Author Topic: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer  (Read 2993 times)

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Offline moffy

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Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
« Reply #50 on: May 01, 2021, 06:56:14 am »
Well I spent all of about $30 on the SLD3235VF diode and a heatsink/housing, I already have a couple of CNC's, so I might just try out the direct UV to pcb exposure. Should be fun. :)
 
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Offline SilverSolder

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Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
« Reply #51 on: May 01, 2021, 11:06:06 pm »
Well I spent all of about $30 on the SLD3235VF diode and a heatsink/housing, I already have a couple of CNC's, so I might just try out the direct UV to pcb exposure. Should be fun. :)

With CNC, can't you just carve out the PCBs?
 

Offline moffy

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Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
« Reply #52 on: May 03, 2021, 05:46:51 am »
Yes I can kinda carve PCB's, but everything needs to be flat to about 0.1mm, because of the V carving tool. Else you need autolevelling to adjust for the contours of the bed and warpage of the blank pcb. The project I am working on at present is a CNC/GRBL controller that will have autolevelling built into the controller.
 

Offline Miti

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Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
« Reply #53 on: May 03, 2021, 01:11:13 pm »
Miti,
Thanks for the recommendation. I just ran across this from someone advising  me about another project: https://hackaday.io/project/26216-pcb-exposer
Incredible, 1200dpi resolution direct to the PCB exposure film. Home made and remarkably simple and cheap.

At the time when I was making my own boards, I started to explore replacing the backlight of an LCD monitor with a UV tube or UV LED strip, them pressing the pre-sensitized board against the LCD and displaying the PCB layout for a short time to expose it. When I discovered PCBWAY I abandoned everything.
Fear does not stop death, it stops life.
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
« Reply #54 on: May 03, 2021, 01:19:04 pm »
Miti,
Thanks for the recommendation. I just ran across this from someone advising  me about another project: https://hackaday.io/project/26216-pcb-exposer
Incredible, 1200dpi resolution direct to the PCB exposure film. Home made and remarkably simple and cheap.

At the time when I was making my own boards, I started to explore replacing the backlight of an LCD monitor with a UV tube or UV LED strip, them pressing the pre-sensitized board against the LCD and displaying the PCB layout for a short time to expose it. When I discovered PCBWAY I abandoned everything.

I had the same idea, but with a projector (that you could "zoom down" with a lens). -  I agree, getting the PCBs made for you is the way to go in the year 2021,  except for really large and uncomplicated PCBs which are still expensive enought to be worth DIY.
 

Offline Refrigerator

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Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
« Reply #55 on: May 03, 2021, 09:15:32 pm »
Miti,
Thanks for the recommendation. I just ran across this from someone advising  me about another project: https://hackaday.io/project/26216-pcb-exposer
Incredible, 1200dpi resolution direct to the PCB exposure film. Home made and remarkably simple and cheap.

At the time when I was making my own boards, I started to explore replacing the backlight of an LCD monitor with a UV tube or UV LED strip, them pressing the pre-sensitized board against the LCD and displaying the PCB layout for a short time to expose it. When I discovered PCBWAY I abandoned everything.

I had the same idea, but with a projector (that you could "zoom down" with a lens). -  I agree, getting the PCBs made for you is the way to go in the year 2021,  except for really large and uncomplicated PCBs which are still expensive enought to be worth DIY.
Homebrew is still relevant for when you need stuff fast. It takes about a week to get your boards made and spinning a single sided PCB at home is like a couple hours.
For example the QFN-24 adapter board i made, you can't keep an adapter board for every SMD package out there.
And without it i would have lost all momentum with my prototyping.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2021, 09:18:51 pm by Refrigerator »
I have a blog at http://brimmingideas.blogspot.com/ . Now less empty than ever before !
 
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Offline twospoons

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Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
« Reply #56 on: May 04, 2021, 12:57:28 am »
I used to use toner transfer all the time for proto boards, because 30 minutes beats 1 week every time, and time is money.
I used a modified electric frypan for transfer - added proper electronic temperature control, and vacuum hold down to press the paper to the laminate ( its a big sandwich: frypan|cotton|pcb|artwork|cotton|silicone sheet).  Vacuum gives very even compression across the whole PCB.

Transfer paper was "Press'n'Peel Blue" - works extremely well.

Best result I ever had was on double sided Kapton flex - 5mil/5mil design rules. From a panel of 24 circuits I had just one failure! (was expecting the opposite). Lead time for that from commercial mfg was 2 weeks - I did mine in 2 hours.  Office manager nearly shit a brick when she saw me etching in the kitchen sink.

Process control is everything - once you work out the parameters that work for your setup, toner transfer becomes fast and reliable.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2021, 01:03:00 am by twospoons »
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
« Reply #57 on: May 04, 2021, 03:32:13 am »
[...]
Process control is everything - once you work out the parameters that work for your setup, toner transfer becomes fast and reliable.

That is the key.  And you can (and, unless you are very lucky, WILL) spend quite a bit of time getting it right.

Of course being able to get'er done in a couple of hours beats waiting for a week or two if you are in a hurry.  If you're not in a hurry, though...

 

Offline Whales

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Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
« Reply #58 on: May 23, 2021, 02:47:15 am »
BUMP

I bought one of these, which I think was linked to in this topic:



I'll eventually write a full review complete with lots of photos, but in quick summary:

The Good
Works beautifully.  Set it to ~170degC and ran my board through several times, almost flawless toner transfer immediately (>99% of toner transferred, missing bits probably due to dust)

I've been able to get these results before using a clothes iron, but extremely unreliably!  Ditto for my previous standard office laminator.  I suspect the extra pressure and heat is making the difference.

The Bad

Temperature readout is completely fake.  It simply mimics the temperature set knob's position.  Useless.

Australian plug was moulded off-center.  Never seen that before, but I guess it's probably OK.

The Electrocugly

Electrocution hazard.
  Most of the case is not earthed and the controls (including the cheap pot used for temperature setting) are connected to unisolated mains.  Any single fault could make the case or control panel go live.

They attempted to earth the unit but failed.  The very bottom metal tray (not visible in above photos) is properly earthed.  The beige case is isolated from that due to the paintjob.  The metal controls plate (black) is isolated again due to the same paint problem.

I have "fixed" this using a dremel to cut away the paint in certain areas and a DMM to confirm my results.  Ideally I'd want to see a dedicated earth lead going to each major metal case part AND a transformer powering the controls, but this should be enough for now.

TODO still inspect:

 * Does it default to low temp if the pot goes open?
 * Are there any fallback temperature sensors or thermal fuses if the unit overheats?

Other notes

 * Only accepts my ~1.5mm PCBs in the center.  At the edges they catch the metal-work of the case sometimes.  I plan to mod the case to fix this.
 * Indirectly heated rollers: uses a long heater rod (like those used in outdoor electric heaters) that shines onto one of the first rollers.  This is opposed to the cheap office laminators I've looked at where the heater filaments are inside the rollers themselves.
 * Little temperature sensor glass-diode is on a long, thin PCB that is pressed against one of the rollers using a spring.  Neat design.  Not sure about failsafes, however.

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
« Reply #59 on: May 23, 2021, 10:44:00 am »

I have a similar laminator but with a digital instrument panel.  (Less "good", I feel, since it forgets the settings every time you switch off...)

It has a temperature sensor that touches the front roller, in the middle of the roll, coming at it from the front of the machine.  The temperature readout on mine appears to be based on that sensor.  The machine gets to the set point very quickly.
 
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Offline moffy

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Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
« Reply #60 on: May 24, 2021, 03:14:40 am »
Yeah, the temperature readout is pretty bogus, but it does work well. Glad to hear you've had good success.
 


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