Main issue with Samsung printer has been large metal areas, which can have some holes. I think it is mainly due to uneven toner amount on the press n peel film. I have been able to make 100-150um lines and gaps with my Samsung.

I'm looking for alternatives to upgrade my printer and further enhance the quality of prototypes. I think I need printer with 1200dpi resolution. I have been looking for Xerox phaser 3330 and HP LaserJet Pro M304a. Anyone has any experience of these?

I think toner has significant impact to quality. I believe that lower melting point of toner would help. Does anyone has any experience of LED vs. laser printer?

I have also considered old Xerox colorqube printers, but I don't have access to any of those. I could get refurbished one, but I have impression that I cannot make thin 100um lines with solid ink printer even though resolution is 2400dpi. Anyone has used Colorqube for PCB prototypes?
 

Offline moffy

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2020, 12:06:11 pm »
My only experience has been negative, but recently discovered it was due to my Brother printer. The toner would not transfer. Look forward to hearing about suitable printers.
 

Offline madires

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2020, 12:31:05 pm »
The printer isn't that important, it's the toner which matters. Some types of toner work great, some are ok, and others don't work at all. In some cases an alternative toner cartridge can be better than a genuine one. And if you found the right one, the vendor could change the toner type in a few years, but that's less likely for genuine toner cartridges.
 

Online kripton2035

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2020, 12:33:27 pm »
making a professionnal pcb is so cheap today that I don't bother anymore with making my pcb at home.
not speaking of the disposal of chemical acids.
I would better invest in a small cnc to make small pcb quickly by milling, but not a toner transfert method.

Offline rfguy2020

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2020, 01:45:31 pm »
I have read that Brother toner has some issues and it does not work. I'm not sure about latest printer models, if the toner has changed.

I want to use original toners, since I believe the quality is more consistent.

I will make mainly flexible PCB, which cannot be done with PCB mill. Or can we?

I will make my pcb by myself, because it is much faster.
 
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2020, 06:44:27 pm »

I was told by the makers of the Pulsar paper that one of the best (and now cheap) printers to get is the HP-2300 (second hand, obviously), using OEM toner only.  I have had fantastic results with it.   

BUT!!!!  -  large black areas (ground fills) are a no-no with toner transfer,  even with a good printer.  Laser printers simply don't "do" large filled black areas that well.  As a workaround, try a cross-hatch pattern instead.  If you really need large ground planes, photographic methods are better.
 
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Offline Alex Eisenhut

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2020, 06:57:55 pm »
Many laser/LED printers use toner save modes that can be turned off.
*Except AC/DC adapters on eBay. Avoid them all!
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2020, 01:24:12 am »
Many laser/LED printers use toner save modes that can be turned off.

The "no large black areas" also applies to photocopiers.  Try it!

I don't fully understand why there is this limitation with this technology...  maybe it has something to do with it not being possible to fully charge such a large are of the toner drum surface (which picks up the toner particles electrostatically where it has been exposed to light).
 
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Offline phil from seattle

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2020, 02:57:06 am »
yeah, that's basically it.  When I was doing toner transfer, I would just take some toner powder, mix it in acetone and paint the areas that weren't completely covered.  Problem solved.  That and a bunch of other problems pushed me to get my boards made by a PCB fab.  Haven't looked back in regret at all.
 
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Online Domagoj T

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2020, 05:59:41 am »
I'm often in the "I need my PCB right now, and I only need one" camp too, so I understand the pain of fighting the printers. Also, fairly often I do some etchings in brass sheets, so having a setup and procedure figured out has this added benefit.
Anyway, I use Lexmark MX310. It also struggles with large areas, but that is something I can easily fix by applying toner foil such as this:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32835703005.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.70d17f2639vuE0&algo_pvid=4ce922c3-dd3d-4d9a-915d-fb26f7f0a320&algo_expid=4ce922c3-dd3d-4d9a-915d-fb26f7f0a320-0&btsid=0ab6fab215910771593551508e743f&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_

When passed through a laminator it sticks only to toner and provides better etch resist and fills in the tiny holes where toner didn't cover. It's been my mandatory step ever since I found out about it.
It is also good for UV methods which I use for brass sheets.
 

Offline rfguy2020

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2020, 07:03:30 am »
Thank you for good improvement ideas.

About the problem of laser printing of large metal areas. I wonder if anyone has used color printer to overcome the issue? If I would use some kind of grid of different toner colors, then I don't actually print single large metal area. According to my understanding, color laser printer just has several laser printers in serial.

I haven't try to make my own fixing ink from toner and acetone. I have used silver paint pen to fill some holes when needed. This pen will dissolve some of toner. I think most of my holes are very small and there are so many, that manual fixing would be huge effort. Press n Peel film has this blue stuff, which I think will protect toner a bit. Acetone will dissolve blue stuff as well. Anyway, I have to try.

Lexmark MX310 seems to be discontinued. Lexmark ink seems to work.

Anyone used Xerox?

Based on this site, Xerox is the best:
http://nerdclub-uk.blogspot.com/2015/05/press-n-peel-toner-printing-test.html

I have been using Press n peel so far. Pulsar has similar paper, but you have to laminate separately this green film on top. I guess the green film is actually similar to this hot stamping foil.

 

Online xavier60

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2020, 10:39:20 am »
Has anyone else tried heating the paper or film just before it's printed to?
With My HP 6L, lowering the moisture content increases the toner transfer from the drum, resulting in better large area fills.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2020, 11:03:12 am by xavier60 »
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Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2020, 10:59:31 am »

I've not found the green foil to be necessary as long as there are no large black areas.

Note that when I say "large black areas" I am talking about pretty much filling an entire 8 inch by 10.5 inch rectangle with black!  -   That becomes too thin to rescue with any method, including spraying toner fixer, laminating green foil, or whatever.

You can of course have reasonably sized black fills on a small PCB in the middle of an otherwise blank page...

 

Offline madires

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2020, 11:18:53 am »
Another way to deal with large solid black areas is to us a toner enhancement spray.
 

Offline RoGeorge

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2020, 11:44:07 am »
This is from 2014.  Anybody here tried direct PCB laser printing, where the toner is deposited on the copper clad by laser printer?


Offline rfguy2020

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2020, 12:01:24 pm »
I have been thinking of keeping my press n peel films in oven, but I have not ever tested it. I have bee afraid that they will stick together or some other way damaged. As moisture has big impact for example 3D printing filaments, it probably helps toner transfer method as well. 24h at +60C would work?

"Large black area" for me is about 20mm x 20mm square.

I have not used and heard about toner enhancement spray. It sounds like something which will dissolve toner, which might reduce resolution. Where I can find this kind of spray?

I have actually done some testing by printing toner directly to flexible board. Image was transferred, but it has even more holes. I didn't test that method further, since it sounds a bit risky for your printer.

Xerox has something called EA toner:
https://www.office.xerox.com/latest/SUPWP-01.pdf

It sounds pretty good for toner transfer method (more accurate and lower temperature). I'm not sure if anyone has tested?
 

Offline madires

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2020, 12:22:20 pm »
I have not used and heard about toner enhancement spray. It sounds like something which will dissolve toner, which might reduce resolution. Where I can find this kind of spray?

Reichelt sells TVD LF-A. Or you could use Solvent 50 which is meant to remove labels/stickers but also works great as toner enhancer. I'm using Solvent 50 for my layouts printed on tracing paper.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2020, 12:25:00 pm by madires »
 

Offline rfguy2020

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2020, 12:27:12 pm »
I have not used and heard about toner enhancement spray. It sounds like something which will dissolve toner, which might reduce resolution. Where I can find this kind of spray?

Reichelt sells TVD LF-A. Or you could use Solvent 50 which is meant to remove labels/stickers but also works great as toner enhancer. I'm using Solvent 50 for my layouts printed on tracing paper.

Does it reduce resolution?
 

Offline madires

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2020, 01:27:41 pm »
Not that I'm aware of it. But I'd guess, if you have a single white dot (>=600dpi) inside a large black area it would vanish.
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2020, 01:31:18 pm »
I have not used and heard about toner enhancement spray. It sounds like something which will dissolve toner, which might reduce resolution. Where I can find this kind of spray?

Reichelt sells TVD LF-A. Or you could use Solvent 50 which is meant to remove labels/stickers but also works great as toner enhancer. I'm using Solvent 50 for my layouts printed on tracing paper.

Does it reduce resolution?

If it does, it isn't by much.  As long as you don't "wash" the PCB in it (like running streams of liquid) it will just evaporate in place and not move anything around.
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2020, 01:32:52 pm »
Another way to deal with large solid black areas is to us a toner enhancement spray.

For smaller values of large solid black areas I have found that toner spray does help remove pinholes.

It won't cure a really large solid black area that doesn't have enough toner on it in the first place, due to the limitations of the electrostatic drum printing method.
 

Offline madires

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2020, 02:07:56 pm »
Eco printing (toner saver) mode enabled or disabled? Draft or high quality mode?
 

Offline Wimberleytech

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2020, 02:17:56 pm »
Another way to deal with large solid black areas is to us a toner enhancement spray.

For smaller values of large solid black areas I have found that toner spray does help remove pinholes.

It won't cure a really large solid black area that doesn't have enough toner on it in the first place, due to the limitations of the electrostatic drum printing method.

I use heat transfer foil to address pinholes.  A little extra work but the end product is always better.
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2020, 02:22:05 pm »
Eco printing (toner saver) mode enabled or disabled? Draft or high quality mode?

Everything turned to the max amount of toner possible, highest resolution, maximally dark.  It works beautifully on everything you throw at it, except very large black fills.

I have tried this on several different printers and photocopiers.  If you try to copy or print a 10.5" by 8" black square,  there isn't any electrostatic toner based machine that I tried (including large Xerox machines at print shops etc.) that will make a completely black copy - it appears to be a limitation of the technology.

The only workaround that I have found is this:  Print the outline of the black area, and fill in the black area some other way (Sharpie, for example).

 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2020, 02:25:54 pm »
Another way to deal with large solid black areas is to us a toner enhancement spray.

For smaller values of large solid black areas I have found that toner spray does help remove pinholes.

It won't cure a really large solid black area that doesn't have enough toner on it in the first place, due to the limitations of the electrostatic drum printing method.

I use heat transfer foil to address pinholes.  A little extra work but the end product is always better.

Can your printer actually do a 10.5" by 8" black rectangle that works to etch a PCB - with or without foil?  If so, you own the Holy Grail of lasers!  :D

I've found that every time I try that, the toner gets so thin it can't be rescued by transfer foil or anything else.
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2020, 02:28:21 pm »

[...]

"Large black area" for me is about 20mm x 20mm square.

[...]


I don't think that would be a problem on my printer, which prints VERY dark and rich on smaller areas.  I'll try it later on today just for fun, let's see what we get!

 

Offline RoGeorge

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2020, 03:27:56 pm »
Eco printing (toner saver) mode enabled or disabled? Draft or high quality mode?

The idea is to convince the printer to use as much toner as possible, so enough toner will end up on the PCB.

For that, disable any "eco friendly", any "toner saver", any "grey dithering", and any "draft" settings.  Use "high quality", "high contrast" or "presentation" settings.  If manual adjustment is allowed, make the printer to pour more toner.

Offline moffy

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2020, 02:05:47 am »
Has anyone tried a Kyocera printer for toner transfer?
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #28 on: June 03, 2020, 06:32:08 am »
making a professionnal pcb is so cheap today that I don't bother anymore with making my pcb at home.
not speaking of the disposal of chemical acids.
I would better invest in a small cnc to make small pcb quickly by milling, but not a toner transfert method.
Absolutely not. PCB milling is a pain in the ass.

The toner transfer method works great if done properly. This means buying real toner transfer paper, not old catalog pages, using a proper laminator, not a freaking clothes iron, and real etchant, not witches brews of acids and peroxide. Done that way, I can consistently etch clean 10 mil (0.25mm) traces, and probably thinner, I just haven’t tried yet.

At some point, I do wanna try the acetone vapor approach to improving density of large fills. They also make solvent sprays specifically for this purpose.
 
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Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #29 on: June 03, 2020, 05:55:41 pm »
making a professionnal pcb is so cheap today that I don't bother anymore with making my pcb at home.
not speaking of the disposal of chemical acids.
I would better invest in a small cnc to make small pcb quickly by milling, but not a toner transfert method.
Absolutely not. PCB milling is a pain in the ass.

The toner transfer method works great if done properly. This means buying real toner transfer paper, not old catalog pages, using a proper laminator, not a freaking clothes iron, and real etchant, not witches brews of acids and peroxide. Done that way, I can consistently etch clean 10 mil (0.25mm) traces, and probably thinner, I just haven’t tried yet.

At some point, I do wanna try the acetone vapor approach to improving density of large fills. They also make solvent sprays specifically for this purpose.

I found that the toner spray idea did make the toner smoother and more even,  but was unable to make up for there not being enough toner present on large black areas in the first place.

 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #30 on: June 03, 2020, 08:54:43 pm »
The printer isn't that important, it's the toner which matters. Some types of toner work great, some are ok, and others don't work at all. In some cases an alternative toner cartridge can be better than a genuine one. And if you found the right one, the vendor could change the toner type in a few years, but that's less likely for genuine toner cartridges.
Like Moffy, I had one of the few cheap Brother printers which did not work for toner transfer. I think most of their printers are the same flavor of vanilla as all the others, but there are/were a few with a higher melting point toner.

Dumping/refilling a cartridge with generic toner powder worked for a pretty long time.* But the toner did cumulative damage to the printer. The print quality degraded over time, until the printer was useless. Swapping back to normal Brother toner didn't fix it, so I guessed it was the drum, at the time. You could buy replacement drums for that particular model; they were separate from the toner cartridges. But I ended up buying a new printer for different reasons, so I don't know if that would have fixed it, for sure. But the drum is the only other easily replaceable part, and it cost $100, IIRC... so in any case, the toner might be what matters, but your printer might not like normal toner. I recall trying to carefully clean the drum, but I didn't get anywhere.

*It lasted maybe the most of one full refill cartridge? I was also using a lot of magazine paper at the time. I don't know; maybe that affected the printer?
« Last Edit: June 03, 2020, 09:34:30 pm by KL27x »
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #31 on: June 03, 2020, 09:12:02 pm »
Mind you that to me, the bottom copper layer of a mostly single-sided board up to maybe 3x4" is what qualifies as a large solid area of resist. I initially experienced pin-holing in these solid areas using some types of toner transfer paper and methods. But they largely disappeared when I did 2 things.

I pre-etch my boards to give the surface a porous texture, then I transfer at a very high temperature to ensure the toner is fully melted to liquid. The Pulsar paper comes off with water and leaves no fibers. Because of the pre-etch, there are no smudges or fattened traces. This method makes for a near 100% success rate for the transfer. The transfer will look just a tiny bit ragged on the edges under a loupe, but after the etch is done, the board is just as good and usually better, compared to a low temp transfer that has crisper edges after the transfer is done but will often have more ragged traces by the time the etch is complete (usually in only select spots, while most of the board is great). The pre-etched hi temp transfer looks worse, but what you see is what you will get.

I also got away from acid peroxide and onto proper cupric etchant.

So I'm not sure if it was one or the other or maybe both having an effect. But for w/e reason, I no longer get pinholes in solid pours. I had some of that green foil stuff, quite a bit in fact, for which I paid good money. And I binned it. Including an unopened package. That's how little difference it makes to me, now. It wasn't worth even the little space it takes up, not even for an emergency-has-to-be-right board. The foil step was now extraneous/redundant, as far as I was concerned, at the time.

Check your print, carefully. And check your resist, after the transfer. It might be a little different, depending on your methods. Label backing paper in particular might have some issues with the print itself. But on many transfer papers, I think you'll find a pretty good print. So while a problem perhaps exists, where larger solid areas reach some limit of toner density due to printer technology, there are potentially other more imortant factors which you may be able to affect in the rest of your process.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2020, 10:15:28 pm by KL27x »
 

Offline moffy

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2020, 12:09:49 am »
KL27x, you say you transfer at high temp? How exactly do you do that?
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #33 on: June 04, 2020, 06:23:45 am »
KL27x, you say you transfer at high temp? How exactly do you do that?
I took the plastic cover off my laminator, so I can shoot the board with a 1200W heat gun at full blast right as the board enters the laminator. I have measured temp of a piece of 4x6" 0.06" FR-4 board exiting the back of the laminator at 260F, max, after several passes. With the heat gun blasting it, it exits out the back of the laminator at about 360F. Even at full blast, slowly waving the heat gun over the board at point blank, it causes no damage on regular size boards. With the super thin stuff (0.007" thick FR-4), I have to back off just a touch, else the paper thin board will bubble. 

So the deal is, I pre-etch the board by dipping it in my cupric chloride etchant for a few seconds, let it drip dry for 5-10 seconds, then dunk the board in tap water. Dry it off with the heat gun. While it's still warm, put the paper on and run it thru the laminator once, leaving the heat gun to warm up on full blast. Then I shoot the board with the heat gun on the second and final pass through the laminator. I have the habit of flipping the board on the second pass to blast the opposite side from the transfer paper (Pulsar). But when I do a double-sided board, I shoot directly over the paper on the second pass, and that works fine, too.

It doesn't matter how hot the board/paper gets.

I just screwed a wood board to the bottom of the laminator for a base, to make it stable, and I used it like that for 8-9 years. I finally enclosed the mess of loose wires, switch, twist on terminals, and LED board into an MDF housing over the side of the laminator, seeing as it has lasted this long and doesn't seem any worse for the wear. 
 

Offline moffy

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #34 on: June 04, 2020, 06:32:23 am »
Thanks KL27x for the info, sounds interesting. I was looking for cupric chloride in Australia and it doesn't look to be very available. What do you think then of Ferric chloride?
 

Online xavier60

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #35 on: June 04, 2020, 06:49:33 am »
The remaining  green liquid after a batch of ferric chloride has been well used is cupric chloride. That's why the mix seems to keep etching PCBs although rather slowly.
Spent H2O2/HCL mix is also cupric chloride.
After a lot of reading, I'm still not totally certain how to maintain a cupric chloride solution, apart from knowing that it needs some time between uses to regenerate by absorbing oxygen and adding some HCL  occasionally.
Warm, it will etch a PCB in 8 minutes for me.
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Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2020, 06:55:10 am »
Thanks KL27x for the info, sounds interesting. I was looking for cupric chloride in Australia and it doesn't look to be very available. What do you think then of Ferric chloride?

Ferric chloride is excellent.
The remaining  green liquid after a batch of ferric chloride has been well used is cupric chloride. That's why the mix seems to keep etching PCBs although rather slowly.
Spent H2O2/HCL mix is also cupric chloride.
After a lot of reading, I'm still not totally certain how to maintain a cupric chloride solution, apart from knowing that it needs some time between uses to regenerate by absorbing oxygen and adding some HCL  occasionally.
Warm, it will etch a PCB in 8 minutes for me.
Making/having cupric chloride and actually etching with cupric chloride are 2 different things. If you put peroxide in it, you are technically etching (a little bit) with cupric chloride, but 95+ percent of your board is being etched by acid peroxide, directly. The cupric reaction is completely bypassed. So you can't get professional-level etching with cupric chloride unless you try a little harder than that; you are probably best to use ferric or ammonium persulfate if you want to get really good etch quality. There's no way cupric will etch a board in 8 minutes; that's the acid peroxide talking.

I use air-regenerated cupric. This requires a very large surface area of contact with air. In my case, I achieve this with a very high volume of very fine bubbles. I ran out of hydrogen peroxide about 5 years ago. I used up the last of it cleaning cupric stains off concrete. No peroxide ever gets added to my cupric etchant. There's no point. Peroxide will recharge cupric, instantly. But a fully charged tank of cupric will etch barely more than diddly squat; it's the peroxide in there that makes your neon green "cupric" etch. Real cupric is opaque spinach green, very dark, while it is etching. And it is much slower. It takes me at least 15 minutes to etch even a half oz board. 1 oz takes about 30-45 minutes.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2020, 07:16:33 am by KL27x »
 

Online Domagoj T

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #37 on: June 04, 2020, 07:14:01 am »
snip
I adopted your heatgun tip from an earlier discussion about toner transfer and it's been working fine for a while now. It's especially effective on thicker boards, but I'm getting nowhere near 360F (180C). I get good transfer when my IR thermometer says 80+ C (180F). It's just a cheap ebay thermometer, but the boards are "barely-able-to-hold-by-edges" hot, so I believe the thermometer is at least in the right ballpark. The difference may be that I use vinyl foils for transfer, not paper. They're cheap, available anywhere, double duty as sticky tape, and most importantly available in transparent and translucent versions, which is great for double sided boards.
I also tried your pre-etch tip, but got miserable results. The difference is I used hydrochloric acid + peroxide, so that might be the reason for failure, and on that note, I know it's quite a job, but I'd like to ask you if you would mind writing up a step by step guide for all things cupric chloride related (chemical aspects of initial production, etching and maintaining, as well as etching process, storage). Just like xavier, I tried making sense of it but different articles on the net got me confused.
 

Online xavier60

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2020, 07:23:26 am »
I haven't added hydrogen peroxide to it since I started my batch of cupric chloride 3 years ago, HCL only.
Before I started pre-etching, I had this annoying problem, I think caused by the detergent I was using to clean the PCB.
At the start of etching, I could see shiny patches on the copper that would eventually take way longer to etch than most of the PCB resulting in areas of over etching.
Now I give the PCB a quick scrub with stainless steel wool then maybe 10 seconds of pre-etch. I repeat if the copper doesn't have uniform matte appearance.

EDIT: The SG of my batch is now 1.154
« Last Edit: June 04, 2020, 07:46:31 am by xavier60 »
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Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #39 on: June 04, 2020, 07:32:53 am »
DomagojT:
Well, I couldn't get a consistent reading off bare copper with my IR gun. I was measuring on bare FR-4, not copper clad. I dunno if that makes the difference in temp you're seeing. But so-hot-you-can-barely-hold-it-by-the-edges sounds exactly right. :)

If you don't do the pre-etch, you must get some smearing, though? I don't know how other etchants will work for this part, though.

Cupric? There's tons of info out there. Just one part people get wrong. Everything seems to think that adding peroxide is ok. It's only ok if you're ok with etching with acid peroxide and getting the etch-accuracy of acid peroxide. Which, on the scale of proper etchants, can't really get any worse. It's as bad as it gets.

I'm no expert; I just know what works for me. I use a plastic bubble wand, the kind that makes a fine bubble curtain in an aquarium. I run compressed air through this wand, regulated to somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 psi. And it makes mad fine bubbles. A 125 psi 5 gallon air tank will run 10" section of this wand for about an hour. This 10" section of bubblewand is at the bottom of a thin, vertical etch tank.

Using this setup, I etch a 1 oz board in about 30-45 minutes. A half oz board takes maybe 15-20 minutes. I don't know how good I'm running; maybe cupric can etch much faster, yet. But I don't know how xacier60 is etching anything in 8 minutes using plain cupric. I'm pretty sure cupric will never be as fast as ferric, even.

Yeah, I wet scrub the board with a large gauge stainless steel wool and a dab of dish soap, then rinse, then pre-etch, then rinse again, then blowdry. Yes, the pre-etch screens out oil spots; if the board is clean, it will be a uniform color (kinda peachy/rosy, with my etchant), if you blow-dry it. (If you let it air dry, it will turn black with white/green streaks; and that works fine, too; just don't wait too long before transferring, or the surface will start to disintegrate into powder).
« Last Edit: June 04, 2020, 07:51:08 am by KL27x »
 

Online xavier60

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2020, 08:08:30 am »
I was being overly conservative. I have just test etched a small scrap of 1 oz PCB in 7 minutes.
Temperature makes a large difference to etching rate. I float my sloshing container in hot tap water.

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Online Domagoj T

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #41 on: June 04, 2020, 08:39:15 am »
I measure the temperature of the backing paper (vinyl foil is laminated to regular or tracing paper), so while accuracy is questionable, the consistency should be there and I shouldn't be getting reflections from metal surface.
No, I don't get smearing unless I overdo it with the heat gun, but at that point I'm approaching the bubbling point of FR4. Since I apparently don't need such high temperature anyway, I don't risk it.

Can you leave it unsupervised for majority of the 30-45 minutes etch, or do you need to babysit it? Do you get undercutting?
Do you need to bubble the etchant after/before the etch to revitalize it, or is it enough to bubble it during etching alone?
 

Offline RoGeorge

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #42 on: June 04, 2020, 08:46:55 am »
I was being overly conservative. I have just test etched a small scrap of 1 oz PCB in 7 minutes.
Temperature makes a large difference to etching rate. I float my sloshing container in hot tap water.

Search for the "PCB etching ziplock bag sponge" or similar.  Works without heating, etches in seconds instead of minutes, uses only a teaspoon of ferric chloride, no mess and no need to clean the etching tray or tank afterwards, and so on.

Something similar with this, except you can put a small piece of dishwashing sponge and the PCB inside a (ziplock) plastic bag, then dispose the bag and the sponge:

« Last Edit: June 04, 2020, 08:51:04 am by RoGeorge »
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #43 on: June 04, 2020, 08:57:25 am »
I was being overly conservative. I have just test etched a small scrap of 1 oz PCB in 7 minutes.
Temperature makes a large difference to etching rate. I float my sloshing container in hot tap water.
I don't do heaters, so there's that. But in the summer, I'm peaking out at upwards of 110F. :) Love the internet: hot tap water should apparently be no hotter than 120F in my country.

I also run my tank lean on acid. Higher acid increases the etch rate fairly significantly, IIRC. But it also decreases the etching accuracy. My internet source was some paper by a guy name.. Sechel? Something like that.*** My own experience is limited and biased, but it seems to match. I routinely run my tank devoid of acid. I can tell because the etching hits a wall, but also the head on the etchant grows and bubbles over like crazy (adding acid at this point looks like a Gas-X commercial). The etchant will also locally turn blue where you squirt in plain water, when the acid is really low/out. I use maybe a turkey baster of 30% HCl per 6x9" panel, depending on the coverage. I routinely add some acid just before etching each successive board, and/or during etching if the process stalls out.

*** I found it http://techref.massmind.org/techref/pcb/etch/CuCl2.htm    ; but in fact, Seychell's entire paper entirely ignores accuracy and is focused on speed, alone; the only con he seems to mention regarding excess acid is the amount of fumes. Adam Seychell's focus on etching speed may have got some people off track. And his estimations for amount of recharged etchant needed to etch a given area of 1 oz copper appear to be extremely optimistic to me, but maybe that was affected by acid concentration.*%* From the opening statement, it seems like he wrote this specifically with the idea of a hobbyist using a vertical bubble tank for strictly air-regeneration, but he never describes what is requires to achieve this in practice. Many people believe you throw an aquarium bubbler in there, and you're good to go. That will work if you use a 2-3 gallon tank for a small board once every day or 2. For a vertical etching tank, 2-3 gallons is pretty big. And when you're done with the corrected revision, a day or 2 is a long time to wait to spin the new board. Most of us might only etch boards once or twice a year, if that. But when we are doing it, we're sometimes burning the candle on both ends to solve problems that need to be solved. Air regeneration is simply not practical with an aquarium pump. It would be appropriate for tiny-scale, regular production, of a same-board-a-day, or whatnot. But we don't work like that. A big part of the allure of toner transfer is you are completely free to make mistakes and immediately fix them. Ordering boards, there are a lot of details you might forget and then remember after submitting the order. Or you might not notice your obvious mistake until you receive the boards, week or 3 later.

I measure the temperature of the backing paper (vinyl foil is laminated to regular or tracing paper), so while accuracy is questionable, the consistency should be there and I shouldn't be getting reflections from metal surface.
No, I don't get smearing unless I overdo it with the heat gun, but at that point I'm approaching the bubbling point of FR4. Since I apparently don't need such high temperature anyway, I don't risk it.

Can you leave it unsupervised for majority of the 30-45 minutes etch, or do you need to babysit it? Do you get undercutting?
Do you need to bubble the etchant after/before the etch to revitalize it, or is it enough to bubble it during etching alone?

I have never even set a timer; the boards are fine to sit in there for an extra hour, even. The traces start to get thinner, but it is a long time before there are any problems with my 8/8 boards. The traces get thinner, but thinner all over, and not more ragged. It's crazy. I have forgotten a board overnight, once. Obviously, the air ran out after the first 1-1.5 hours. The board was ruined and most of the resist was floating at the top. But a lot of the traces were still there, only they were 2 mils thick. I will never get anything looking like a rat chewed on it; it doesn't happen.

It's enough to bubble it during etching, alone. But if you wanted to, it takes maybe (wild guess) 5 to 7 minutes for my fine bubble blaster to turn the cola in my 0.4L tank back to mountain dew.* So if you wanted to get a little head start on the next board, I suppose you might bother to regenerate it. In a matter of weeks, it will regenerate on its own, just sitting there. 

Adam Seychell: "If you want to be pedantic then the solution can be aerated after each etching job until the color is a completely transparent bright green, i.e. Cu1+ concentration  << 1 g/L."

*So my system isn't going to win any races, but it finishes a board on one setup/air-tank, unsupervised, and that's where I stopped caring. So I don't know how much faster you could get with better regeneration. The original plan, using a top end fish tank bubbler, it did not do the job. I think those only get up to 4 psi, or so. Using an aquarium pump to put air through either a tube with holes or stone or wand, nope. That doesn't regenerate the cupric for squat. It took hours to recharge a tank vs minutes with the higher volume of finer bubbles I get with compressed air/wand. I couldn't practically etch anything without adding peroxide, using wimpy bubblers... yield was terrible on fine pitch boards... and yet it took me months or maybe even years before I was convinced of this, myself, that the majority of the internet is completely wrong, thinking you can etch with cupric... then recharge it, after; uhhh, no. Unless you use a relatively enormous quantity of etchant for the board.

edit: http://www.chemcut.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Chemcut_Bulletin_8_Cupri_Chloride_Proces_-Parameters.pdf
According to this info, increasing free acid increases the etch speed, but it also proportionally increases the amount of relative undercutting. Temperature changes the etch speed, but it has essentially no effect on undercutting. So running at 130-160F will increase the speed, if your equipment can handle it. But for a home user doing one-offs, a heater might not matter as much. The specific gravity apparently hardly effects speed at all, as long as you're within a wide band. And it, also, has almost no effect on undercutting. According to this link, you can etch a 1 oz board in something around 100 seconds** using cupric chloride in a heated spray etcher. Cu2 vs Cu1 is measured with an electrical probe in order to determine the amount of regenerative agents added in the recharging loop (chlorine gas or 35% peroxide), and the tank is run with some Cu1 left in there, to prevent excess reagent from being added (excess chlorine gas would escape into the atmosphere; excess H2O2 would turn the etchant into mountain dew acid peroxide). So for a home user trying to get the best possible accuracy and not concerned too much with absolute speed: keep the acid down, don't put peroxide in there, and be patient. Heater can technically increase speed, but air regeneration rate will inevitably be the weak link, anyways. As long as the etchant is not frozen, it will etch boards at a rate at least comparable to warm ammonium persulfate, at the worst; it'll take longer when it's cold, but accuracy will not be affected; it won't be practically unusable, like cold ammonium persulfate etchant.

** I think with spray etching, you will perhaps be able to keep a higher concentration of Cu2:Cu1 on the surface of the board? I mean, you are continually flooding the surface of the board with near-fullly charged etchant. It would also be reasonable to assume there will be a higher rate of atmospheric oxidation of copper; hence there could be more etching via acid directly dissolving copper oxides.

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
*%* Let's examine closer. From his paper, Seychell states you should be able to etch half-coverage 1 square decimeter of 1oz copper with 1.6L of charged etchant. Who knows if this means etch time of hours or more, due to scraping the bottom of the barrel at the end? But anyhow, a square decimeter is 15.5 square inches. A 4x6" board is 48 square inches, double-sided. So it should take... 4.9 L of charged cupric to etch an average 4x6" double-sided 1 oz board. This is 1.3 US gallons.

6x9" double-sided (I do this size, regularly) would take 11.15L, or 3 US gallons. My tank holds ~3.4% of that. With my setup, it's all about the regeneration, because this is the only way it is practical (i.e. 99% of us should stick with ferric or acid peroxide; and yeah, you can call it etching with cupric, if you like). With 3.4% of the volume, I can crank out these boards in succession if and when needed. Refill the air, swap the boards, add some acid and water (1 turkey baster of acid vs 3 more gallons of green koolaid).
« Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 08:27:26 am by KL27x »
 

Offline Pawelr98

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #44 on: June 04, 2020, 01:25:52 pm »
Myself I use an Ricoh Aficio SP 100 I got for free from my uncle.
OEM toner I guess (never changed it, I only use it for PCB making).

For toner transfer I use an old soviet iron, which is set to blazing hot temperatures.
Beeing old it's rather heavy and has a flat surface (no steam holes or anything modern irons have).

After making the transfer I just peel away the paper while still hot.
Other people recommend soaking the paper in water but the hot method is quicker and easier.

Any imperfections I fix using a pen marker.
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #45 on: June 05, 2020, 08:58:24 am »
I measure the temperature of the backing paper (vinyl foil is laminated to regular or tracing paper), so while accuracy is questionable, the consistency should be there and I shouldn't be getting reflections from metal surface.
No, I don't get smearing unless I overdo it with the heat gun, but at that point I'm approaching the bubbling point of FR4. Since I apparently don't need such high temperature anyway, I don't risk it.
Interesting. I wonder if the vinyl seals against a clean board, keeping the melted toner in place?
And when you tried the pre-etch, perhaps the porous surface leaked (or sucked in via capillary action) some of the toner from out of this perfect "mold?" I previously mentioned my transfers definitely gain some fuzz around the edges vs a "normal transfer." But nothing that really shows up much after the etch (and I mean under a microscope). It sounds like your high temp + vinyl method leaves very clean edges, comparable to the "normal transfer."

I suppose the paper is on the back? To help feed through the printer? I bet it helps to keep the vinyl from melting, too. It sounds like it's holding up pretty well, though, to the heat gun.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 09:01:23 am by KL27x »
 

Online Domagoj T

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #46 on: June 05, 2020, 10:45:37 am »
Yeah, for one sided boards I print the artwork on plain A4, then stick the self adhesive vinyl only over the area where the artwork is and print again on that same paper. I do this because as the PCB gets larger it gets trickier to stick the vinyl to the paper without creases and bubbles (standard 10 x 15 cm / 4'' x 6'' is not a problem, but for bigger boards it is fiddly). For double sided PCBs I again pront on paper, but then lay tracing paper over that and stick the vinyl on the tracing paper. Simply because it makes aligning much easier.
Vinyl sticks to the PCB but only lightly (comes off without tearing or stretching), and after transfer it does appear as if it's pressed to accommodate the thickens of toner, so it might be sealing.

When I tried pre-etch, I got splotchy copper surface that toner wouldn't stick to reliably, so a lot of traces wouldn't transfer.

Anyway, this is what I can achieve without any special precautions. I don't have any raw boards around at the moment, so this assembled on will do (I should really clean the flux a bit better :-[):

The thin vertical trace that goes between pins is 15 mil (0,381 mm), the thicker ones are 30 mil (0,762 mm).

Oh, as standard practice, I tin all my traces as soon as I strip the toner. Black smudges are toner residue, and I have no idea how to get that off reliably. Acetone soaked rag sometimes leaves them and they never go away.
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #47 on: June 05, 2020, 01:12:28 pm »
Yeah, for one sided boards I print the artwork on plain A4, then stick the self adhesive vinyl only over the area where the artwork is and print again on that same paper. [...]

I have also tried printing on vinyl, using that exact method - it worked really well for me too.  The results were not quite as sharp as the Pulsar paper when I tried it, but definitely playing in the same league and maybe if I had persevered with different temperatures etc. it could get as good.

Another thing I've been meaning to try, is to cut the PCB artwork out of vinyl (I have a cutting machine) and using it as a straight mask against the etchant -  you can make surprisingly fine artwork with a vinyl cutting machine - and definitely no problems with pin holes or large black fills!

 

Online Domagoj T

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #48 on: June 05, 2020, 01:19:23 pm »
I've been thinking about that too, but I don't have the vinyl cutter. What I'm not particularly crazy about with that idea is picking all the tiny bits of cut outs that need to go.
The results would need to be drastically better to justify all that work, and I'm not sure just how much better can it get and how much better than 10 or 20 mil I need. After all, for me, the biggest issue with diy PCB production are vias, not traces.
 

Offline poorchava

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #49 on: June 05, 2020, 03:02:15 pm »
I've stopped etching boards myself due to availability of cheap Chinese services, but when I was doing that, I was using HP4000. Actually I bought it used for 50€ and have had it for 12 years now. And it's still going. I only had to buy network card for it due to lack of LPT in my PC. Old as hell, but reliable as hell for home use.

On the other hand I've found that toner type is more important than then printer itself. In my case aftermarket replacement gave better results than genuine HP toner.
I love the smell of FR4 in the morning!
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #50 on: June 05, 2020, 07:15:29 pm »
I've been thinking about that too, but I don't have the vinyl cutter. What I'm not particularly crazy about with that idea is picking all the tiny bits of cut outs that need to go.
The results would need to be drastically better to justify all that work, and I'm not sure just how much better can it get and how much better than 10 or 20 mil I need. After all, for me, the biggest issue with diy PCB production are vias, not traces.

Agree.  Maybe some kind of hybrid method where it is only used for large black areas...

I'll be playing a bit with PCBs in the weekend, after getting inspired by this thread LOL!  :D

I'm going to try to find out the max size of black area that my printer can do reliably...
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #51 on: June 05, 2020, 08:59:19 pm »
...Vinyl sticks to the PCB but only lightly (comes off without tearing or stretching), and after transfer it does appear as if it's pressed to accommodate the thickens of toner, so it might be sealing...
Thanks. That's interesting.

Quote
When I tried pre-etch, I got splotchy copper surface that toner wouldn't stick to reliably, so a lot of traces wouldn't transfer.
Barring some difference between acid peroxide and cupric, it's possible you didn't get the board hot enough, yet. It definitely takes a bit higher temp to get the toner to transfer to my pre-etched boards. I suspect I would melt vinyl they way I do my transfers. Anyone with a 1200W heat gun knows how hot it gets. Blowdryer x 1000.

Quote
Anyway, this is what I can achieve without any special precautions. I don't have any raw boards around at the moment, so this assembled on will do
This is better than anything I ever etched with HCl and peroxide!

Quote
Oh, as standard practice, I tin all my traces as soon as I strip the toner. Black smudges are toner residue, and I have no idea how to get that off reliably. Acetone soaked rag sometimes leaves them and they never go away.
I found that acetone will draw some of the toner right into the FR-4. Depending on the color and thickness of your FR-4, it can be very noticeable, this darkening/discoloration. (On a high voltage board, it might even have practical implications? There's carbon particles in the toner to make it black!) Since my boards have the icky pre-etch surface, I just scrub the toner away same way I prepped the board to begin with. I wet scrub with stainless steel wool and a drop of dish soap. Pat the board dry, and then brush a thin layer of rosin flux over the board.

SilverSolder: Good luck. I think with some persistence and attention, you might find the printer isn't the limiting factor.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 09:46:00 pm by KL27x »
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #52 on: June 07, 2020, 01:37:10 pm »
By overprinting a thin 8" x 11" frame several times on the same piece of paper, I noticed that you can't rely on the printer (Laserjet 2300) being more accurate than about plus minus 0.8mm across the page,  in other words, the printout is going to be slightly distorted depending on roller slippage as the sheet of paper worms its way through the paper path, shimmying, rotating, and generally misbehaving along the way (from a pixel peeping perspective).

The best accuracy on this printer is in the top left quadrant of the page, which consistently got less than 0.25mm distortion.

This isn't something anyone would ever notice on normal printed output.  But the precision is definitely not as good as the two inkjet printers that I compared with.  Both the inkjets I tested had less than 0.1mm error across similarly sized artwork.

So this is yet another thing to consider when you choose your process -  i.e. there is an absolute limit to the precision that a laser printer can do, so if you are trying to make a very large double sided PCB (like 8" x 10"), you will probably struggle to get things lined up accurately across the whole board (your printer may be better, or worse, than mine...  try the test with a large thin frame!).

Then there is the issue of large black areas not receiving enough toner...  I brute forced that,  by overprinting the same page twice,  with slightly shrunk artwork on the second pass (to avoid registration issues)!  Works a treat, completely eliminates the problem of "not enough toner" on large areas.

1. Why persevere?  - toner transfer is still simpler and faster than photolithography.   Just keep in mind that if your board is larger than 4-5 inches, the lack of precision can become a real issue when aligning front and back.  For some boards, this won't matter (single sided, for example).

2. Why not just get it made in China? -  it is super cheap to have small PCBs made in China.   But try getting a quote for an 8" by 11" PCB with 2oz copper...


Basically, if you make PCBs at home...   there is an argument for being able to do both toner transfer and photolithography, depending on what you are doing!
 

Offline m3vuv

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #53 on: June 07, 2020, 04:53:24 pm »
i had similar issues with my hp laserjet cp-1515n printer,even sanding the copper clad with p600 wet or dry and cleaning with acetone the toner mostly wouldnt stick to the board,brought a cheap copy black toner cartridge now it works every time,just my experiance.
 

Offline m3vuv

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #54 on: June 07, 2020, 05:04:29 pm »
i use hcl and peroxide mix for the etchant,when it stops etching i have a small aquarium pump bubbling air through the solution,i use a small plastic takeaway curry container,i put the solution in the microwave for a min first,then use it,normaly does a 3x6 board in about 10 mins.
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #55 on: June 07, 2020, 05:54:28 pm »
i use hcl and peroxide mix for the etchant,when it stops etching i have a small aquarium pump bubbling air through the solution,i use a small plastic takeaway curry container,i put the solution in the microwave for a min first,then use it,normaly does a 3x6 board in about 10 mins.
But you can't do that without peroxide, right? I don't understand why reality is different for me and for the rest of the internet. According to Adam Seychell's figures, you need 1.85L of cupric etchant in order to etch a 1oz single-sided 3x6" board. My reality matches this. How much etchant do you warm up in your curry container?

And an aquarium bubbler won't regenerate that "in real time" as you etch, IME. It will take multiple hours.
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #56 on: June 07, 2020, 06:04:37 pm »
My final attempt at a fish bubbler was a 4 output bubbler with 4 bubblers in 3-4L tank. This was terrible. I etched scores of boards with it, successfully. But in practice I was constantly adding acid and peroxide to get boards to finish etching. And etch quality was not significantly better than etching with acid peroxide.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 06:16:30 pm by KL27x »
 

Offline m3vuv

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #57 on: June 07, 2020, 06:13:19 pm »
the amount of liquid is normaly about 1/3 of a pint,i start of with peroxide,then after a couple of boards just use the pump to bubble air thru it,i normaly heat the mix to about the same temp you drink coffee at,i find it slows as it cools tho so normaly pop it back in the microwave halfway thru,i seem to get good results,when i finish i put the solution in an old coffee jar and reuse it,seems to last forever.
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #58 on: June 07, 2020, 06:18:43 pm »
the amount of liquid is normaly about 1/3 of a pint,i start of with peroxide,then after a couple of boards just use the pump to bubble air thru it,i normaly heat the mix to about the same temp you drink coffee at,i find it slows as it cools tho so normaly pop it back in the microwave halfway thru,i seem to get good results,when i finish i put the solution in an old coffee jar and reuse it,seems to last forever.
Gotcha. That's really not much different than using freshly mixed acid peroxide, in my experience. It's good to do it like this, to keep your waste concentrated, but it's not really giving you significantly higher etching accuracy, IME. FYI and FWIW. Hence, the thousands of people who are intentionally making cupric (with no way to practically benefit from it), are just making more waste for no reason. Seems like out of every thousand people who do it, 990 of them just created ionic copper waste for no reason. Cuz aquarium bubbler=cool.

Your bubbler is window dressing.* I wonder if xaver60 will also provide further details to his magic brew. He states no peroxide in the last 3 years and etches in 7 minutes. But I imagine he must be putting a tiny test strip of board into a beaker of this stuff. Scaled up for a decent sized board, you also have to scale up that beaker. Then you find the practical issues.

There was a thread from maybe 3-6 months ago. Guy built a gorgeous vertical bubble etch tank, 3L large, all plexiglass, with CAD-modeled parts. Filled with cupric. On his first few square inch test board, the 3L of cupric turned dark and slowed down, then he added peroxide. When he upgrades the regeneration/bubbler, he can see what cupric really does.

*Peroxide is a really powerful oxidizer. It's very unstable and really wants to donate that oxygen. Which in this case, it does to the elemental copper. Cupric can't etch copper oxide, at all. This is the reason that you need some excess of acid in order to etch with cupric; the acid is necessary to remove any copper oxides that will incidentally form due to dissolved oxygen and/or airbubbles in the solution. When you put peroxide in the solution, the copper is very aggressively oxidized, and you block the cupric reaction almost completely, for practical purposes, no matter how weak you keep the acid. The acid pathway is the only way that copper oxide is going to be removed.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2020, 08:12:24 pm by KL27x »
 

Offline moffy

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #59 on: June 08, 2020, 04:46:26 am »
I watched this video:
Truly beautiful detail from a flatbed inkjet printer. Don't know how to get one at a reasonable price.
 
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Online Domagoj T

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #60 on: June 08, 2020, 06:02:20 am »
That looks very nice, but how does it perform with double sided boards? For me the ability to make them is crucial.
I suppose you could make templates with registration marks where you drill holes in bare PCB and have pins on the printer bed.
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #61 on: June 08, 2020, 06:34:08 am »
Hmm, that's a good question. If you don't move the magnets and just flip the board, that only works if you were perfectly centered and square to begin with. Seeing as all the work that went into this, I would guess he can figure out a solution, if he hasn't already.

I make boards like this regularly, no problem, with toner transfer. This looks exactly like one of my boards, routing and clearances and trace sizes. 0.2mm is roughly 8 mils, which is my default. The traces in the bottom center/left of his board look a bit rough, though. I mentioned this earlier, but I don't remember if it was in this thread. About not leaving wide spaces between traces, unless necessary. Even if there's extra unused space available, I would have bundled those traces together to maintain 0.2mm spacing!

I didn't try 0.1mm. When I tried 6/6 (0.15mm/0.15mm), it worked fine over 99% of the board. For a small board it might work. The problem was a break only every so often (could be seen in the print, itself, prior to transfer). So that short test pattern at 0.1mm/0.2mm looked good, but it might not be the end-all.

Otherwords, this looks good. Execution is impressive. Results not that much. The setup/alignment and extra-custom things you have to do might not even save time but add it, until this is more refined. And I can already make that board 30 times out of 30, no problem. Cash money on it. Sure one might go bad, but I'll bet on it.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 07:08:20 am by KL27x »
 

Offline moffy

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #62 on: June 08, 2020, 09:02:35 am »
KL27x, glad to hear of the quality you can get from toner transfer. Going to buy a new laser printer tomorrow, the KYOCERA P2040dw to replace my older Brother. You can get toner replacement for $40 per 7,000 sheets (5% coverage). I'll see how it does for toner transfer.
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #63 on: June 08, 2020, 12:04:28 pm »
Hmm, that's a good question. If you don't move the magnets and just flip the board, that only works if you were perfectly centered and square to begin with. Seeing as all the work that went into this, I would guess he can figure out a solution, if he hasn't already.

I make boards like this regularly, no problem, with toner transfer. This looks exactly like one of my boards, routing and clearances and trace sizes. 0.2mm is roughly 8 mils, which is my default. The traces in the bottom center/left of his board look a bit rough, though. I mentioned this earlier, but I don't remember if it was in this thread. About not leaving wide spaces between traces, unless necessary. Even if there's extra unused space available, I would have bundled those traces together to maintain 0.2mm spacing!

I didn't try 0.1mm. When I tried 6/6 (0.15mm/0.15mm), it worked fine over 99% of the board. For a small board it might work. The problem was a break only every so often (could be seen in the print, itself, prior to transfer). So that short test pattern at 0.1mm/0.2mm looked good, but it might not be the end-all.

Otherwords, this looks good. Execution is impressive. Results not that much. The setup/alignment and extra-custom things you have to do might not even save time but add it, until this is more refined. And I can already make that board 30 times out of 30, no problem. Cash money on it. Sure one might go bad, but I'll bet on it.

To my mind, inkjet printing directly on a possibly slightly warped PCB is less "ideal" than to printing on gel-coated transparency (which requires no modification of the printer, and can be re-used again and again, possibly saving work/time later?).

 

Offline moffy

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #64 on: June 09, 2020, 12:01:22 am »
What papers do you guys use for the toner transfer? Have ordered my printer but unsure about paper.
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #65 on: June 09, 2020, 04:13:05 pm »
What papers do you guys use for the toner transfer? Have ordered my printer but unsure about paper.
I have yellow Chinese toner transfer paper from eBay or Ali. Works well. My results have been far better than what people who use magazine paper and other such hacks report.
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #66 on: June 09, 2020, 04:58:58 pm »

I get nice results with the Pulsar paper.  Their customer support is good/helpful too (small business) by email or phone.
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #67 on: June 09, 2020, 09:13:20 pm »
I have used successfully made boards with plain printer paper and magazine/catalog paper. Value of your time has to be very low for this to be worth it, though. The only thing I've read about which I never got to work was photo paper. Was a guy (in Denmark) who swore up and down about a specific brand and sku of photo paper. I never figured out the special sauce to make that work, but perhaps the formula was different in America or maybe it had changed.

If you make more than $1.00 an hour at your day job, you are probably better off buying transfer paper. From what is easily available in the US, it seems like there's 3 choices.

1. PnP Blue: this is the most sophisticated stuff. It is a lamination of 2 different plastic sheets. The side you print on is rough-textured to help prevent the toner from squishing/smearing. Where the toner sticks, this entire top sheet tears away from the backing sheet, covering the toner transfer with a layer of thin plastic. It's around a dollar a sheet in 10 packs. But you can buy 100 packs for like 65 dollars, if you use a lot of it.

2. Pulsar: this is the most expensive in the US. It's a little more than a dollar per sheet in 10 packs, purchased conveniently from Mouser or Digikey. It's a very thick and stiff paper, almost a thin cardstock, coated on one side with dextrin. Print quality doesn't appear to be affected by the dextrin, and after you transfer, you dunk the board in water for 20 seconds; the paper peels away leaving just the toner. According to the manufacturer, it is sensitive to humidity and can go bad after so long. I have never experienced this, but I don't get high humidity. Since there is no retail bulk discount, there's no major incentive to stock up on it, anyway.

3. Yellow paper off eBay. I'm 99% sure this is printer label backing paper, sold on eBay as toner transfer paper. It is dirty cheap. But the 100 pack I bought came all rolled up in a tube. So the paper is very thin and curly and I dunno how other people use it. I imagine they have a system to uncurling it, or maybe even tape it to regular paper... but that would defeat the cheapness. It would be nice if you could just put the 100 sheets in your printer feed tray. Print, cut out what you need, and toss the other 90% blank paper into the bin. But at least with my printer I don't see that working. 

There are pros and cons, depending how you do the transfer. I've used over 100 sheets of PnP Blue. That was a lot of boards; results are great, but I experienced a significant amount of failures/redo's either in transfer or after the etch. I'm not suggesting that someone else can't get it to work 100%. But for me, I had failures probably in the lower double digits % for relatively small SS boards; the double-sided boards is what really made this bad for me. The method I have settled on for the last many years is too hot for PnP; it melts. I use Pulsar. Now, if I need one board, I make one board... not 2-4, just in case. I haven't failed/redone a board ever since, probably 4 years, now, and a 10 pack of pulsar per year. I bet I could get similar results with the yellow backing paper, but for me it's not worth the hassle for the cost savings. (TBH, that 100 sheets of yellow paper I got in the snail mail, I looked at it. Then it went straight into the garbage can.  :-//)

So it the best paper depends. What your process, and why you're doing it. If you want to save money over ordering a board from China, we might be in the wrong century for that.


« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:36:35 pm by KL27x »
 

Offline moffy

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #68 on: June 10, 2020, 12:03:30 am »
Thanks for your advice. I will try and track down one of the three papers listed by "tooki", "SilverSolder" and KL27x. :)

p.s. Managed to order some of the yellow paper. Should be here in a few days along with the new printer. Thanks again. :D
« Last Edit: June 10, 2020, 12:09:13 am by moffy »
 

Online Domagoj T

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #69 on: June 10, 2020, 05:28:52 am »
Try to find some vinyl as well. It's really good and you should probably be able to get some offcuts for free if you ask nicely, but it's not expensive even if you need to buy some. It's the stuff used in sign making.
 
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Offline tooki

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #70 on: June 10, 2020, 05:36:51 am »

1. PnP Blue: this is the most sophisticated stuff. It is a lamination of 2 different plastic sheets. The side you print on is rough-textured to help prevent the toner from squishing/smearing. Where the toner sticks, this entire top sheet tears away from the backing sheet, covering the toner transfer with a layer of thin plastic. It's around a dollar a sheet in 10 packs. But you can buy 100 packs for like 65 dollars, if you use a lot of it.
Where do you get this for $65 per 100? I only found it for over $100.
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #71 on: June 10, 2020, 09:14:45 am »
completely edited for helpfulness:

^Direct from Techniks.com. But it appears my memory has failed me or the price has changed. Probably the former.

As of today, the Pulsar is 13.71 for 10 sheets, at Mouser US. At $105 for 100 sheets, PnP is still cheaper. In bulk, anyway. So hmm. Unless I check my bank statements, I would say I probably misremembered the price.

But in smaller quantities, PnP looks to be more expensive.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2020, 06:58:14 pm by KL27x »
 
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Offline rfguy2020

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #72 on: June 18, 2020, 05:23:57 am »
KL27x, glad to hear of the quality you can get from toner transfer. Going to buy a new laser printer tomorrow, the KYOCERA P2040dw to replace my older Brother. You can get toner replacement for $40 per 7,000 sheets (5% coverage). I'll see how it does for toner transfer.

Any experience with Kyocera?
 

Offline moffy

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #73 on: June 18, 2020, 05:43:39 am »
I have spent quite a while just setting my Kyocera printer up. Had to make an extension table to fit it in the back room. It is scary fast, and the first print when it comes out, it looks like there is a puff of smoke! It also has so many features that it made me nervous setting it up. But I have direct WIFI and USB printing configured, and the driver package is first rate. Will let you know when I do my first pcb transfer. I also found my old A4 Creative laminator. Any advice on how to use it?
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #74 on: June 18, 2020, 10:48:31 am »
KL27x, glad to hear of the quality you can get from toner transfer. Going to buy a new laser printer tomorrow, the KYOCERA P2040dw to replace my older Brother. You can get toner replacement for $40 per 7,000 sheets (5% coverage). I'll see how it does for toner transfer.

Any experience with Kyocera?
I’ll report back. I’m about to print some transfers on the Kyoceras at work (one B&W, one color).

P.S. can confirm that Brother won’t work. It doesn’t adhere to the PCB at all, but does hold onto the transfer sheet rather well.
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #75 on: June 18, 2020, 09:06:05 pm »
^Some Brother printers don't work. If your google-fu is good, you can figure it out by looking up cartridges and MSDS's. When I did this maybe 10 years ago, there was only a small percentage of Brother printers that used the weird ingredients.

Quote
I also found my old A4 Creative laminator. Any advice on how to use it?
Mine is a GBC Creative. It came with a dual tone blue plastic cover. I found it will stall out (start to skip gears, actually; the motor doesn't stall) on a full thickness 0.06" board. I egged out the holes in the plastic that hold the ends of the top roller just a bit, so that these boards will fit. There are leaf springs on either end that push the roller down, so this doesn't affect smaller boards. It just opens up the max thickness, a little.

edit: you have to be careful not to widen the hole. You want to lengthen it just a tad, into the beginnings of a slot. You don't want it any bigger in diameter, else I imagine there would be problems. I didn't have any, but I was careful and kept that in mind.

Personally, I threw out the plastic cover and just screwed the thing down to a wood board, using the 4 screw holes in the bottom of the innards. The board extends out past the right side of the laminator for enclosing the wiring and switch. The thing should be considered live, though. It's definitely a shock hazard. No bare feet when using it. If the board is wet, you can shock yourself even with the cover on, I have found. Take care.

;;;;;;;;;;
At first, I was happy with this laminator, all by itself. It was fairly reliable up to maybe 2x2" boards. Just playing around. But then when doing larger boards, it stopped being reliable. Not enough heat, no matter how many slow trips through. I think after 3 passes, maybe, you're not getting hotter, anymore. That's why I use the heat gun and the pre-etch.

The heatgun fixed the initial problem. But it revealed a new one: smeared/fattened transfers when the temp gets too high, resulting in a loss of effective fidelity/resolution, and producing inspection problems at any rate. Lots of sketchy things to examine before populating this board, due to artifacts.

Because the main ingredient in regular toner is wax, the melting range is fairly narrow. It doesn't go from solid to liquid exactly like water does. The more complex a wax is, the more it actually has different parts that melt in a range of temp. Beeswax is a natural example. But the range could be very narrow, as well. Then, the liquid:solid ratio is a phase change. The amount of TIME you keep it at this temp also matters. Else the toner melts like a snowflake in the sun. The printer regulates temp of a piece of paper, which is a small mass and a predictable thing. It can do this way better than we can the analogy with a copper clad board. Esp the larger it gets, and the more you have to account that it has a size and shape. It's not a point-object or one with perfect thermal conduction.

edit: Trying to partially melt the toner is a lot like cooking a pizza. You can make your pizza, and it comes out fine, but you learned exactly how long to set the timer. Now make a pizza way bigger or smaller. There's no easy formula, and the copper clad is a composite of 2 materials with very different density and thermal conductance. For the pizza, you use experience and your baking skill. And sometimes it works on the first try; sometimes it doesn't. And any pockets that are over or underdone will likely result in a complete board failure/redo when the traces get sub 10 mil. You can't repair those with a sharpie.

So now, the first thought is probably the same as mine was. How to achieve that precise of a temp and baking time for varying-sized boards in a practical way? I imagine math. Calculations. Correction factors. Pre-heaters, ramp-ups, reflow profiles, computer simulations? But this question, I never had to answer. I found another way to do it.

The pre-etch eventually solved this second problem. But only after learning that you need to get it even hotter, to start with, but now pie's the limit.

In case anyone has a different experience, I'm curious to learn from it!
« Last Edit: June 18, 2020, 10:42:04 pm by KL27x »
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #76 on: June 18, 2020, 11:13:28 pm »

@KL27X, have you measured the temperature achievable on the rollers?  Would be interesting to compare.  I have never had a problem getting the toner from the paper to the copper...   my problem has always been getting enough toner on the paper in the first place! :D
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #77 on: June 18, 2020, 11:26:23 pm »
I have measured the temp as the board is just coming out the back of rollers using an IR gun. The gun reading on shiny copper didn't make any sense. I think there's a way to adjust the gun for "emissivity," or something, but I didn't want to go there. So I did this on bare FR-4.

Per my memory, the temp maxed out on maybe the third pass. I was probably using a 4x6" 0.06" FR-4 board, probably with copper on one side. How thick? I didn't pay much attention back then. But that max temp was... well, I don't really remember. But with the heat gun being slowly waved over the board, from the top FR-4 side, as it went into rollers, this temp at the output side rose more-or-less exactly 100 degrees higher. This is the only detail I would testify to. I don't even remember if that was F or C. I posted some numbers in a different thread, recently, and those might be right? I would take them with a grain of salt.
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #78 on: June 19, 2020, 12:09:14 am »

My laminator "says" it is getting to 370F on its display...  but I haven't actually attempted to measure the real temperature yet.

Generally I agree that the hotter, the better - it seems to be good medicine for the process.  I haven't seen smearing or other negative consequences.
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #79 on: June 19, 2020, 12:29:01 am »
I just found a temp gun. GF musta returned it from COVID duty, checking employee temperatures. IIRC, this is the one that reads 20 degrees lower than the other Dollar Store temp gun I used the last time. So I dunno how accurate my tools are, but I'll try to post some harder data, soon enough.

Dunno what software you use, but in Eagle, there is a box marked "black" when you print. It took me awhile before I noticed, because traces and planes and SMD pads were already black. But thru hole pads and vias printed in greyscale. I take it you have issues with solid planes. Perhaps your software does something screwy, like this? You might try changing the plane to another layer? Also, some papers might have more problem taking a print than others?
« Last Edit: June 19, 2020, 01:44:27 am by KL27x »
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #80 on: June 19, 2020, 03:56:23 am »
I did make that mistake early on, LOL.  - but now it is the printer...

Last weekend, I found a way to feed the printout through the printer twice... basically, by "shrinking" the artwork slightly the second time, so there aren't any misalignment issues on the second print.  That looks to be working surprisingly well, because the toner coating tends to always be quite good along the edges...  so now, I get completely black, rich, thick coverage everywhere, no need for toner transfer foil as far as I can see!  I'm going to try this weekend to see how that turns out in the etching bag...
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #81 on: June 19, 2020, 05:26:50 am »
^Some Brother printers don't work. If your google-fu is good, you can figure it out by looking up cartridges and MSDS's. When I did this maybe 10 years ago, there was only a small percentage of Brother printers that used the weird ingredients.

FWIW, the Brother toner didn’t even attempt to stick to the PCB. I then tried spritzing some IPA between PCB and transfer, and this allowed some of the toner to stick, but when removing the transfer sheet, the toner actually stretched and pulled away.


Anyhow, as for Kyocera: I haven’t tried the color printer yet, but the B&W one worked ok but not great. I had to touch up a lot of spots. The PCB will work, but it’s nowhere near as sharp as what I got with the now-dead Samsung printer.

I wonder if for this purpose, the cheapest laser printers are actually ideal: they tend to use quick-heating instant fusers that I suspect don’t get as hot as the always-on fusers in larger printers. If this speculation is true, I’d assume the toner formulations are also designed for lower temperatures, which perhaps might be more suited to laminator temperatures.

FYI, my laminator is a GBC Mylam-9, a heavy duty office laminator. (It’s the kind that uses flat heaters, with unheated rollers before and after the heater block.) I run it on maximum for toner transfer, and typically run the board through 4 or 5 times to ensure a good transfer.
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #82 on: June 19, 2020, 01:25:09 pm »

The support person at Pulsar (makers of the toner transfer paper) said older laser printers are actually better, he recommended buying a used older HP with 1200dpi resolution and that is what they use themselves...   For what it's worth.   They are actually good to talk to, they know most printers "by heart" now! :D

 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #83 on: June 19, 2020, 06:45:55 pm »
There's a big enough space between the metal bits to get a reading directly off the silicone rollers, from the back of my skeletonized Creative. Fully hot, it reads 268-270F.

A 4x6" 0.06" 2 oz SS board put through the long way, starting at 95F and read as it exits. Heating and reading from the bare FR-4 side.
By 3rd pass, it is exiting at 235-240F, and I'm dealing with a hot potato trying to get it back in by the edges. Had a brief moment of actual pain, here.

On the 4th pass is gets all the way into the 260's F, which is pretty darn close to the temp the rollers reach, themselves.

With the heat gun, the board exits the laminator at ~340F. And you can jump to there on just the second pass. With the heat gun on there, the rollers should be cooling the board down, I suppose.

If your laminator actually goes to 370F, that should be pretty hot compared to the my Creative.

https://poppbinding.com/faqconc/what-temperature-should-you-run-laminating-films-at/
This suggests that my laminator is pretty ordinary.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2020, 07:48:48 pm by KL27x »
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #84 on: June 19, 2020, 08:15:48 pm »
I just ran my similarly skeletonized "Apache" brand laminator (similar to this one: http://www.apachelaminators.com/al18p.html) up to its max setting of 379F.   My old and not particularly spectacular IR thermometer read 186C on the rollers, which works out to 367F -  close enough for Australia, it is probably close to its displayed temperature!

This probably explains why I am not seeing any issues getting the toner to stick to the PCB. 

Looking forward to the "double print" test this w/e,  I'll probably make a special with a large black area just to test...



« Last Edit: June 19, 2020, 08:19:56 pm by SilverSolder »
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #85 on: June 19, 2020, 08:24:28 pm »
The more we learn, wow. Quite a difference.

Now the question is why your toner doesn't squish/fatten when you transfer at these temps? Maybe something to do with your printer being "stingy" with the toner? Or is it different toner?

And why your transfer doesn't work when you do the pre-etch? Is it any of the above, or maybe it is the etchant? Or is my board significantly hotter than you get, even, as it goes into the rollers, at least? I'm curious if you would shoot your heat gun at the bare FR-4 on the exit side.

I would try pre-etch in acid+peroxide, but I don't have any peroxide.  :'(

Mine is one of those relatively old HP printers, FWIW. HP Laserjet p1102w.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2020, 08:28:11 pm by KL27x »
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #86 on: June 19, 2020, 08:47:32 pm »

I don't see any squish, no.  Even after running through several times.  As you say, probably because the toner is already on the thin side (but only on large areas - thin traces are fine). 

The printer is an HP2300 (recommended by Pulsar, it's what they use) and should be "good".  The toner is a new cartridge, original HP.   Who knows, maybe a Brand X cartridge would work better...  apparently, the less sophisticated the toner, the better.  (Less sophisticated = less additives that enhances performance for normal printing)

I clean the PCBs with a ScotchBrite pad and some acetone before laminating.  The toner always sticks to the PCB like the proverbial sh!t to a blanket, so I have never been tempted to pre-etch.


 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #87 on: June 19, 2020, 09:13:36 pm »
The printer could be a bigger variable than I thought. I had good and similar results with the first two printers I tried, so I may have underestimated the differences.

I imagine they could have improved the output efficiency. By applying the toner more accurately, you could print more pages with the same physical amount of toner, by laying the toner thinner and still not suffering any holes in the coverage. That would be a few cents higher profit per cartridge in a mature, competitive, and high-volume market without lower-lying fruit to pick. It's a win-win, except to the toner transfer guy?

In comparison, my HP 1102 is maybe slathering the toner on the way I like the butter on my waffles?

If you are using the same Printer that Pulsar uses, and in light of your observations, I wouldn't be too surprised if the foil step isn't indeed the most efficient way to plug the holes, afterall. But the double-print technique sounds promising, esp if you could simply adjust a couple of clearances for the second pass.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2020, 09:51:44 pm by KL27x »
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #88 on: June 19, 2020, 10:26:45 pm »

I wish I could get mine to "butter the toast" that way!  :D 

As long as the tracks are thin enough (12 mil?), mine does "butter the toast" very well... 

I also have a Canon photocopier, which I bought before the printer - I was thinking, I could photocopy inkjet printed artwork...   but it has the same problem with not "buttering the toast",  the HP printer actually puts down more toner than the photocopier...   and the printer has higher resolution to boot...

Let's see how things pan out with the "double coat" trick, at least that is something new and interesting to try!

 

Offline moffy

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #89 on: June 21, 2020, 07:09:55 am »
Printer Kyocera 2040dw, at half speed onto yellow toner transfer paper.
Here is the promised photo, detail was excellent with toner transfer 100%. Sorry for the quality of the photo but I wanted the detail to be visible.
 
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Offline rfguy2020

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #90 on: June 22, 2020, 08:48:30 am »
I decided to test Xerox Phaser 6510.  I have only tested black and white prints on regular paper to evaluate print quality. It looks like my old Samsung has better resolution (should be 1200x1200). Xerox should be up to 1200x2400.

I have tested the test pattern, which has 9 x lines (50um, 75um, 100um, 125um, 150um, 175um, 200um, 225um, 250um), all gaps 200um. Some of the lines in Xerox print looks like equal, so it looks like resolution causes some issues. Samsung prints has some residue / black dots near lines, but those are not big issue, since those will be most probably disappear in the toner transfer.

I couldn't find how these resolutions are defined with these color printers. Should I get 1200x2400 resolution for all four colors? Or should I divide it actually by four (600x1200 / 1200x600)? Or something else?
« Last Edit: June 22, 2020, 09:13:44 am by rfguy2020 »
 

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #91 on: June 22, 2020, 01:13:48 pm »

I made a couple of test documents with "tracks" ranging from 1 mil to 15 mils,  positive and negative versions.

If your printer can do these, it is pretty good!   Here, only my Inkjet printer does a great job,  the Laserjet struggles with the thinnest lines.

 

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #92 on: June 22, 2020, 01:49:23 pm »

...and here is a more comprehensive ISO12233 test chart for checking printer resolution.   This one is excellent for "nailing" your driver settings to get the best output possible.

To use it, resize the page to fit your printer (full landscape page), select best quality, and print...   

The numbers on the chart show you 100x the number of lines per picture height.  So you divide that number by the picture height to normalize (for example, if your image is 7" high, divide by 7 to get lines per inch).

My particular old Laserjet 2300 gets to around 175 lines per inch on this chart at decent quality, perhaps a little better on a good day.  This is a native 1200x1200 resolution printer.

I had to play with a lot of different drivers and settings to get it to print at that resolution...
 
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Offline rfguy2020

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #93 on: June 23, 2020, 05:24:13 am »

I made a couple of test documents with "tracks" ranging from 1 mil to 15 mils,  positive and negative versions.

If your printer can do these, it is pretty good!   Here, only my Inkjet printer does a great job,  the Laserjet struggles with the thinnest lines.

This is similar test than I have done. From the positive, all lines looks good on paper with Samsung. From to negative, gaps above 2 mils are clear.

Xerox can also print all positive lines, but for example 1 & 2 mils line are same. Also 3 & 4 are same. Negative layout has same issue. Gaps 1 & 2 are useless and gaps 3&4 are the same.
 
 

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #94 on: June 23, 2020, 10:24:14 am »

I made a couple of test documents with "tracks" ranging from 1 mil to 15 mils,  positive and negative versions.

If your printer can do these, it is pretty good!   Here, only my Inkjet printer does a great job,  the Laserjet struggles with the thinnest lines.

This is similar test than I have done. From the positive, all lines looks good on paper with Samsung. From to negative, gaps above 2 mils are clear.

Xerox can also print all positive lines, but for example 1 & 2 mils line are same. Also 3 & 4 are same. Negative layout has same issue. Gaps 1 & 2 are useless and gaps 3&4 are the same.

It sounds like the Xerox driver is not giving max resolution?  Try the ISO12233 test chart...
 

Offline rfguy2020

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #95 on: June 23, 2020, 10:37:08 am »

I made a couple of test documents with "tracks" ranging from 1 mil to 15 mils,  positive and negative versions.

If your printer can do these, it is pretty good!   Here, only my Inkjet printer does a great job,  the Laserjet struggles with the thinnest lines.

This is similar test than I have done. From the positive, all lines looks good on paper with Samsung. From to negative, gaps above 2 mils are clear.

Xerox can also print all positive lines, but for example 1 & 2 mils line are same. Also 3 & 4 are same. Negative layout has same issue. Gaps 1 & 2 are useless and gaps 3&4 are the same.

It sounds like the Xerox driver is not giving max resolution?  Try the ISO12233 test chart...

Same problem with the ISO chart. I have not analyzed the chart yet, but it is clearly worse that Samsung. I have played around with drivers and got it a bit better. Resolution is not as good as I expected.
 

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #96 on: June 23, 2020, 03:22:23 pm »

I made a couple of test documents with "tracks" ranging from 1 mil to 15 mils,  positive and negative versions.

If your printer can do these, it is pretty good!   Here, only my Inkjet printer does a great job,  the Laserjet struggles with the thinnest lines.

This is similar test than I have done. From the positive, all lines looks good on paper with Samsung. From to negative, gaps above 2 mils are clear.

Xerox can also print all positive lines, but for example 1 & 2 mils line are same. Also 3 & 4 are same. Negative layout has same issue. Gaps 1 & 2 are useless and gaps 3&4 are the same.

It sounds like the Xerox driver is not giving max resolution?  Try the ISO12233 test chart...

Same problem with the ISO chart. I have not analyzed the chart yet, but it is clearly worse that Samsung. I have played around with drivers and got it a bit better. Resolution is not as good as I expected.

I probably spent a week getting the right driver for my printer....  which turned out to be a Samsung driver, that just happens to work with this HP printer (both share the same Canon mechanics)!  :D
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #97 on: June 23, 2020, 03:40:57 pm »
HP bought Samsung’s printer division a few years ago. HP’s current entry-level printers all look more like the Samsungs than the pre-acquisition entry-level LaserJets, so I suspect that the Samsung models simply replaced HP’s own entry-level designs.
 

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #98 on: June 23, 2020, 04:21:25 pm »
HP bought Samsung’s printer division a few years ago. HP’s current entry-level printers all look more like the Samsungs than the pre-acquisition entry-level LaserJets, so I suspect that the Samsung models simply replaced HP’s own entry-level designs.

Don't forget mine is quite old  -   the Samsung model that it is compatible with is from 2006 or something like that!  -  definitely shared Canon internals.
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #99 on: June 23, 2020, 04:42:05 pm »
Canon is responsible for a huge amount of the laser printer engines out there. I think it’s kinda crazy how Apple and HP are famous for having introduced desktop laser printing with the LaserWriter and LaserJet, respectively, yet nobody remembers or recognizes Canon for producing the laser engine inside both of them!!  (Sure, the controllers and page description languages that made them into working total systems are also hugely important, but without the print engine it would have been moot.)
 
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Offline tooki

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #100 on: June 25, 2020, 11:46:03 pm »
FYI, I tried the big workgroup color Kyocera at work, and like the small desktop B&W Kyocera, it worked, but the result is nowhere near as sharp as what I got out of the el-cheapo Samsung.
 

Offline moffy

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #101 on: June 26, 2020, 12:13:12 am »
The Kyocera I have seems OK, but I don't have any real comparisons. The pages when they come out though are hot, and accompanied with a puff of steam. It's like a little dragon. We can also print directly from our phones to the printer, neat!
 
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Offline Pawelr98

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #102 on: July 02, 2020, 12:48:54 am »
Anyone here uses Sodium persulfate for etching ?

Generally speaking in Poland it replaced Iron Chloride for many people.
A local company sells Sodium persulfate crystals as a well known B327 etching product.

You purchase a bag full of white crystals, then you dissolve it in water which has to be heated up to around 40-50°C.
At 50°C the process is a bit faster than at 40°C but faster etching means higher risk of small tracks getting etched.
Variable temperature means the etching speed can be controlled as required.
The solution at lower temperatures will still etch, but it will be painfully slow.
I don't recommend higher temperatures, not really worth it as the stuff gets messy (either toner is dissolving or something is breaking down chemically, lots of black stuff appearing in the water).

Never really had problems with thinner tracks getting etched away though.

Instead of following the procedure written on the B327 package which says "disslove X amount in Y amount of water" I just dissolve more each time the etching process slows down or just stops alltogether.
When the process stops the pure copper gets "dirty", most likely from byproducts of the chemical reaction.
Once you add more the copper instantly becomes "clean" and the process starts again.

The etching solution is fairly transparent (gets blue over time but still nothing serious) so one may observe the etching process in detail.

 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #103 on: July 03, 2020, 03:40:57 am »
If I had never fallen down the cupric chloride rabbit hole, I might be etching with that stuff, today. The etching accuracy is supposed to be the best, so your experience sounds about right. And you make it sound convenient enough.

When I reached that fork in the road, the pop knowledge on the internet led me to believe etching with cupric would be impossibly simple and easy.
 

Offline madires

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #104 on: July 03, 2020, 11:12:23 am »
Anyone here uses Sodium persulfate for etching ?

Generally speaking in Poland it replaced Iron Chloride for many people.

It's similar over here. I've moved from iron (III) chloride to sodium persulfate long time ago. But there's one drawback, it's more aggressive against all kinds of materials. I had to swap the wooden air bubblers with ceramic ones, some plastic screws had to be replaced with another plastic type, and the air tubing was changed from PVC to silicone.
 

Offline BrandonClarkson

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #105 on: August 18, 2020, 07:18:43 pm »
I can advise you HP LaserJet Pro M104w. I have been using it for many years and I really like it.
 

Offline cheeseit

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #106 on: August 18, 2020, 08:28:13 pm »
@BrandonClarkson: That's good to know. I'm waiting for the M118DW being back in stock locally though I realise that the two of them may have nothing in common. This is to replace an old Samsung with half the vertical resolution.

@KL27x: could have been me, I'm from Denmark, have used photo paper and found that some don't work, some are mediocre and some are excellent. Trouble is that I can't remember which were the good ones. I do remember some Canon papers were excellent.  :-//

I never got the yellow backing/transfer paper from China to work as my Samsung doesn't work properly with them.
 

Offline rfguy2020

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #107 on: August 19, 2020, 08:54:50 am »
I have tested two new printers.

Xerox 6510 was not working well. Linewidth of the print was not even close to Samsung. I'm not sure if the problem was caused by the driver or printer itself. I tried to get support from Xerox, but outcome was that printer is intended for "high quality text documents and color files printing". Whatever that means. Anyway, I was testing some blue press and peel films and they did look too promising either. I decided to forget Xerox printers.

Then I went to HP. I tested Laserjet pro M304a. First impression was not much better than Xerox. I cannot print with same quality than with Samsung. Toner looks more promising, but resolutions is worse. Picture of my test pattern as attached.

It seems that laser printers are degenerated. I think those new "laser" printers are actually LED printers. LED printer is not probably able to print with same quality than true laser. Does anyone know if there are any true laser printers available?

I'm interested to hear how HP Laserjet Pro M118dw is working? It might be next candidate in my list. 
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #108 on: August 19, 2020, 03:08:20 pm »
@BrandonClarkson: That's good to know. I'm waiting for the M118DW being back in stock locally though I realise that the two of them may have nothing in common. This is to replace an old Samsung with half the vertical resolution.

@KL27x: could have been me, I'm from Denmark, have used photo paper and found that some don't work, some are mediocre and some are excellent. Trouble is that I can't remember which were the good ones. I do remember some Canon papers were excellent.  :-//

I never got the yellow backing/transfer paper from China to work as my Samsung doesn't work properly with them.
Weird. My (sadly now broken) Samsung produced the best output I’ve achieved so far onto the yellow transfer paper.
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #109 on: October 08, 2020, 01:03:36 pm »
Anyone got any experience with a laser printer model that’s on the market now? After my little Samsung died (whose output was surprisingly good, producing much better transfers than any of the printers at work), I’ve been left without a viable PCB printer...
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #110 on: October 08, 2020, 01:24:29 pm »

If the printer was really good, maybe get a used one of the same model on eBay?
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #111 on: October 08, 2020, 03:47:30 pm »

If the printer was really good, maybe get a used one of the same model on eBay?
Because 1. I’m in the market for a new (all purpose) printer anyway, and 2. driver support for old printers dwindles. My current general printer (a Canon inkjet) is already running on borrowed time in this regard, with me installing the final version of the drivers onto an unsupported newer OS. That’s not gonna work forever. :( Granted, with laser printers this is somewhat less likely due to PostScript support, but it’s still not ideal.

Also, the Swiss are really good about recycling their old gadgets, so you tend to find a lot less used gear than in, say, the US. :(

In the case of the little Samsung, it was not a postscript printer, so totally reliant on custom drivers, and since HP bought Samsung’s printer division several years ago, there are no (obvious) closely-related successor models whose drivers maaaybe could be cajoled into working.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2020, 03:51:20 pm by tooki »
 

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #112 on: October 08, 2020, 04:16:36 pm »

If the printer was really good, maybe get a used one of the same model on eBay?
Because 1. I’m in the market for a new (all purpose) printer anyway, and 2. driver support for old printers dwindles. My current general printer (a Canon inkjet) is already running on borrowed time in this regard, with me installing the final version of the drivers onto an unsupported newer OS. That’s not gonna work forever. :( Granted, with laser printers this is somewhat less likely due to PostScript support, but it’s still not ideal.

Also, the Swiss are really good about recycling their old gadgets, so you tend to find a lot less used gear than in, say, the US. :(

In the case of the little Samsung, it was not a postscript printer, so totally reliant on custom drivers, and since HP bought Samsung’s printer division several years ago, there are no (obvious) closely-related successor models whose drivers maaaybe could be cajoled into working.

I have a number of older printers, including a large format inkjet that I rarely use, but don't want to lose - I have no intention of replacing any of them.  Why replace something that works?  I would rather spend my money and more importantly, TIME! - on something more interesting than replacing working equipment with modern equivalents that often have hidden downsides like requiring cloud accounts, or using expensive time bombed consumables, or other complications that I don't even want to spend time exploring, let alone working around!   

The solution to keeping old peripherals running can be as simple as just running a small Windows 7 instance in a virtual machine, and use it as a print server (just share its printer(s)).  This approach means that you can use the "good" drivers that work with the OS that was around when the printer was designed, and don't have to deal with legacy drivers in Windows 10 which, as you noted, can be a complete b!tch to get working (if it is even possible).

Having this kind of thing set up means you can now buy from a big range of bargain printers and other peripherals - in addition to the large format printer that I got for a few percent of the price of an equivalent new one, I also have a vinyl sign cutter that I got for pennies on the dollar because its software only works on Win 7!

Being a cheapskate is an art form, as you can see!  :D

 
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Offline RoGeorge

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #113 on: October 08, 2020, 04:17:28 pm »
For the driver part, a virtual machine running an older version of whatever OS still supports the printer, hosted on whatever the current OS is.  VMware, VirtualBox or alike.

Offline tooki

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #114 on: October 08, 2020, 05:00:26 pm »

If the printer was really good, maybe get a used one of the same model on eBay?
Because 1. I’m in the market for a new (all purpose) printer anyway, and 2. driver support for old printers dwindles. My current general printer (a Canon inkjet) is already running on borrowed time in this regard, with me installing the final version of the drivers onto an unsupported newer OS. That’s not gonna work forever. :( Granted, with laser printers this is somewhat less likely due to PostScript support, but it’s still not ideal.

Also, the Swiss are really good about recycling their old gadgets, so you tend to find a lot less used gear than in, say, the US. :(

In the case of the little Samsung, it was not a postscript printer, so totally reliant on custom drivers, and since HP bought Samsung’s printer division several years ago, there are no (obvious) closely-related successor models whose drivers maaaybe could be cajoled into working.

I have a number of older printers, including a large format inkjet that I rarely use, but don't want to lose - I have no intention of replacing any of them.  Why replace something that works?  I would rather spend my money and more importantly, TIME! - on something more interesting than replacing working equipment with modern equivalents that often have hidden downsides like requiring cloud accounts, or using expensive time bombed consumables, or other complications that I don't even want to spend time exploring, let alone working around!   

The solution to keeping old peripherals running can be as simple as just running a small Windows 7 instance in a virtual machine, and use it as a print server (just share its printer(s)).  This approach means that you can use the "good" drivers that work with the OS that was around when the printer was designed, and don't have to deal with legacy drivers in Windows 10 which, as you noted, can be a complete b!tch to get working (if it is even possible).

Having this kind of thing set up means you can now buy from a big range of bargain printers and other peripherals - in addition to the large format printer that I got for a few percent of the price of an equivalent new one, I also have a vinyl sign cutter that I got for pennies on the dollar because its software only works on Win 7!

Being a cheapskate is an art form, as you can see!  :D
Aside from the fact that I made it clear I want a new printer, and that my question is “what printers on the market now” are good for toner transfer, time is precisely why I don’t wanna dick around with nonsense like running a VM just to print! I want to be able to click “Print” and have it print. Sure, by printing to PDF and then copying the PDF to the host, one can print across nearly any permutation of OSes and drivers, but it’s too time consuming.

Also, I never actually said I use Windows. :P I actually don’t know how Windows’ printer sharing works, but on the Mac, if you want full access to a shared printer’s features, the client needs the printer driver. Otherwise you just get generic settings, which are often not enough, especially for specialty applications like here, where being able to set the toner density is critical. Again, it’s a bit different for postscript printers, where at least in theory a PPD file (postscript printer description) is enough.

(I am a former computer support professional, so I am well aware of all the workarounds. I just don’t want any right now. I have neither the time nor inclination to deal with it.)
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #115 on: October 08, 2020, 05:42:30 pm »

I hear you, and it is of course an excellent solution to just get a modern printer that solves the problem. 

I spent some time talking with the "inventor" of the Pulsar toner transfer paper a while back.  He was pretty adamant that an older printer is the way to go...  he was not able to recommend any new ones at all.  This was a year or two ago now.  He was recommending a used HP 2300 at the time.  That's pretty much how I ended up "making it work".

Hopefully a newer model will emerge in this thread, it would be valuable for us all to know!  :D
 
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Offline rfguy2020

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #116 on: October 09, 2020, 11:22:43 am »
I also gave hope to find any new printer, which can do the job as good as old Samsung. I have collection of new laser printers, which are not usable. I'm looking for second hand Samsung models now. I just wonder if there is any difference between all of those Samsung models? I have SCX3205. Later models might have more years left than older models.
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #117 on: October 09, 2020, 03:25:42 pm »
I also gave hope to find any new printer, which can do the job as good as old Samsung. I have collection of new laser printers, which are not usable. I'm looking for second hand Samsung models now. I just wonder if there is any difference between all of those Samsung models? I have SCX3205. Later models might have more years left than older models.
What do you have that doesn’t work? Knowing what to eliminate is almost as useful as what to get. :P

Also, if you could go into why they don’t work, that’d be useful, too.
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #118 on: October 09, 2020, 04:52:07 pm »

Apparently some of the new toners are higher temperature stuff that doesn't "re-melt" the way we need it to do for toner transfer...  it might be fruitful to track which printers use what cartridges, as presumably one that doesn't work in printer A, won't work in printer B either.

An alternative to a laser printer is a personal photocopier...  the little Canon ones use the right kind of toner.  Unfortunately, the resolution is not as good as a laser printer...

The Samsung ML-2570 uses the same Canon internals as the recommended HP Laserjet 2300...   I'm guessing that the "good" Samsungs are from that era. 
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #119 on: October 09, 2020, 06:29:52 pm »

Apparently some of the new toners are higher temperature stuff that doesn't "re-melt" the way we need it to do for toner transfer...  it might be fruitful to track which printers use what cartridges, as presumably one that doesn't work in printer A, won't work in printer B either.

An alternative to a laser printer is a personal photocopier...  the little Canon ones use the right kind of toner.  Unfortunately, the resolution is not as good as a laser printer...

The Samsung ML-2570 uses the same Canon internals as the recommended HP Laserjet 2300...   I'm guessing that the "good" Samsungs are from that era.
Again, I’m not sure that focusing on obsolete machines is a fruitful approach for PCB making in the long run. I don’t know when Canon stopped making those personal copiers, but I imagine it’s been a while, since multifunction home printers have been widespread for a long time now, killing off the market for personal analog copiers once and for all. (I don’t think anyone makes analog xerographic copiers at all, for any market. They’re all digital now, since it leverages economies of scale with printing, and produces better output to boot.) The last analog Canon personal copier I could find was released in 2011. I don’t know when they officially discontinued them, but they certainly don’t make them any more.

I somewhat doubt that modern toners are actually higher temperature — if anything, I’d expect the opposite, to support the modern approach of fusers that only turn on on demand, rather than staying heated all the time. The higher speeds of modern printers would also, if anything, benefit from a lower melting point, not a higher one, I would think, since the page has less contact time with the fuser.

There are massive differences in toner characteristics for sure: Brother toners are extremely gummy when hot, and just don’t separate from transfer sheets. A color Oki at work has toner that transfers well, but barely adheres at all — it behaves like a layer of flaky, brittle paint, easily scratched off a transfer sheet or PCB with a fingernail.
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #120 on: October 09, 2020, 11:42:41 pm »

I guess that if mainstream manufacturers are moving away (or have already gone away) from using "pure" plastic toner to newer formulations that don't behave well for our purposes, we may have to face up to the possibility that toner transfer may eventually no longer be viable, apart from using older equipment?


There are only a few options available:

1) Identify a modern printer that uses a type of toner that works for our purposes.  (None known at this time)


If that is not possible,

2) Identify a source of replacement toner cartridges for a modern printer that is filled with "the good stuff".   Third party toner suppliers may not have moved on to the latest technologies, and may have found that the old style toner actually still works in some machines...


If that is not possible,

3) Develop some kind of methodology that works with the new style of toner.  Maybe some chemical or other can persuade the new toner compound to behave better.



If that is not possible,

4) Keep an older model alive as long as possible, eventually give up on the method when it becomes too impractical/expensive.


 

Offline rfguy2020

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #121 on: October 22, 2020, 01:00:10 pm »
I also gave hope to find any new printer, which can do the job as good as old Samsung. I have collection of new laser printers, which are not usable. I'm looking for second hand Samsung models now. I just wonder if there is any difference between all of those Samsung models? I have SCX3205. Later models might have more years left than older models.
What do you have that doesn’t work? Knowing what to eliminate is almost as useful as what to get. :P

Also, if you could go into why they don’t work, that’d be useful, too.


I have tested HP Laserjet pro M304a and Xerox 6510. Both printers have same problem. Resolution of the print is not nearly as good as old Samsung.
 

Online SilverSolder

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #122 on: October 22, 2020, 01:09:02 pm »
Old Samsung and HP printers both used engines that were actually made by Canon.   Top drawer quality, obviously.

It might be hard to find a modern printer that the cheesy MBAs haven't found a way to limit the quality to the absolute minimum necessary to sell them!
 

Offline rfguy2020

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #123 on: October 23, 2020, 06:32:51 am »
Old Samsung and HP printers both used engines that were actually made by Canon.   Top drawer quality, obviously.

It might be hard to find a modern printer that the cheesy MBAs haven't found a way to limit the quality to the absolute minimum necessary to sell them!

I think so too. It seems that printer companies don't care much about resolution anymore. Resolution is probably good enough for 99 percent of users. You cannot see the difference in the Word document.

I believe most laser printers are actually LED printers? LED would not have as good resolution than good old laser.

According to wikipedia, 2400dpi lasers exists: "2400 dpi electrophotographic printing plate makers, essentially laser printers that print on plastic sheets, are also available. ". Does anyone know what kind of printer is used by electrophotographic printing plate maker?
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #124 on: October 24, 2020, 02:19:11 am »
Huh? Your final question is basically “does anyone know what kind of printer that non-printer uses?”

The plate maker is the specialized printer. But it doesn’t print on paper, it produces printing plates used in a printing press to make large print runs.
 

Offline rfguy2020

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #125 on: October 26, 2020, 06:19:49 am »
Huh? Your final question is basically “does anyone know what kind of printer that non-printer uses?”

The plate maker is the specialized printer. But it doesn’t print on paper, it produces printing plates used in a printing press to make large print runs.

Ok. The plate maker printer does not sound to be option. I was able to get backup printer for my Samsung this weekend. I bought another second hand SCX-3205 printer, so it won't be major catastrophe, if my old printer from 2011 decide to retire. This is not ideal solution, but better than nothing.
 

Offline teslastar

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Re: Best printer for toner transfer
« Reply #126 on: November 13, 2020, 03:35:56 pm »
Without going overboard, Samsung has added in three useful utilities to the feature set of the SCX-3205. Screen print, Eco-Print and ID card print are all handy functions and ones not easy to find in other, similarly priced, all-in-ones. Given its reasonable asking price, it’s likely to help continue Samsung’s successful spread into the mono laser printer market. Moreover, its details you can find anywhere but the best price is only on https://www.mrdepot.ca/collections/canon-toner-cartridges.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2020, 11:10:46 am by teslastar »
 


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