Press N Peel (Blue) Iron Transfer
Good Day All.
The time has now come for me to move away from BreadBoard & StripBoard designs and start building some of my Circuits to PCB.
I have desided to go the cheaper route for now to see how I get on.
I have just got a small pack of 5 Press N Peel (Blue) Sheets from eBay for just under £11.00, The cheapest I could found at this point in time.
At the same time I brought 500g Ferric Chloride Granules also from eBay for just under £10.00, But royal mail are taking there time.
I have also brought some Single and Double sided Copper-Clad Boards.
I have been looking on the internet for How To's for this Press N Peel, So far I have found the following web sites, and posts.
Techniks - How To
Semis - How to Make PCB's
This PCB etching, your feedback?
Making PCB at home - some help needed
PCB's - Iron Transfer Method
I have a LaserJet 1100 Printer, This prints my design onto the blue Iron Transfer just fine no brakes in the tracks ect.
I hope I am printing on the right side of this film, as I am printing onto the coated side, not the plasic side, please tell me this is right, lol.
All the sites I have seen so far say to use your iron at 275F-325F (135c-163c), My iron does not have any temps on the dial just Min to Max.
I 1st tried to Transfer my design to the copper board, I put the iron near max temp, I placed a single sheet of paper onto of the flim, and then placed the iron on, slowly moving the iron about, This melted the Transfer flim, Opps.
I then tried the same with the temp around the half way mark, Pressing the iron quite hard down, wile slowly moving around, for aprox 50-60sec's, I then let the board and flim cool down for aprox 10min's before trying to peel the flim off, When the flim was peeled off not all of the design had Transfered only about 80% of it.
So I am looking for some advice on the best way of doing this, as I don't want to keep wasting all the Transfer Sheets.
I know that getting the right temp is a must, so I am going to try and hunt down a cheep iron with temp settings on it.
Also I have seen on some of the web sites, that you just press and hold the iron on and don't move, some say to cool the board down with water once done.
Can I please have your advice on this one.
Last edited by Mad Professor; 05-10-2008 at 20:36.
I have also used a Laserjet 1100 printing onto the coated size, which is correct. To save money, why not cut the A4 sheets into A5 sheets - thus making the pack go twice as far (as long as your PCBs are small).
Put some paper between the iron and board, and spend 45 seconds, pressing firmly.
Clean the board first - agitate the acid to make it develop evenly.
See a previous tread on this subject. I still use heavyweight glossy printer paper (a few $ for 300 sheets), and it works perfectly 95% of the time. A perfectly clean board is essential. I scour it with fine steel wool (some say this is a bad idea), then wipe with laquer thinner, then methyl hydrate (maybe overkill). Lots of pressure with a hot iron.
I always use hydrochloric acid (1 part) to 2 parts hydrogen peroxide. Fast and cheap, but more toxic than ferric chloride (but less messy).
I cut the expensive paper just a little bigger than the design and tape it carefully to a sheet of plain paper that I had printed an image on already for position and use it as a carrier .. I'm cheap but that works great!
Also, I stopped using the expensive transfer papers as they don't seem work any better than good photo paper which is 1/10th the price. Use a scotch bite pad on the PCB first then wipe with alcohol. The photo paper leaves a little residue on the PCB but it comes off with a very lite buff of the scotch brite afterwards. Practice!
I always have the iron on max smoke. I put several pieces of paper between the iron and the transfer and then I press fairly hard and move the iron around if it is a large image. I also have the PCB on a magizine so I don't scorch the counter top! I keep the heat on for almost 5 minutes and I usually get almost a perfect transfer.
Small imperfections can be touched up with a sharpie super fine point marker pen under a magnifying glass. It is resistant to the acid.
Obviously ... be sure you have you image reversed on the transfer so it prints correctly and the printer on maximum resolution so it puts as much toner on as possible.
I use the blue Press-n-Peel film and I find the results depend upon what printer I use. I've a Brother laser at home and it's never worked well; a Kyocera at work and it's just dandy.
Other things that help, I find, are:
1) Use a piece of paper between the iron and film, so that you can move the iron around easily
2) Be pressing against a flat, hard surface, to get even pressure across the board
3) Press really hard. Put all of your weight on the iron
4) Cool the board and film down with cold water, for longer than you think you need to
I've happily made boards with 0.5 mm tracks and 1 mm pin spacings using the blue film, but yes, it takes a bit of getting used to and you'll screw up a fair few boards while debugging your technique.
I set my iron to 'polyester' and put a piece of paper (standard A4) between the iron and board. I iron it hard for about 5 mins, moving the iron over the paper. Then drop the board into a tub of water. I work on an ironing board, why use anything else?
Brother printers are known not to work, kyocera are good, hp are good.
I also use the hydrochloric/peroxide etching mixture and it works really well.
Thanks for eveyones replys so far.
I have been cleaning the copper clad board with a green pad thats normly used for cleaning baked on crud off the frying pan, I do this under running water, and the dry with a hair dryer.
I have not got any, Thinners, Methyl hydrate or Alcohol, The only thing I have to had at this point in time is White Spirit & Methlated Spirit.
Also I have just been reading that some pepole have even used laminators instead of an iron, I have a spare laminator in the loft that go's upto 125c, but I think the roller speed is to fast, as a A4 sheet only takes 30sec's.
As I have not used AC motors before is it possible to slow them down?
Thanks for your time.
Rubbing alcohol (isopropanol) also works well as last rinse of the pcb. Just don't use the minty smelling version.
When using a standard laminator, it is normal to run the pcb through multiple times. You need to bring the copper temp up to the fusing point of the toner. Most laminators do not have a heating element that will do that in one run.
It also helps to preheat the copperclad.
An old laser printer can be modded to use as pretty good laminator.
The toner chemistry varies greatly. Some toners are just very difficult to fuse to the copper.
Add on as much toner as possible, use dark settings.
Try different papers, the blue film is great marketing but very expensive. Glossy photo paper, magazine pages, sunday advertising supplements all work. Even clay coated inkjet paper is pretty good. You just need to fine tune your technique.
There is a new thread on Homebrew-PCB Yahoo group that describes printing on copper with an inkjet printer, then sprinkling on toner powder and fusing. The ink acts as a temporary adhesive until the toner melts.
I have the same problem with the speed of the laminator. I solved it by making multiple pases (4 pases will do)
Originally Posted by Mad Professor
Thanks for the extra advice, I have the HP LaserJet1100 on max 600dpi, the XP/Vista driver does not let you change the Toner Density, I have just done a HP Self Test Print, and the Toner Density is set to 3, I beleave you can select 1 to 5.
So I am now hunting around the internet to see if there is anyway I can adjust the Toner Density.