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Toner Transfer Method for PCBs. One ham’s first attempts to make PCBs at home. Jim Larsen, AL7FS 907-345-3190 AL7FS@AL7FS.us. Ver 1.0 3/22/06 By Jim Larsen, AL7FS. Overview of Toner Transfer PCBs. First attempts at Printed Circuit Boards What is toner transfer method?

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toner transfer method for pcbs

Toner Transfer Method for PCBs

One ham’s first attempts

to make PCBs at home

Jim Larsen, AL7FS

907-345-3190

AL7FS@AL7FS.us

Ver 1.0 3/22/06

By Jim Larsen, AL7FS

overview of toner transfer pcbs
Overview of Toner Transfer PCBs
  • First attempts at Printed Circuit Boards
  • What is toner transfer method?
  • My approach to toner transfer
  • Drawing the Schematic
  • Converting to a PCB layout
  • Preparing the Board, Laying down the Toner
  • Removing the Paper; Leaving the Toner
  • Etching the Board, cleanup and solder coat
  • Drilling, shearing and building
  • Comments and Suggestions
first attempts at pcbs
First Attempts at PCBs
  • Early years – sticky labels cut with a sharp blade
  • Sharpie permanent ink pens for resist
  • Results worked but were pretty simple and crude
pcbs via toner transfer tt
PCBs via Toner Transfer (TT)
  • Why even build my own boards?
    • Seemed like fun.
    • Cost can be low.
    • For over 40 years complex Boards stopped me.
    • Manhattan Style building is good but I never seem to get started.
    • Front-end load the hard work; finish with fun.
    • So What is Toner Transfer Method??
toner transfer method
Toner Transfer Method
  • A method of creating a printed circuit board (PCB) using a copy machine or a laser printer to make apply the etchant resist pattern
  • Software now available to create schematic and PCB layout
  • No expensive equipment is required but can be helpful in the home
  • A simple process once the basics are mastered
al7fs approach
AL7FS Approach
  • Equipment in the Toner Transfer Process
  • A computer
  • Free Demo Software – Up to 250 pins
  • Laser Printer or Copier
  • Various dishes for soaking or etching
  • A household iron or a laminator
  • Tarn-X, soap, scrubber, Acetone cleaner, surgical gloves,
  • Drill Press
  • Carbide drill bits
  • Shear or other method for cutting PCB
al7fs approach7
AL7FS Approach
  • Equipment in the Toner Transfer Process
  • A computer – Already had a computer
  • Free Demo Software – DipTrace demo version
  • Laser Printer or Copier – Decided to Buy Printer
  • Various dishes - Already had on hand
  • A household iron or a laminator – Laminator-eBay
  • Tarn-X, soap, scrubber, Acetone cleaner, surgical gloves – Had all but the scrubber
  • Drill Press – Decided to buy a small one
  • Carbide drill bits – Bought via eBay
  • Shear or other method for cutting PCB – Will use a friend’s shear
lets build a simple circuit
Lets build a simple circuit:
  • Zapper circuit schematic.
  • From Dr. Clark's book "The Cure For All Diseases“
  • Only the schematic is provided from web source
  • What to do……??
  • http://www.members.aol.com/mas1911/index.html
dip trace draw the schematic
Dip Trace – Draw the Schematic

http://www.diptrace.com/

Diptrace has a Free Version: Freeware edition does not support

export to DXF, Gerber and N/C Drill, max. number of pins — 250.

diptrace convert to pcb step 1
Diptrace Convert to PCB –Step 1

Next Step is to move the components

to the layout you would like.

run autorouter
Run AutoRouter

Scale 400%

print to transfer paper
Print to Transfer Paper
  • Tried Inkjet Photo Paper with zero success
  • Plain Costco bulk white paper worked
clean pcb board
Clean PCB Board
  • Tarn-X First
    • Board was old with fingerprints
  • Dishsoap and hot water
  • Scrub down with rough green scrub pad from Carrs
  • Don’t touch surface from here to the end
transfer toner to board
Transfer Toner to Board

Or Use a Clothes Iron

remove paper from toner
Remove Paper from Toner

Soak 20+ Min. Warm,

Soapy Water

choices at this point
Choices at This Point
  • Etch all Four circuits
      • Need to touch up traces and Pads
  • Cut the best board free of others
      • Needs No touchup – 3 good 1 bad
      • Uses less toner
      • Cut with hack saw, finish w/file
      • Find a shear for cleanest cuts
etching the board
Etching the Board
  • I used old Etching Solution – 15 years old (Not a good idea)
  • Temperature of solution was only about 68 degrees (Not warm enough)
  • Bottle says up to two hours
  • I took 65 minutes – That’s too long
etching the board22
Etching the Board
  • Used a throw-away brush to gently wipe the surface and keep fresh solution on the copper
etching the board23
Etching the Board
  • Copper slowly is eaten away
  • Only the circuit will remain
etching the board24
Etching the Board
  • The Etching is complete
  • Some circuits are good, others not good
etching the board25
Etching the Board
  • This one looks pretty good but with some pitting
cleaning off the toner
Cleaning off the Toner
  • Acetone was used to clean off the Toner from the circuit pattern
  • Left black smudges on the board – No answer for this yet
cleaning up the traces
Cleaning up the Traces
  • My etch process undercut the toner in places
  • I inspected each circuit with a magnifying glass
  • In places I added a jumper to assure continuity
cleaning up the traces28
Cleaning up the Traces

Solder Wick = solder brush

Solder Paste rubbed on circuit

Temp. – 750 F

Paint the traces with Solder

cleaning up the traces29
Cleaning up the Traces
  • Solder on traces protects the copper from corrosion
additional cleanup
Additional Cleanup
  • Poor traces repaired with small wire and soldered into place
additional cleanup31
Additional Cleanup
  • Poor traces repaired with small wire and soldered into place
finishing touches
Finishing touches
  • Small drill press is a requirement
  • Small diameter drill bits need drill press
  • Drill bits need to be carbide tip drills
  • Don’t breath the dust from drilling
final touches
Final Touches
  • May Use toner transfer method again to add component outlines on the top of the board. Can usehousehold ironor laminator to fix the toner
  • Solder in the components
  • Test the circuit
  • Install in a chassis as desired
final comments
Final Comments
  • This is my first attempt at toner transfer.
  • I offer my observations as a learning tool
  • I plan to keep trying new techniques
  • There are Many variations on this technique
  • Board cleaning methods used by me not best. (e.g., the acetone black smears)
  • My etching technique undercut some traces (Needs major improvement)
  • Great potential with this technique
  • Give it a try Yourself !!
links for toner transfer
Links for Toner Transfer
  • http://www.diptrace.com/ HomePage for DipTrace software
  • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/diptr/ Mail List for DipTrace
  • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Homebrew_PCBs Mail List for homebrew PCBs
  • http://max8888.orcon.net.nz/pcbs.htm another step by step example
  • http://www.Google.com/ search on “toner transfer method”
slide36

Alaska QRP Club

  • No officers, no directors, no constitution & No dues.
  • Meets the Third Friday of every month - 7:00 PM (Some show for dinner at 6PM)
  • Meet at Dennys (in the back room) on DeBarr near Bragaw.
  • Contact is Jim Larsen, AL7FS, 907-345-3190. AL7FS@AL7FS.us
  • http://www.qsl.net/kl7aqc/