Introduction: Stickers; Now ,a PCB Manufacturing Byproduct

About: Part time tinker, Brute Force programmer. My codes are often big but are functional.

On an effort to reduce waste,I did some experiments with pcb toner transfer paper, in an effort to reduce wastage.

Here's what I come up with to achieve that goal-

Print some stickers and branding lables and transfer onto objects, much like dymo tapes.

To do so,I tested various processes,including using ink thinner, using iron (similar to how we transfer the ink onto pcb to create an etch mask) and using adhesives to transfer the ink.

The best method so far was using epoxy glue or wood glue.since we don't have to rely on adherence of ink,plus you can apply a second layer of glue to add to it's abrasion protection.Also it results in least amount of smudges of all the methods tested so far.

glues that don't work, and why-

cyanoacrylic (smudges)

synthetic rubber based (sticks to the paper)

office glue (very low adherance)

Step 1: Prerequisites

Skip to step 6, if you are good with PCB design and graphics design

you've got to have access to an HP laser-jet printer (let me know if any other brand works for both this and pcb fabrication,I haven't come accross an alternative yet)

you've got to know your paper size and what area of it,your printer can print onto it.

Normally,if you buy paper from ebay (link).They'll be about a4 size

Some printers will not print at the top and bottom 1 inch area and 1/2 inch area at the sides. Depends on the printer though (my inkjet printer can,but it's useless in this case since the ink type isn't compatable)

that leaves us with useable area of 7x9 inches or 177x228 mm

Step 2: Design Your Circuit Board-using the Blank Pcb's Dimentions

I used fritzing for this.

The dimentions of my board were 150x 115 which is less than the maximum useable area of our paper.

Step 3: Resize the Pcb and Fill It Up With Mess

resize the pcb to maximum useable area (177x220).

Be careful of what layer of pcb you are going to print onto,Because you might have to flip the images and invert the color of the images before pasting it onto the pcb. THEY HAVE TO BE BLACK AND WHITE.

How to paste them? -

insert a silkscreen image ,

go into it's settings and change it into PCB copper top/bottom layer

Notice that normal text looks flipped in my example while "reverse engineer" looks straight. There's a reason behind that.

most of these images were made using combination of gimp image editor and ms paint.

Step 4: Print a Test Sheet

This will give you an idea of what the final result is going to look like (It was supposed to be black and white but I've accidently let my cousin do some coloring onto it.

Step 5: Finally Get a Printout

Step 6: Trim the Sticker

Cut away the sticker you want to apply, trim it while leaving just enough paper that you could fold to create a "pull tab" that will help you release the paper from the "transfer".

Step 7: Prepair Your Glue

If you are using wood glue (use it for wooden surfaces only) ,you need not do anything

for epoxy, just mix a small amount in propotions as suggested by it's manual.

for adding a background color or "glow in the dark agent (eg)" to the sticker, you may mix your die into the glue at this point.

Step 8: Apply the Glue to Paper

Apply a thin layer of glue onto the print,you may not apply it evenly but be sure to cover it fully.

Step 9: Apply the Sticker Onto Various Surfaces

place the paper onto the surface and press it while moving it around to spread the glue.

Then wait for 24 hours,while ocasionally oberving it during that time,to prevent any problems, like paper lifting up,behind you back, making a partial contact.

Step 10: Remove the Paper to See Results

If you have any errors,fix it using similar colored marker

You may also use color marker to add in details to your stickers (like hair color) (I didn't do it but you can)

Step 11: (Optional) Extra Layer of Glue for Abrasion Resistance

Apply a thin layer of epoxy onto your print.

to give it a glossy look,paste a blank toner transfer paper onto it.

for matty look,leave it as it is,in a clean enviornment.

Step 12: Final Result

Here's all the various ways, I used this technique .

Please feel free to share your own examples and leave a comment.