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Whats the best Laser Printer to buy to make pcbs ? Answered

Whats the best Laser Printer to buy to make pcbs using the toner transfer method ? alot of people seem to use HP but dont know what model to buy, is there a certain type of toner to use are they all the same please help

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NightRunner417 (author)2013-06-03

Oh and I forgot to mention, I use the laminator machine method to do the transfering. Never tried using a clothes iron, but I really like the way the laminator sticks the toner so perfectly. :-)

It's an LP-120, a little modified for higher heat and less tension to reduce board jamming. Only good for small boards, mind you, but that's about all I do so all is good there.

NR417

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NightRunner417 (author)2013-06-03

I've used a Samsung ML-1660 (apparently no longer available) for a long time for PCBs, and it worked well. I did notice some pinholing on traces but you should bear in mind that probably my etching methods could be a bit better, so that could be partly to blame. I just tinned my traces to make sure they were ok and sat back and enjoyed the ability to dramatically increase my level of PCB complexity that goes with the laser printer method. One important note: I tried to clean the drum on the mlt-d104 cartridge because it was gathering spots of toner, and foolishly took the advice of one site that said to use acetone. WHOOPS, bigtime damage to the coating on the drum - DON'T DO IT. Now I'm trying to decide whether to scrap the printer for a newer model or just replace the cartridge. The printer itself has never given me any trouble, always been a good girl, but if I could get a model that made heavier traces.... ;-)

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Re-design (author)2010-02-10

They all use pretty much the same toner.  I've had really good luck using a very low end panasonic and a medium level HP.  I think your technique is more important than the brand of laser printer.

use lots of heat in the iron and make sure that you don't move the transfer once you have it placed on the board.


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welder030 (author)Re-design2010-02-10

so it doesnt really matter what make i buy ?

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welder030 (author)welder0302010-02-10

what about this one ?

Brother HL 2140

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klee27x (author)welder0302010-02-11

It will work for toner transfer, if you buy a $10.00 bottle of generic toner. The cartridges are conveniently made with a refilling port, so you can easily empty and refill them.

When I broke mine (abuse), I replaced it with the 2170W. There's a lot to like about these machines.


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frollard (author)welder0302010-02-10

I have hear specifically bad things about brother toner after I had trouble using one - and looking up proper technique they recommended a samsung or hp.

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welder030 (author)frollard2010-02-10

what model of samsung are you using ? thanks for the replys ppl :)

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frollard (author)welder0302010-02-10

the cheapest one wal-mart sells...it was about 60 dollars once the dust settled.

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frollard (author)Re-design2010-02-10

I must contest - I made some printouts with recommended settings on my work brother laser, and they turned out CRAP.  Tried 5 or 6 on very light office paper, and one on magazine paper - all crap.

then I searched online "troubles with making pcbs' - the toner in several models of brother and hp are brittle and don't adhere well to copper. 

Made a quick one with various settings on my home samsung (recommended online) and it was 1000% better,  first try.

Granted, you can't discount good technique - but toner quality plays a big role in the final product.

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Re-design (author)frollard2010-02-10

I wasn't aware of any problems with laser printers, but I did mention that I only had direct experience with two laser brands.

Glad you chimed in corrected my post.

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frollard (author)Re-design2010-02-10

Yeah, it's easy to miss if you already have access to a good one - I think its easier to state that its a few bad apples, not a few gems in the rough; as it were.

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jeff-o (author)Re-design2010-02-10

The paper you use is also very important.  I use high gloss photo paper.  Matte and medium gloss paper simply do not work (for me, anyway). 

I've got no advice on what printer to choose, though.  I use a lousy Minolta printer that I despise, but I works, eventually....

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RavingMadStudios (author)2010-02-10

You can also just go to the copy shop and make photocopies on the self-serve machine, and not buy a laser printer at all. Works for me.

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