Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Simple technique to make PCB using laser printer and household iron.

I use this simple heat toner transfer method for quick home prototyping.
This method works because it employs physical properties of laser printer toner.
Basically, toner is a mix of a black pigment and very fine plastic powder.
While paper is being heated by fuser inside printer, plastic particles melt and stick to paper.
Now, if we attach paper to flat surface and apply heat to paper so temperature of paper exceed toners melting point, plastic melts and sticks to adjacent surface.

All chemicals used in PCB manufacturing should be available at electronic hobby shop or can be found in internet stores.
There's list of product distributors at manufacturer's web site



To make my prototypes I use printer HP Laser Jet 1012 and glossy laser photo paper from Staples (item 651611).
Other option is to use glossy magazine paper or backing paper from sticky labels.
Some printers are designed to use toner with very high melting point so not every unit is good for this method.
Success is a matter of experiments and experience. After some practice it's possible to make tracks 10 - 20 mil wide.
If you don't have laser printer you can use xerox to make copy of your artwork. Since xerox employs laser technology it should work the same way.