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Electronics => Projects, Designs, and Technical Stuff => Topic started by: moffy on March 21, 2021, 07:39:26 am

Title: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on March 21, 2021, 07:39:26 am
I got my new Kyocera laser printer which is fantastic, but my laminator failed irreparably(not worth the cost) so I need some recommendations, for Australia.
I have looked at the older recommendations, but I wonder if there are any newer ones, like the laser printers models disappear.
I like the look of a couple on ebay, but have no idea about suitability e.g.
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/A3-A4-Laminating-Laminator-Machine-Office-Commercial-Cold-Hot-Mounted-Thermal-D/202874273707?_trkparms=ispr%3D1&hash=item2f3c3fbfab:g:nw0AAOSwPYNfz0TX&amdata=enc%3AAQAFAAACcBaobrjLl8XobRIiIML1V4Imu%252Fn%252BzU5L90Z278x5ickkrmmq8hWevtuKE7%252F%252BLfVXtnm3eOFputsGOUjcx8A418HEK%252BM95D%252FzvTj2g%252FvyF7EEC1wFVDlnm7seBZZ1SAv988qDX8s0A0hRV764SfvOwFy3UEoXqIYSUQPCD4EuO8TXgzkhLrgAlL8haImwOcTsf8p66hi3E7MAj2rEjB7713DjJc61uW1KXgOznR0uYXjf8CMytQy1OBxHMPqhjhPURAvo5L4WLB9NJqYXXXS%252FG0tvODV2fy4fa7FXhawR7Se%252FuVypn6vRRclYHaD73HOrsQJIS8rRLRQS9%252FzZESa00Qfks9tgNnFBLSCa7os00DqGAzm9%252Fi%252BeOXQj0uHmZiVbQWNt%252BasTTAKUvaDcf%252BRv6G7zAohEOf%252FBn6xoy6VmOsfPluZmWQZokjM8OXmekqzC78gTJiN3eHz4d6tuLMij8OM3JMdbrS1ickY6eXRuCS%252Brlw25rz8QREiu12%252BUW0ASSWhFpEnllTWBZa1BsUj8YUgVOwcA4yOsdiT%252B4sSn%252BJu4L1fEm%252BGbCCozzB2imxWLu%252FijkLX7Z8LVOlBefSI7vSKI5P%252BFhzPENeyYPRbbXwH9OXcBV9%252BJASLawwE9K2OnLvxAEnx0iw7%252Fq7eSxEmHBwZVHu8DjdEPDUprl07byNVpCLcstOS%252BlD56GtcGT3fuELv4RdW5fGwew2fGLjmzLiwC5rWNM34xdT8tbxgFFBPt1Tqrx9YJH9PzUbGQojrdpamVLtNsn5M%252FbJPmL7E7lcU6RGAwjWcxuWA7u8o7NScs7KVoV9nmsESxodjsL2bV7A%253D%253D%7Ccksum%3A2028742737076335ee6e0ffc4a74982fcf42afd281d9%7Campid%3APL_CLK%7Cclp%3A2334524 (https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/A3-A4-Laminating-Laminator-Machine-Office-Commercial-Cold-Hot-Mounted-Thermal-D/202874273707?_trkparms=ispr%3D1&hash=item2f3c3fbfab:g:nw0AAOSwPYNfz0TX&amdata=enc%3AAQAFAAACcBaobrjLl8XobRIiIML1V4Imu%252Fn%252BzU5L90Z278x5ickkrmmq8hWevtuKE7%252F%252BLfVXtnm3eOFputsGOUjcx8A418HEK%252BM95D%252FzvTj2g%252FvyF7EEC1wFVDlnm7seBZZ1SAv988qDX8s0A0hRV764SfvOwFy3UEoXqIYSUQPCD4EuO8TXgzkhLrgAlL8haImwOcTsf8p66hi3E7MAj2rEjB7713DjJc61uW1KXgOznR0uYXjf8CMytQy1OBxHMPqhjhPURAvo5L4WLB9NJqYXXXS%252FG0tvODV2fy4fa7FXhawR7Se%252FuVypn6vRRclYHaD73HOrsQJIS8rRLRQS9%252FzZESa00Qfks9tgNnFBLSCa7os00DqGAzm9%252Fi%252BeOXQj0uHmZiVbQWNt%252BasTTAKUvaDcf%252BRv6G7zAohEOf%252FBn6xoy6VmOsfPluZmWQZokjM8OXmekqzC78gTJiN3eHz4d6tuLMij8OM3JMdbrS1ickY6eXRuCS%252Brlw25rz8QREiu12%252BUW0ASSWhFpEnllTWBZa1BsUj8YUgVOwcA4yOsdiT%252B4sSn%252BJu4L1fEm%252BGbCCozzB2imxWLu%252FijkLX7Z8LVOlBefSI7vSKI5P%252BFhzPENeyYPRbbXwH9OXcBV9%252BJASLawwE9K2OnLvxAEnx0iw7%252Fq7eSxEmHBwZVHu8DjdEPDUprl07byNVpCLcstOS%252BlD56GtcGT3fuELv4RdW5fGwew2fGLjmzLiwC5rWNM34xdT8tbxgFFBPt1Tqrx9YJH9PzUbGQojrdpamVLtNsn5M%252FbJPmL7E7lcU6RGAwjWcxuWA7u8o7NScs7KVoV9nmsESxodjsL2bV7A%253D%253D%7Ccksum%3A2028742737076335ee6e0ffc4a74982fcf42afd281d9%7Campid%3APL_CLK%7Cclp%3A2334524)
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/220V-600W-Pro-A3-4-Rollers-Thermal-Hot-Cold-Film-Laminating-Laminator-Machine/193857412737?_trkparms=aid%3D1110006%26algo%3DHOMESPLICE.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D231489%26meid%3Daf8f1ab8cd7346db975c630287c43c38%26pid%3D101195%26rk%3D5%26rkt%3D12%26mehot%3Dco%26sd%3D202874273707%26itm%3D193857412737%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D0%26pg%3D2047675%26algv%3DSimplAMLv9PairwiseUnbiasedWeb&_trksid=p2047675.c101195.m1851 (https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/220V-600W-Pro-A3-4-Rollers-Thermal-Hot-Cold-Film-Laminating-Laminator-Machine/193857412737?_trkparms=aid%3D1110006%26algo%3DHOMESPLICE.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D231489%26meid%3Daf8f1ab8cd7346db975c630287c43c38%26pid%3D101195%26rk%3D5%26rkt%3D12%26mehot%3Dco%26sd%3D202874273707%26itm%3D193857412737%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D0%26pg%3D2047675%26algv%3DSimplAMLv9PairwiseUnbiasedWeb&_trksid=p2047675.c101195.m1851)
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/VEVOR-Lamination-MachineThermal-Laminator-Machine-12-6-for-Home-School-Office/174612846214?_trkparms=aid%3D1110006%26algo%3DHOMESPLICE.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D231489%26meid%3Daf8f1ab8cd7346db975c630287c43c38%26pid%3D101195%26rk%3D6%26rkt%3D12%26mehot%3Dco%26sd%3D202874273707%26itm%3D174612846214%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D0%26pg%3D2047675%26algv%3DSimplAMLv9PairwiseUnbiasedWeb&_trksid=p2047675.c101195.m1851 (https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/VEVOR-Lamination-MachineThermal-Laminator-Machine-12-6-for-Home-School-Office/174612846214?_trkparms=aid%3D1110006%26algo%3DHOMESPLICE.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D231489%26meid%3Daf8f1ab8cd7346db975c630287c43c38%26pid%3D101195%26rk%3D6%26rkt%3D12%26mehot%3Dco%26sd%3D202874273707%26itm%3D174612846214%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D0%26pg%3D2047675%26algv%3DSimplAMLv9PairwiseUnbiasedWeb&_trksid=p2047675.c101195.m1851)

If you have had success with a laminator for toner transfer, please mention it, as a current list would be helpful.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: RoGeorge on March 21, 2021, 11:33:12 am
Don't know which one can heat high enough, but I've made one from a LASER printer's oven once.  Then tried for about a full week printing on all kinds of glossy papers, from all types of magazines, with or without fixing the toner to the paper.  In the end I had to give up. 

The whole process was very finicky, unreliable, and the results were never reproducible.  Chances that toner transfer will all be just a frustration exercise and a waste of time are very high.

You may want to look for some other DIY PCB method, toner transfer was the worst in my experience.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on March 21, 2021, 11:48:12 am
Thanks for the reply. I had terrible results with my previous Brother printer, useless. But my new Kyocera printer does a fantastic job of the toner transfer onto the special yellow paper. At present I have done two small boards with good detail using just an iron, but I am working on a larger board and really need the laminator. A change of printer has been successful, now the laminator.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on March 21, 2021, 02:11:32 pm
Saw a couple of videos where they used a heat press for the toner transfer. Basically an iron on steroids, with temperature, time and pressure control.
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Heat-Press-Sublimation-Machine-38X38-Heat-Press-Machine-for-T-Shirts/174273181972?_trkparms=aid%3D1110002%26algo%3DSPLICE.SOI%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20201210111451%26meid%3D6deded65f5654940bca555cbac770d28%26pid%3D101196%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D12%26mehot%3Dpf%26sd%3D174612846214%26itm%3D174273181972%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D0%26pg%3D2047675%26algv%3DPromotedSellersOtherItemsV2WithMLRv3&_trksid=p2047675.c101196.m2219 (https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Heat-Press-Sublimation-Machine-38X38-Heat-Press-Machine-for-T-Shirts/174273181972?_trkparms=aid%3D1110002%26algo%3DSPLICE.SOI%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20201210111451%26meid%3D6deded65f5654940bca555cbac770d28%26pid%3D101196%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D12%26mehot%3Dpf%26sd%3D174612846214%26itm%3D174273181972%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D0%26pg%3D2047675%26algv%3DPromotedSellersOtherItemsV2WithMLRv3&_trksid=p2047675.c101196.m2219)
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: Bud on March 21, 2021, 03:20:36 pm
Toner transfer method works just fine, however use proper materials, not Playboy magazines. Get a proper kit, Pulsar for one makes them, a transfer paper  and transfer foil.

https://pcbfx.com/main_site/pages/start_here/overview.html (https://pcbfx.com/main_site/pages/start_here/overview.html)

You print the mirrored image on the transfer paper, and run with the board through a heat source, soak the paper off, then run the board again through the heat device but this time with a sheet of transfer foil. The foil will seal all small imperfections in the toner image and result in much better quality than without. I made 8 mil traces with it and could likely do 6 mil if spent time to tweak printer and laminator temperature. I used a unmodified laminator as the heat source.

A kit would cost more than a fancy glossy magazine but it will last for quite a few boards. What is very important in the first place though is the toner quality of the printer used. From my experience using a refilled cartridge never worked, it had to be genuine toner. I used a Samsung printer, do not know about Brother brand.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: RoGeorge on March 21, 2021, 03:33:16 pm
Proper toner transfer sheets will cost the same, if not more than photosensitive PCB.  Therefore, why not just use the photo sensitive PCB method?

That would just work no matter what, sometimes cheaper and with no tricky thermal transfer required.   :-//
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: Skashkash on March 21, 2021, 04:04:12 pm
I've been very successful with toner transfer over the years.
 I've done the majority of the pcbs (hundreds +) on an older industrial badge laminator that I got at a hamfest for dirt cheap.

  This style:   

(https://www.jhlaminating.com/media/1085_lam_55_web_1112.jpg)

But that will only handle boards up to about 4" wide. But works very well.


I also have one like this that I've used occasionally for larger boards.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/USI-1200-Laminator-USI-Up-to-12-Paper-heavy-duty-laminator-Tested-100/193858892250?hash=item2d22e3f1da:g:QoAAAOSwpLJgCbxQ (https://www.ebay.com/itm/USI-1200-Laminator-USI-Up-to-12-Paper-heavy-duty-laminator-Tested-100/193858892250?hash=item2d22e3f1da:g:QoAAAOSwpLJgCbxQ)


I don't know about suitability of the newer ones. I like the older stuff. Seems to be built heavier and handles thicker material better. You can also open them up and make adjustments or fix them if abused. And I have really abused these things.

 
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: SuzyC on March 21, 2021, 04:05:51 pm
Hints for laminators:

Buy the largest size(the taller, the larger the diam of pressure rollers) home/office use laminator you can find that fits your budget, buy one that is rated for operation continuously and for thick laminations. I found a nice, small, used low-priced office unit on sale for USD 50 that worked great after mods.

Laminators with the largest diam large thermal mass and high laminating pressure rollers work best.  A used quality older laminator bought could be better than the small-size cheaper newer home photo-lam models with small pressure rollers.

The laser printer used to print the artwork should be set for "coarse heavy paper" if possible to get the thickest toner deposited.

1) All unmodified laminators fail to reach a temperature necessary to optimally melt the toner so that is will transfer.

Note most laminators unmodified have one or more electric overtemp cutout switches that must be removed or shorted since they stop any temperature rise above 130 to 140-deg C.

I had to modify each laminator I first experimented with to get it to reach the  higher temperature(180-DegC optimal for toner melt).  I used the thermistor found attached to the heating plate to measure temp and set the right temperature.

I destroyed two cheap laminators before I learned to get a tall unit and then learned how to get hotter, but not meltdown hotter operation.

You must get the laminator to operate at a slightly higher temperature than the toner melt transfer temperature. A few degrees higher will cause the internal gears inside the laminator to soften or melt after many minutes of operation.

I built a MCU circuit to control the temperature by turning on/off the heating element TRiAC or relay and my MCU shows me with a LED when the laminator is ready. I used a thermistor chart to convert the thermistor resisitance reading into actual temperature measured voltage.

You need to set the temperature accurately. If you don't have someway to  measure temperature, like reading the built-in thermistor or thermocouple, you must find a slower way by trial and error to set the lamination temperature high enough to melt toner.

2) After passing through the laminator for several minutes, an ideal paper must be able to easily disintegrate when soaked in water. I have best and consistent success with glossy lightweight photo paper.

Other papers, especially ordinary printer paper or magazine paper will give inconsistent and unexpected results.

The idea here is simple and most important, you need to remove completely the disintegrating paper which is holding the toner to be transferred. You must remove the paper completely and gently so only the toner sticking to the board is all that's left.

3)Board prep: You need to burnish(slightly scratch) the PCB stock with sandpaper to create more surface area(places) on the copper surface for the melted toner to bind to.

4)After sanding the PCB lightly, until you can easily see the fine scratch marks, you must clean the board with iso or denat to remove all dirt, and always use gloves to not allow skin oils to contaminate the board.

5)Before running the PCB through the modified laminator, bend the photopaper around the PCB and into a u-shape over the PCB and make sure the paper is pulled taught and secured on the back of the PCB with masking tape to make the best tight contact to the board.

6)Oversize the photopaper covering the board and fold it so that you can make u-shaped "wings" to fold over the back and bound securely.

7)When placing the PCB into the laminator, always feed the bottom of the u-shape in always first. When the paper emerges on the output tray, immediately take it out and feed in back in again but flip it over vertically top to bottom each pass.

8)After passing through the laminator,  wetsand (using iso or denat) to saturate the back of the photo paper to remove the paper coating to hasten the paper's ability to absorb water and soak. You should easily see the paper turn soggy-looking. After this pre-soak, you can continue soaking in circulating (dripping)warm water. From time to time,  the paper should be gently rubbed with your thumb to tell if the paper is ready to disintegrate into tiny pieces with only  very light rubs of the thumb.

The cause of most failures of toner transfer is in this step is from being impatient and fail to soak the paper until it has become fully soft soggy disintegrated paper pieces.

8)My MCU controlled laminator goes into a warm-temp standby mode with a push of a switch. If you don't have this feature, turn the
laminator off immediately after laminating a PCB  to minimize the change of overheating of the plastic gears to the point they soften and strip and melt.

9) If your attempt fails, you can always clean the toner off with fine sandpaper/steel wool/acetone and you can re-use the board. Be careful to not to use too much sanding pressure and begin to sand off the very thin copper surface on the PCB.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: KL27x on March 21, 2021, 07:49:58 pm
Quote
Proper toner transfer sheets will cost the same, if not more than photosensitive PCB.  Therefore, why not just use the photo sensitive PCB method?

That would just work no matter what, sometimes cheaper and with no tricky thermal transfer required.   

Lots of reasons that are obvious, if you figure out how to do it. 
1. it's not necessarily "tricky" to do a toner transfer. Compared to exposing and developing, it can be way simpler to do a toner transfer. When the developer gets old, the develop time will get longer. Or you can mix up a fresh batch each time, I suppose. The toner transfer is more consistent/easy if you don't do it regularly.
2. You don't use all of your copper clad board. A lot of it ends up as scrap or trash. Good transfer paper is a dollar fifty a sheet, but you use most of it. And 8.5 x 11" is a lot of area. Also, you might occasional find need for naked copper clad board for ground planes, manhattan style stuff, or simple mechanically created strips/pads.

Quote
1) All unmodified laminators fail to reach a temperature necessary to optimally melt the toner so that is will transfer.

Note most laminators unmodified have one or more electric overtemp cutout switches that must be removed or shorted since they stop any temperature rise above 130 to 140-deg C.

Messing with the laminator temp is not the only way to skin this cat. You could damage the laminator by running it too hot. Plastic gears and frame in most of these things. Excessive temp can cause cumulative damage and premature failure of these parts, even if the heater can handle it. Also, the board acts as a heat sink as it goes through the laminator, so expecting the laminator to be able to properly heat a very large or thick board the same as a small board is not realistic.

I have done this for over a decade, now, by shooting a heat gun on the board as it goes through the laminator. The main thing the laminator does to make your life easier is the silicone rollers. And on this end, many laminators can't handle a full 0.06" thick board. Egging out the holes for the rollers is an essential step if you want to get a full thickness board through such a laminator without stalling/jamming the machine or damaging the drive gears.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on March 22, 2021, 01:47:26 am
Thanks for your responses so far. Thanks to Skashkash for the specific device recommendation (it's a bit narrow for me).
Those of you that use a laminator it would be appreciated if you could specify it, mods done would be great too.
Thanks again for all your advice.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on March 22, 2021, 02:54:58 am
Well, I've bitten the bullet and ordered a laminator:
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/VEVOR-Lamination-MachineThermal-Laminator-Machine-12-6-for-Home-School-Office/174612846214?_trkparms=aid%3D1110006%26algo%3DHOMESPLICE.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D231489%26meid%3Daf8f1ab8cd7346db975c630287c43c38%26pid%3D101195%26rk%3D6%26rkt%3D12%26mehot%3Dco%26sd%3D202874273707%26itm%3D174612846214%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D0%26pg%3D2047675%26algv%3DSimplAMLv9PairwiseUnbiasedWeb&_trksid=p2047675.c101195.m1851 (https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/VEVOR-Lamination-MachineThermal-Laminator-Machine-12-6-for-Home-School-Office/174612846214?_trkparms=aid%3D1110006%26algo%3DHOMESPLICE.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D231489%26meid%3Daf8f1ab8cd7346db975c630287c43c38%26pid%3D101195%26rk%3D6%26rkt%3D12%26mehot%3Dco%26sd%3D202874273707%26itm%3D174612846214%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D0%26pg%3D2047675%26algv%3DSimplAMLv9PairwiseUnbiasedWeb&_trksid=p2047675.c101195.m1851)
4 roller, variable temp, up to 1mm thickness(better than most others), hopeful it does 1.5mm and under $100 AUD(just). Will let you know how it goes when I get it.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on April 16, 2021, 12:51:15 am
Finally tried out my new laminator. Results were excellent, most minor problems were with feeding the same piece of paper through the printer twice. Once for registration then next onto yellow paper partially taped to that page. Will have to revise that.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on April 18, 2021, 05:56:41 am
Unfortunately the etched PCB had pinholes. Used HCL/H2O2 very fast very aggressive. Have ordered some Ferric Chloride and some laminator foils. Will also try pre-etching and maybe a heat gun also.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: Whales on April 18, 2021, 11:02:10 am
Unfortunately the etched PCB had pinholes. Used HCL/H2O2 very fast very aggressive. Have ordered some Ferric Chloride and some laminator foils. Will also try pre-etching and maybe a heat gun also.

How fast is fast?  My latest success has been from using a very strong mix (https://halestrom.net/darksleep/blog/045_amplifiers/#strongeretch) and it takes about 30 seconds at room temperature.  Dramatically reduces my pitting.

If you suspect the issue is flatness/evenness of the toner: perhaps throwing an extra layer of paper into the laminator sandwich could help?

Looking at these laminator options now, I'm having poor luck getting reliable transfers with my existing one  :-+
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: RoGeorge on April 18, 2021, 11:19:21 am
Another method I've read but never tried, try spraying some acetone then let it dry.  That is supposed to dissolve the toner and cover the micro holes.

Others were baking the whole PCB after toner transfer in an oven (no acetone), so the heat will melt the toner and make it fuse even better with the PCB and cover any pinholes.

One dude went even further, printed with an inkjet printer directly on the PCB clad, with nothing but water, then covered the whole PCB with toner dust, then gently shake the toner away.  This will make toner to stick only on the wet areas of the PCB.  Later, bake the PCB in an oven so the toner traces will melt and fuse with the PCB, then etch.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: Skashkash on April 18, 2021, 12:42:13 pm
Re pinholes.
   Seems to just be the nature of the electrostatic transfer process. Hold the printed transfer paper up to a light before laminating.  Larger copper areas tend to be grey, not opaque black.     

   I've tried a lot of ways to get rid of pinholes.  Acetone, TonerBuddy (an expensive spray), hot foil transfer, and others.
 
   From experience, these techniques help me. But nothing totally eliminated it.

     The hot foil does seem to help and it's cheap and quick. Regular craft foil seems to work the same as the expensive stuff, I've used both.
     Running the clad through the laminator again to smear the toner particles slightly.  Different "backer" material can help. 
     Convert large copper planes to hatches if possible.
     Touch up really large bad areas with a sharpie.

     Not noticed that the etching process affects it much. I use ferric chloride or ammonium persulfate.  Have not tried the HCL approach yet.
     Have noticed that very aggressive etchants will etch under the toner from the sides if given enough time.   
       

     But mostly, I just just live with it if it's minor. These are just prototypes (for me). As long as the circuit works, cosmetics don't matter.   
   
   
 
     
   
 
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: Bud on April 18, 2021, 01:22:32 pm
Unfortunately the etched PCB had pinholes. Used HCL/H2O2 very fast very aggressive. Have ordered some Ferric Chloride and some laminator foils. Will also try pre-etching and maybe a heat gun also.

There is a product that eliminates the pinholes problem.

https://www.pcbfx.com/main_site/pages/products/toner_foils.html (https://www.pcbfx.com/main_site/pages/products/toner_foils.html)
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: tooki on April 18, 2021, 02:53:19 pm
Thanks for the reply. I had terrible results with my previous Brother printer, useless. But my new Kyocera printer does a fantastic job of the toner transfer onto the special yellow paper.
What model?
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on April 19, 2021, 02:06:37 am
Thanks guys for all of your recommendations. I will try and answer some of the points raised.
1. Etch speed: Under 1 minute, very aggressive. I think it dissolved some of the thinner toner areas.
2. The toner from the Kyocera is a bit thin in black areas, might try the acetone and or heat.
3. Have ordered foil will try that.
4. Now that I have a really good laminator I am going to try the Brother HL-2132 again.
5. Will also try some ferric chloride as etchant.

Let you know how it goes.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on April 20, 2021, 06:25:18 am
I found in the manual for the Kyocera printer I can adjust print density from 1 to 5, it was on 3 and have changed it to 5 and will see how that goes. Density adjustment wasn't in the driver but you have to manually access it through the printer's menu system.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on April 21, 2021, 07:35:04 am
Success! ;D With the extra density of the toner and using Ferric Chloride this time, the board was a complete success. I don't think the Ferric Chloride was essential, I think it was the extra toner that made the difference. Though if I use the HCL/H2O2 the next time I am going to halve its strength. There were a few tiny pinholes in the 60 mil traces, but they were few and far between, not going to compromise conductivity. The thinner tracks and details had no defects at all.
Next time I prep the copper I think I'll use a fine sandpaper like 800 grit.
Cheers to all and thank you for your help. :)
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: Miti on April 21, 2021, 09:35:04 am
When I was making my own boards, I tried both methods, toner transfer and presensitized boards. I had amazing results with the optical method using an Epson inkjet printer found at the curb side, printing on transparents. I made double sided boards with 10 mil traces. The transparent film made it very easy to align top and bottom, and the cold printing did not stretch the film. Exposure was about 10 minutes each side with a fluorescent bulb, and I used ferric chloride as etchant which lasted for many years. The whole process of making a double sided board was under 2 hours. The hard part was drilling the vias and soldering through wires, then flattening the vias under the components.
Once I discovered PCBWAY and then JLC, I took all the chemicals to a proper recycling centre and stopped messing around.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: DiTBho on April 21, 2021, 12:27:50 pm
Which is the precision you can achieve? Which is the smallest track you get?
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on April 22, 2021, 05:42:19 am
Here is the assembled board(missing 1 connector). It is going to be a 3 axis CNC controller based on grblHAL(I am writing the driver for this board/processor the SEEED ArchMix imxRT1052). I have the 20pin SWD port as well as on board EEPROM(I2C), an SPI port as well as the USB,Serial,LCD,Flash,SDCARD etc of the SEEED module.
With regards to resolution, I don't know, but small pads and traces have excellent detail. I'll find out when I go SMD.
Yeah, drilling holes is a pain, but for prototyping, mainly single sided, I love the DIY approach. The timescales, as you know, go from a week to hours. But for final boards once the design is stable then PCBWay or JLPCB is the way to go. ;)
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: tooki on April 24, 2021, 10:00:00 am
. The hard part was drilling the vias and soldering through wires, then flattening the vias under the components.
Yep. Drilling holes (for legs you also have to spend time trimming) consumes so much time...

With SMD, where it’s impossible to use protoboard with anything resembling time efficiency, etching a board suddenly has a purpose again IMHO.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on April 25, 2021, 03:21:30 am
I bought one of those cheap Chinese bench drills about 20 years ago, the starter cap failed recently which I replaced. Normal chuck takes up to 10mm, it is only recently I have realised how good it is. It will take a 0.8mm drill bit quite happily, and when running there is no noticeable wobble. I use it for my pcb's. I have also found that if I leave the toner on after etching, each pad has a hole etched as well, that the increased contrast helps me find the centers so much easier. It is the little details that can make things easier.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: Miti on April 25, 2021, 10:17:07 am
Which is the precision you can achieve? Which is the smallest track you get?

Take a look at this thread.

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/beginners/what-is-the-best-way-to-make-printed-circuit-boards-at-home/25/ (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/beginners/what-is-the-best-way-to-make-printed-circuit-boards-at-home/25/)
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on April 26, 2021, 03:11:30 am
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.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: james_s on April 26, 2021, 04:32:03 am
Proper toner transfer sheets will cost the same, if not more than photosensitive PCB.  Therefore, why not just use the photo sensitive PCB method?

That would just work no matter what, sometimes cheaper and with no tricky thermal transfer required.   :-//

They're way cheaper when you use them properly. You don't use a whole sheet for every board, you print on plain paper first, then cut a piece of transfer sheet just a little larger than the printed area and tape it at the leading edge over what you just printed. Run the same sheet through the printer again to print on the transfer sheet. It took me several years to go through my first pack of transfer paper, then not long after I got my second pack I pretty much stopped etching my own boards. It's just so cheap to have professionally made boards done.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on April 26, 2021, 11:54:09 am
The boards are cheap, but the delivery cost and time delay are quite a negative if I can get away with single sided boards.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: SilverSolder on April 26, 2021, 12:57:54 pm

Large boards (e.g. "motherboards" that provide interconnects with other stuff), and special thick/strong PCB, is still expensive to get made by the usual suppliers compared to DIY, since they insist on making 3 or 5 of them which adds up very fast with large boards.

I've tried various DIY methods, they all have pros and cons and can be made to work: laser printer/toner transfer, inkjet transparency/UV mask, vinyl cutter... 

Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: SilverSolder on April 26, 2021, 01:05:05 pm
Well, I've bitten the bullet and ordered a laminator:

4 roller, variable temp, up to 1mm thickness(better than most others), hopeful it does 1.5mm and under $100 AUD(just). Will let you know how it goes when I get it.
 (https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/VEVOR-Lamination-MachineThermal-Laminator-Machine-12-6-for-Home-School-Office/174612846214[/url)


I have a variation of that same type of laminator except mine has a digital display, can be set up to 350F and the temperature is reasonably accurate (measured with IR thermometer).  It works really well for toner transfer on large boards. 

Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on April 26, 2021, 01:13:18 pm
Nice. I really love this new laminator.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: SilverSolder on April 26, 2021, 01:28:58 pm

The main limitation I've found with toner transfer is that the printout is accurate/reproducible to within about 0.8mm across a US Letter size page.

The best accuracy is in the top left quadrant of the page on my printer (Laserjet 2300)

The distortions due to roller slippage means the paper rotates, shimmies, loses positional accuracy as it worms its way through the paper path.  The heat also does things to the paper, especially if it is humid.

Basically - toner transfer has its limitations - don't use for large double sided high precision boards, and don't expect lithography level results!

Inkjet printers are significantly more precise, so for anything "big" it is worth reaching for the gel-coated transparencies and going optical...

Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: james_s on April 26, 2021, 08:24:02 pm
The horizontal axis of laser printers is normally very precise, I've encountered printers that had lousy accuracy on the vertical axis though. A printer I used to have seemed to noticeably degrade in this regard, formerly I made some fairly large boards, ~8" long without issues but toward the time I replaced it I was having trouble with even 4" boards. I keep my toner transfer supplies around for the occasional prototype or one-off, it's really handy for stuff like SMT adapter boards and quick evaluation boards. It's increasingly rare that I can be bothered to get everything out and use it though.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: SilverSolder on April 27, 2021, 02:14:12 am

The problem is the consistency - the error isn't a problem on a single sided board, but when you try to line up a double sided layout, a 0.8mm error (vertical) can become a real issue for a "tight" design.

My inkjets have no problem keeping repeatability to well below 0.5mm -  I guess the heat applied by the fuser just does stuff to paper... 
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: james_s on April 27, 2021, 03:22:24 am
I don't think it's the heat applied by the fuser, the old printer I had used to be very good and then it degraded. I suspect the issue is that the short axis can be very precise as the laser beam is scanned by a precision polygon mirror with closed loop feedback but the long axis is just a stepper motor in many cases without precise feedback.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on April 27, 2021, 04:00:40 am
Have you tried different papers to see if it is the heated roller that is warping the paper?
I did a run where I taped the yellow toner transfer paper to plain paper and ran it through the printer. There were little creases where the 2 papers had expanded at different rates. Then I just tried running a full yellow sheet through, no creases. I just wonder if a heat resistant paper would do a better job?
By the way at 50c per page for the toner transfer paper I don't mind the cost if I get a good board as a result.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: SilverSolder on April 27, 2021, 12:18:41 pm

Try this experiment:  print a full (A4 / letter size) big rectangle made with the thinnest pitch line, as big as will fit on the paper (not black filled, just a plain white rectangle)...  Then over-print that page again, with exactly the same image.

If the two align perfectly....   you have perfect paper, perfect pinch rollers, etc.  - please tell me what printer you use, if that happens, so I can get one!  :D

Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: SilverSolder on April 27, 2021, 12:19:25 pm
Have you tried different papers to see if it is the heated roller that is warping the paper?
I did a run where I taped the yellow toner transfer paper to plain paper and ran it through the printer. There were little creases where the 2 papers had expanded at different rates. Then I just tried running a full yellow sheet through, no creases. I just wonder if a heat resistant paper would do a better job?
By the way at 50c per page for the toner transfer paper I don't mind the cost if I get a good board as a result.

I do use toner transfer paper, I agree it is worth the price.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: Refrigerator on April 27, 2021, 01:44:14 pm
I use an Ilam Touch A3, that i found at the dumpster, together with extra glossy photo paper.
Laminators need their temp to be bumped up a little but i just use some heatgun on the board instead and it works ok.
Use sandpaper to key the copper, scouring pads won't cut it (pun intended). The toner just sticks better this way, 400-600 grit works fine.
After laminating peel the photopaper off dry, it comes off easily, no need for any water nonsense.
With this method i get reliable traces down to 0.2mm.
Pic included is what i can get, the defect in the trace is because my printer is damaged a little.
I had some better pics but i can't find them but you get the idea.
It's an adapter for a QFN-24 package IC.

Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: Refrigerator on April 27, 2021, 02:09:57 pm
Found more pics of the process.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: SilverSolder on April 27, 2021, 02:13:02 pm

I have attached a PDF of a "rectangle test page" to reveal how "good" the paper path of a laser printer is (and how "good" the paper itself is, for that matter).

Basically, print this page twice on the same piece of paper.  Do the two prints overlap perfectly?



Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on April 28, 2021, 03:32:10 am
Personally, rather than run the same piece of paper twice through the printer, I would run two pieces of paper once and see how they align, same amount of heat and shrinkage etc for both runs. Trouble with the yellow paper is that it is isn't very transparent. Not sure how to solve that.

P.S. Might try some of these: https://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/officeworks/p/nobo-plain-paper-copier-transparency-film-20-pack-acpp100c20#specifications (https://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/officeworks/p/nobo-plain-paper-copier-transparency-film-20-pack-acpp100c20#specifications)
made from PET  should be heat resistant.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on April 28, 2021, 07:22:46 am
I went out to Officeworks, bought the transparency films and did three consecutive prints. Over the whole page you are talking about an error of the thickness of the border line drawn, maybe 0.25mm?, it is hard to judge because they are so close. One problem with the film is that after the print it attracts every bit of dust around. Don't know how you would clean that. So I definitely think it is the paper that is the issue not the printer. The difference between inkjets and lasers, one heats the paper and the other doesn't, pretty similar mechanisms ( except for printhead vs laser, and heater/static drum). But they both use rollers to move the paper through the printer, so apart from shrinkage I would expect similar  accuracy :).
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: SilverSolder on April 28, 2021, 03:08:04 pm
I went out to Officeworks, bought the transparency films and did three consecutive prints. Over the whole page you are talking about an error of the thickness of the border line drawn, maybe 0.25mm?, it is hard to judge because they are so close. One problem with the film is that after the print it attracts every bit of dust around. Don't know how you would clean that. So I definitely think it is the paper that is the issue not the printer. The difference between inkjets and lasers, one heats the paper and the other doesn't, pretty similar mechanisms ( except for printhead vs laser, and heater/static drum). But they both use rollers to move the paper through the printer, so apart from shrinkage I would expect similar  accuracy :).

When I do this on toner paper, I don't get more than 0.8mm accuracy on a big page...

If you are doing transparencies, the inkjet is the way to go (around here, anyway) - it seems capable of 0.15mm or even better accuracy.


Then there is the resolution...  I have attached a couple of resolution tests that will tell you how good the printer is at resolving thin lines, should be printed both vertical and horizontal orientation as the resolution might be different.


Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on April 28, 2021, 11:34:15 pm

If you are doing transparencies, the inkjet is the way to go (around here, anyway) - it seems capable of 0.15mm or even better accuracy.

I think you missed the point of what I was doing. I was trying to differentiate between the accuracy of the laser printer vs the paper/transparency. I am not doing transparencies, they were chosen as a stable medium (PET) that allows easy overlay and comparison and would test the laser printer accuracy with minimal distortion due to the media.
The result is that the laser printer on the test page provided, has a maximum error of around 0.25mm over the whole page. The 0.8mm errors you reported, I am pretty sure, unless I have an exceptional machine, are due to paper shrinkage/expansion. The inkjets are better because they don't have the shrinkage/expansion issues of the laser. They might also provide blacker and more consistent blacks, I don't know as I don't have one.
Anyway, it was more a matter of curiosity on my part, but it also points to the outcome, that if transfer papers were more thermally stable, the results of the laser would be better, or use an inkjet which doesn't have the issue. :D
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: SilverSolder on April 28, 2021, 11:54:01 pm

If you are doing transparencies, the inkjet is the way to go (around here, anyway) - it seems capable of 0.15mm or even better accuracy.

I think you missed the point of what I was doing. I was trying to differentiate between the accuracy of the laser printer vs the paper/transparency. I am not doing transparencies, they were chosen as a stable medium (PET) that allows easy overlay and comparison and would test the laser printer accuracy with minimal distortion due to the media.
The result is that the laser printer on the test page provided, has a maximum error of around 0.25mm over the whole page. The 0.8mm errors you reported, I am pretty sure, unless I have an exceptional machine, are due to paper shrinkage/expansion. The inkjets are better because they don't have the shrinkage/expansion issues of the laser. They might also provide blacker and more consistent blacks, I don't know as I don't have one.
Anyway, it was more a matter of curiosity on my part, but it also points to the outcome, that if transfer papers were more thermally stable, the results of the laser would be better, or use an inkjet which doesn't have the issue. :D

Ah, I see.  -  I use transparencies sometimes so it didn't seem unnatural to me!  :D

Inkjet, with the correct type of ink and the correct type of transparency, is unbeatable for photo etching.   First you need the special Silkscreen Inkjet Transparency material as used by the T-shirt industry:  this film has a light milky white appearance, and the microporous waterproof technology coated paper can absorb a ton of ink (giving great contrast) and dries immediately. Second, you need dye ink (not pigment), it gets absorbed into the film and gives a darker result.

This is what I do when the boards get big, and precision matters.

For everything else, toner transfer is "good enough for Australia"!  :D
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy on April 30, 2021, 12:52:38 am
Thanks for the info SilverSolder, I don't know much about inkjets as I have tended to steer away from them because of ink costs. It sounds like you have excellent accuracy, you might want to take a look at this direct to pcb film printer which I posted previously:  https://hackaday.io/project/26216-pcb-exposer
Probably $100 worth of parts for exceptional accuracy.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: SilverSolder on April 30, 2021, 01:34:36 am
Thanks for the info SilverSolder, I don't know much about inkjets as I have tended to steer away from them because of ink costs. It sounds like you have excellent accuracy, you might want to take a look at this direct to pcb film printer which I posted previously:  https://hackaday.io/project/26216-pcb-exposer
Probably $100 worth of parts for exceptional accuracy.

I did look at that when you posted it earlier, definitely a cool idea.

I have both laser and inkjet printers, each is good at different jobs...  I don't have a color laser yet...  :D

The cost of ink is not too bad, if you refill the cartridges.

Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy 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. :)
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: SilverSolder 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?
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy 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.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: Miti 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.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: SilverSolder 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.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: Refrigerator 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.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: twospoons 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.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: SilverSolder 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...

Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: Whales on May 23, 2021, 02:47:15 am
BUMP

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

(https://www.eevblog.com/forum/projects/need-laminator-recommendations-for-toner-transfer/?action=dlattach;attach=1221551)

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.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: SilverSolder 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.
Title: Re: Need Laminator recommendations for Toner Transfer
Post by: moffy 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.