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PCB toner transfer? Answered

Hey all- back with another dilemma. Whilst trying to make a PCB for the second time (first failed miserably), Im stuck on toner transfer. I printed my design out from eagle and laid it out, and Ironed it for about 2min on each side (mostly because the first time i tried i did it for about a minute and i only got about half the design on). When it cooled down i took it off and nothing got transferred. I got some residual lines from I think heat stress on the paper, but I was able to take them off. So naturally I tried again- but this time with a different method. I found some t-shirt transfer paper upstairs, and tried that. NEVER doing that again. I ended up having to sand my board down for like 5-7 min trying to get all the gunk off. Any ideas why my printer method doesnt work? Im using the same brand of photo paper as last time (Costco Kirkland brand), but a different printer- a canon instead of a brother. I have access to the brother printer, a hi quality photo printer (1200 dpi I believe), a dell laser printer, and the canon. I think I used the brother printer last time I tried (or possibly the photo printer- also a canon). Could that be the problem? Thanks in advance- Astroboy907

P.S I also have some transparency sheets if anyone has a method to get that to work.


. Are you sure you're using a laser printer? Laser photo/color printers are still expensive and not a common household item.

I belive its a laser printer. Im pretty sure it might be only B/W but thats all you really need for transfer. Will check and make sure.

> I belive its a laser printer
.  Does it have ink cartridges or toner cartridges?
.  Can you hear something moving rhythmically or is the noise fairly constant?
.  Which printer is it? Manufacturer/model? Should tell you what you have at the printer's web page.

> it might be only B/W but thats all you really need for transfer
.  Exactly. But it's less likely that you have a color laser printer, since they are considerably more expensive.

ok here goes. Actually the brother is a laser printer (Brother HL5250DN model). B/W, so its all good. Will try again.

Epic fail. Transfer failed, it ate through my sharpie traces, and I'm out a board. I think its probably my paper- some have had success with the sticker label wax under the stickers. Will try again when I get some new boards from radioshack (closest electronics supplier).

Worth noting:

The brother printers have a higher melting point and can be much harder to work with.

NachoMahma is correct, a laser printer is required.  Laser printers do their job by heat-fusing the toner to the paper, so that toner can be heat-fused to the board as well.

You may want to iron longer.  I pressed for four minutes to get good transfer using Office Depot photo paper (had it on hand, that's why I used it).  Thicker paper takes longer.  However, if you press too long, the traces spread a bit.

Next time, to remove larger amounts of toner, acetone or lacquer thinner is a heckuva lot easier than sanding.

I've noticed that the steam hole locations on the iron sometimes leave circular areas that aren't transferred quite as well.  Next time I am trying a thin sheet of aluminum between the iron and the paper for better thermal contact over the entire area.

Ok- can do.

I wouldve used lacquer thinner probably if I had some on hand. Unfortunately I dont, which kinda sucks, but it was more than just toner. It had some sort of waxy/sticky sheet on it, and when that dried it took forever to get off.

I have access to a pretty old iron (looks like about a 1980-90s model) and it has pretty much flat plate for the base, with one hole for steam at the very top.