Printing and preparation

First thing it to find your self a nice quality magazine. I’ve been using “Casa”, it’s a Spanish heavy weight fancy houses magazine with lots of photos. I’m sure any other mag that uses quality paper would do. We’re talking “Homes and Garden” not “Hello”. You know the sort of thing, it weighs a ton , sits on peoples coffee tables and is full of photos of tasteless  stylish houses you would neither want nor afford. The important thing is that the paper in these magazines is light enough to be easily removed by soaking, stiff enough to pass through the printer without snags, and coated with something glossy (clay I believe) that releases the toner well later on.

One thing to mention at this point is this; pick a page that hasn’t been handled before. The reason being that greasey fingerprints effect how well the page picks up the toner. Less toner on the page means less toner for your board. You want a nice crisp and fresh page straight of the press untouched by human hand.

I got my “Casa” from work fresh out of it’s baggie and stashed it away for this use alone. Also if possible try to pick a page with lots of white on it, it makes it easier to inspect the printout, but makes no actual difference to the process as a whole.

Any way…

Cut the whole page out keeping it nice and square and as near to A4 as you can, or whatever standard your printer expects. Feed it alone into the manual feed of your handy laser printer, if the paper is heavy enough it should feed on it’s own just fine.

Mine printer is a Lexmark e120 that I bought at PC City (Yeah I know… PC World…) it’s nothing special, 600 dpi I think and only cost around 150 Euro and has a network port too which is nice.

Lexmark e120
Paper ready and waiting. Sorry about the blurry photo.
Make sure that you have your printer set as dark as possible. You can normally find some contrast settings or economy mode hidden in the driver control panel somewhere.
Set your printer to be as dark as possible.
Set to as dark as possible.
Print out
Print out on magazine paper. Note that I have minimized the etching
by filling in as much of the blank space as possible with ground plane.
Eagle can do this for you automatically.
(You can click this image to enlarge it)

You need to cut your copper clad board to size and make sure that it’s nice and clean. I give it a quick scrub with my washing up scrubby sponge from the kitchen. Then I give it a quick once over with an alcohol soaked paper towel to remove any finger prints etc.

Copper board
Single sided copper board cut to size and scrubbed lightly with a scouring pad.

Now on to the next stage, transferring your layout to the copper board.

3 thoughts on “Printing and preparation

  1. Hi Luscher. The Toner I’m talking about is just normal laser printer toner that you get in regular laser printers, nothing special. It’s not technically ink as such but I guess you might call it “ink” in general terms.
    It’s actually an incredibly fine dry plastic powder that’s transferred to the paper using static electricity then fuzed (melted) together and stuck to the paper.
    We take advantage of the fact that it’s a plastic by re-melting it and transferring it using pressure to the copper board to use as the etch resist.

  2. i am using a laminator instead iron . My laminator i bought from a local hipermarket ( acheap model ) which i modified his high temperature with a trim . until i get 180 grade Celsius , the best temperature for transfer .I laminate the paper (with drawing )and cooper board together for 3-4 times . the transfer are very solid , no need correction .

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