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How to make large PCBs with a Sublimation Machine


Hello guys, thought id post this little guide on how I make large PCBs or multiple boards, just in case someone here finds it useful!

How to make large PCBs with a Sublimation Machine

Step 1: What is a Sublimation Machine!?
First, 99% of people will be asking "what is a Sublimation Machine".........and its a good question!
A Sublimation Machine is a heat press for transferring onto many flat surfaced items, such as fabric, metal, wood, ceramic & glass, etc.
But, is commonly called a "T-shirt Heat Press" as it is most commonly used for printing onto garments!
They can be easily picked up on popular auction sites for as low as £80 ($100) for a very basic models.

Step 2: What are you going to need.
As we are basically using the toner transfer technique of PCB making this will be very familiar to many of you who make your own PCBs:
A Sublimation machine.
A laser jet printer.
A Copper laminated board.
A Glossy magazine paper.
A container of water that is large enough to submerge your copper board.
A sheet of craft felt that will cover your copper.

Step 3: Setting up the sublimation machine.
All sublimation machines will have two setting; Time, and Temperature.
For printing PCBs, Iv found the best setting on my machine is 190°C for 60 seconds.....you may need to tweak your settings.
(Now this is one of the huge advantages with this technique; sure, you can print large PCBs with just using a domestic iron and the toner transfer method.....but can you print upto 38X38CM boards in 60 seconds with a domestic iron, NO!).

Step 4: Let's make sandwiches!
Right, lets go!
Step 1: Print your artwork onto a sheet of glossy magazine paper.
Step 2: Place your copper board copper side up.
Step 3: Place your artwork on-top of your copper board.
Step 4: Place the sheet of craft felt onto of the artwork and copper board.
Step 5: Press in the machine for 60 seconds, at 190°C.

Step 5: Quench Peel & Prep.
Quench : After 60 seconds in the machine place the hot board into the water (be careful as the board will be extremely hot, and mittens would be a wise choice!).
Peel: After about 10 minutes the paper should easily peel away from the board (it my be longer or shorter, depending on the paper used)
Prep: Dry your board off, and then tweak any floors with a sharpy marker or other etch resistance pen.

Step 6: Etch the Board
This is self explanatory, etch your board in your etchant of choose and admire your huge slab of PCB!

Which printer did you use results looks pretty good.

I use a decrepit old HP laserjet 2000 that I got for about £30 from a used office supply dealer.

Its a absolute workhorse, but can print in 1200x1200dpi that works really well for fine lines and SMD size tracks.

I have something similar to make actual sandwiches.  Tasty :)

 :-DD PCB sandwich YUM YUM YUM.

Was wondering if I could make DIY strip-board in a george foreman grill!


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