In the past I've made PCB's with a etch resistant feltpen or with seno transfer symbols. Making PCB's with UV masks and developing chemicals were'nt appealing either. Both ways are very anoyng and time consuming. So I came up with the folowing methode to transfer the design to the copper layer of the PCB board with easy and in a very short time.
In this very short instructable I will show you what I did to make a nice PCB.
Step 1: What You Need
- A printable design of your circuitery
- access to or in posession of a laser printer
- a sticker sheet
- A polibloc or something else to clean the copper side(s) of your PCB
- an etching agent like FE3CL
- A laminator
Step 2: First Things First...
Asuming that you have designed a circuit ready for transferring to a PCB, first make some testprints on normal paper to check the measurements.
Then take a sticker sheet and pull off all of the stickers. Now you have a piece of paper with on one side a non sticking layer (were the stickers were situated) and some loose stickers. Throw away the stickers, you don't need them. This non sticking (I think silicon) layer on the stickerless sticker sheet is the side where you must print your design to (pic 2). Don't forget to print your design mirrored!
Make sure the copper layer is cleaned with the Polibloc or very fine sandpaper, then clean it with acetone (pic 3 and 4)
Step 3: Transferring
Lay down the sheet with the printed circuit upwards on a table and lay the board withe the copper side down, precisely on the printed circuit design (pic 1).
BE CAREFULL! Allthough the toner does not fall off of the paper by it self, it is'nt fixed! You can rub it out easely if you're not carefull. So you must beware of not to shift the PCB in relation to the sheet otherwise your tracks may be corrupting!
Now, while pressing down your PCB, carefully bent over one side of the paper and fix it with sticky tape to the backside of the PCB (pic 2).
Step 4: Fixing the Toner on the PCB
In the next step you must make shure not to shift the paper on the PCB. Shifting the paper with to much pressure can damage the toner patern.
Now take the PCB with the atached sheet and run it trough the pre-heated laminator (pic 1 and 2). To make the copper layer hot enough, repeat this a few times but be carefull: after every run the PCB is getting hotter and hotter!. After 4 runs trough the laminator pull up carefully a corner of the sheet to see if the toner patern is fixed properly, and if not all the toner is tranferred, run it trough the laminator again until all of the toner is transferred (pic 3 and 4). In this stage the sheet with the design is sticking fairly to the PCB and does not shift easely. But allways be carefull!
A ver fained marking left behind on the sheet is ok.
Check all the tracks and fill in any left aways with a permanent marker (trim the point with a sharp knife to make a thin point). The only spot where I have to do that was on a mounting hole. Everything else was ok!
The board is now ready for etching.
Step 5: After Etching
After etching it in your etching agent, rub off the toner with fine sandpaper or a Polibloc to make the copper tracks visible and check for anomalies (pic 1 and 2)
Step 6: The Result
The end result is a very nice PCB ready for drilling and soldering. There were no faults and even the tracks between two spots are perfect (you can see three of them on the pic).