DIY Heat Toner Transfer Method

Introduction: DIY Heat Toner Transfer Method

About: Always liked to make 'things'....

Ever thought of making your own PCB for your project? It is quite easy, and I'll tell you exactly how ;)


Chalk paper or heat transfer paper.
Laminating machine for easy transfer, iron for not so easy ;) (choice is yours)
Laser printer,
Etchant B327
Drill bit 1mm
Hobby drill.

Step 1: Design Your Circuit.

Design your circuit in your favourite PCB design software - some use eagle, I use free
Once designed, print it out on a laser printer. I use chalk paper - good transfer effects and quite cheap.

Step 2: Transfer Your Design to PCB

There are a couple of ways to transfer toner to PCB (that I know of)
1 - chemical - by using acetone and isopropanol - I've had mixed results.
2 - thermal - by heating up toner enough to stick to the PCB - and so far, I've had best results.

We stick to the thermal method.
Just place your design, toner side on the copper side of the PCB and run it through laminator.
Now laminator should be able to accept 125 microns thickness, and you'll have to run it multiple times (usually 10-15 times). There is possibility to replace thermostat on the machine to have higher temperature, thus requiring less runs, but you are giving up its base functionality - laminating ;)

Step 3: Soak It in the Water

After transferring toner to PCB, put it in the water.
After few minutes, paper should lift off the PCB, leaving toner on the PCB. You still should wash it under warm water and inspect if design transferred correctly - on PCB you can still fix it abit with water-resistant marker before etching, but you can always re-do after cleaning PCB with acetone.

Step 4: Etching PCB

I use B327 etchant - that is safer than Ferric Chloride, it does turn blue from the copper it etches away, and it likes to be used in about 40C, but does the job perfectly.

Step 5: Drill the Holes

I use 1mm drill bit, but probably 1,2mm might be handier for better grade of wires. And a handheld hobby drill does the job ;) and you are done:))

Step 6: Thermal Transfer Ideas

Thermal transfer also works on other materials/surfaces, as a sample, on the aluminium -
Rocket was transferred by iron (I could not fit that in laminator)
Atari logo and photo of a castle was transferred to a soda can :P by laminator ;) (I have not bothered with mirroring logo since it was a test - but you have to remember to do it)

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