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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » The layout factory
Press N Peel - which printer?
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Rykhaard



Joined: Sep 02, 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 9:05 pm    Post subject:  Press N Peel - which printer?
Subject description: I'm coming back to PnP!
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Hey all. For any and everyone out there that uses Press N Peel to make your own PCBs, what laser printer are you using and / or, would you recommend?

When I last worked (successfully) with Press N Peel in the mid 1990's, I had bought the HP 5L laser printer. It worked very well.

I'm not wanting to spend a pile of money on a laser printer though, as this will be the ONLY thing that it's used for.

From everyone's knowledge - would a cheaper model at 600x600 DPI be more than fine for this? I'm hoping to find a new laser printer for $100.

Is this also possible?

Final question - I've barely yet used Express PCB for doing schematics. Would their PCB layout software print to a laser, WITHOUT any size adjustment requirements? That, was something that I had to deal with on my HP 5L using Windows 95, back in the old days. I'm hoping this time, that I can just print directly to the laser, without any size adjustments. Surprised Surprised

Thanks for any help! I'm hoping to move to PnP completely, as it will save me MANY hours of layout time on a PCB, by hand. And my time for this hobby, is extremely limited. I'm trying to save time, any way that I can.
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Luka



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ive been using photocopiers at school to do this

buying printers is such a pain these days, ive just vowed never to buy another after a few months of extreme frustration.

they all run out of ink within a few days and refills are such a pain. sometimes refill wont work, or you only get 1/2 your ink out before it wants another. grr

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Rykhaard



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Luka wrote:
ive been using photocopiers at school to do this

buying printers is such a pain these days, ive just vowed never to buy another after a few months of extreme frustration.

they all run out of ink within a few days and refills are such a pain. sometimes refill wont work, or you only get 1/2 your ink out before it wants another. grr


Photocopiers? Directly to the PnP sheet?

Bugger there. Sad The only photocopier that I have available to me at work has a SEVERE distortion of the copy, off to 1 side. If you measured the maximum of the stretching off to the side, it'd prolly reach a 1/4" or more. Sad That would be impossible to use for a PCB layout. Sad

Looking at 3 of our suppliers here (Staples; Future Shop and Best Buy) I've found quite a few laser printers from $50 to $140. I'd stick at the top end of that range, knowing well of the 'cheaper end of things' from the past. Razz

Still - waiting to see what others say though. Smile Until I get some PnP sheets, I could print test runs, at least, on paper. Smile
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andrewF



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I use a Samsung ML-2010 mono laser printer
cost AU$70 and came with ink to do 1200 pages
A refill cartridge is AU$120 and is (supposedly) good for 3000 pages.

it works fine for PnP
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SineSurfer



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi Rykhaard, I got a cheap Samsung ML-2010... $100?, i'd say it's good enough if you don't mind touching up the transfers a little sometimes, an HP on the $200 range will do better though, there's one at my office that I have used before Smile
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Rykhaard



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Whoa. And the Samsung ML2010 that you've both mentioned is still available / in stock, at $49.99 Canadian. Smile

Thanks for both of your inputs! I'll wait to see if there's any other input, as well as check into PnP costs.
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Rykhaard wrote:
That would be impossible to use for a PCB layout.


You could measure how it distorts the image and then pre-un-distort your image ...

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krisp14u



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I think you’re sold but im getting good results with a ML-2010 too Very Happy
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fonik



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i have a brother DCP-7010 laser printer copier here at home. it does NOT work.
at work we have a large variety of laser printers and copiers. i will still ahve to find out, which works best. until now i got the best results with the older ones. they are now out of service. Crying or Very sad

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bubblebunz



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Mine is a Brother HL-2140 which I bought to use pnp blue on. It doesn't work at all. I am using a photocopier I have access to (not sure of the make) and ironing on normal photocopy paper. My boards are just appalling (although all have worked ok). I am now thinking of buying a UV fingernail curing box from e-bay and trying photosensitive.
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Rykhaard



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks everyone for further input! Smile Smile

Firstly:

Blue Hell wrote:
Rykhaard wrote:
That would be impossible to use for a PCB layout.


You could measure how it distorts the image and then pre-un-distort your image ...


Mmmm. If I photocopied an x, y grid on a paper ....... graph paper for that matter ....... Wink - I should be able to measure the deflection. I'd then have to find a proper deflection tool in art software to counter for it.

But - I'd have to make absutively sure, to place the PCB drawing to be transferred, in the exact same position on the photocopier.

Very Happy I think though that going out to buy the new Samsung ML-2010 for $49.99 might be the best idea as now there're 3 people having mentioned success with it. Smile

Also - I'm VERY happy to see that I didn't rush out to buy one of the Brother laser printers that are also very low cost, as 2 of them DON'T work! Surprised
That's a major drag for Fonik and Bubblebunz though. Sad
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fonik



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Rykhaard wrote:
That's a major drag for Fonik and Bubblebunz though. Sad

oh, i am fine with that. actually it is my wifes copier. it would have been nice to use it for my layouts but i did not buy it for that purpose... Very Happy

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Rykhaard



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Right then. Off I went. Though Staples was listing online, that the ML-2010 was out of stock, they WERE listing the ML-2510 (at $99.95) in stock.
Getting there, I found they WERE both in stock, but I stuck with my decision to go with the 1 model up. Smile

Here's to hoping there're no troubles with the PnP with it. Surprised Smile I ordered 5 sheets today from AllElectronics. That appears to be the fastest and easiest way to get them.

Other thoughts I've had on making the PCBs with PnP from what I also read at AllElectronics - things I'm going to look at doing:

- keeping my PCBs as SMALL as possible (I had done over 6"x6" in the 90's Sad ). Apparently, the larger the copper board is, the greater that the heat is spread out. Never HAD thought of that. Duh. Surprised

- preheating the iron, of course, on the Wool setting

- heating the copper board FIRST before placing the PnP on to iron. (This had been suggested by 1 product reviewer, to make the toner adhere better over all)

The first boards that I'll be doing will be single 4 step sequencer sections for my Quadatrix sequencer, which will be small anyways. The iron will probably cover them completely. Shall see, once I get my 99% completed schematic transferred to PCB layout. Smile

Thanks for everyone's help! I liked the idea of Samsung as well as I've been very impressed with their product quality, for a few years now. Smile
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loss1234



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

just a late note
i got a 120 dollar HP (i think the model is 1020) and i love it. cartridges are 70 and last for about 2000 sheets or more.

i too use express pcb (thanks to y'alls recommendations) and am having great luck with it.

i print straight from express pcb to the paper
(BUT I DONT KNOW HOW TO GET RID OF THAT DAMN SQUARE AROUND MY PCB ARTWORK...ideas??)

thanks

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andrewF



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

just a thought with the samsung - maybe you are already onto this:
feeding in whole sheets of P&P can be hit and miss.
better to print out your design on regular paper, cut out a piece of P&P big enough to cover the image and tape it over the image. I just tape one side, the one that goes first into the printer.
Put the paper back in, print again with all the settings adjusted for maximum ink. Voila!
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Rykhaard



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

andrewF wrote:
just a thought with the samsung - maybe you are already onto this:
feeding in whole sheets of P&P can be hit and miss.
better to print out your design on regular paper, cut out a piece of P&P big enough to cover the image and tape it over the image. I just tape one side, the one that goes first into the printer.
Put the paper back in, print again with all the settings adjusted for maximum ink. Voila!


Ohhhhh. THAT's a good point! I was originally considering, filling the entire PnP sheet up with modules and printing them all at the same time.

But - in searching for a blank PnP sheet that I thought I still had from 13 years ago, I did find a PnP sheet that was full, with 6 x CEM3340 VCO circuits from when I was building them.
All 6 of them looked fine. That was back in the ol' days, when I was printing to it from Win95 on an HP 5L laser.

Has any one been having troubles, printing full sheets? If so, I'll follow your suggestion. Smile Thankee muchlee. Smile
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SineSurfer



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

andrewF wrote:
...cut out a piece of P&P big enough to cover the image and tape it over the image....
Put the paper back in, print again with all the settings adjusted for maximum ink. Voila!


oh yeah, that works best Wink

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fonik



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

photoessay:
http://www.tonepad.com/photoessay.asp?photoEssayID=10&sequenceNo=1

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fluxmonkey



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

loss1234 wrote:
i print straight from express pcb to the paper
(BUT I DONT KNOW HOW TO GET RID OF THAT DAMN SQUARE AROUND MY PCB ARTWORK...ideas??)


scissors.
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Rykhaard



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well - the results of my 1st PnP attempt since the late 1990's - only about 70% would transfer to the perfectly clean and polished copper. Sad

BUT ...... Smile

The shipping tape, that held down the corners and had 2 fair sized placements of the laser toner on them - TRANSFERRED to the pcb PERFECTLY.

????

Going to try a test of printing to shipping tape ONLY tomorrow and see what happens. Smile (Tape on paper of course / etc. etc.)
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Luka



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i just seemed to iron out the bugs in my pnp routine rych


1. i used ajax to clean the blank pcb and dried it off with tissue paper
2. i de-greased the pnp blue transfer paper after i printed it with some tissue and windex (glass degreaser/oil solvent)
3. i pre-heated the pcb with the iron before doing the transfer
4. i put a piece of paper over of the pcp+transfer when ironing on the transfer (this was the biggest help i think)

finally i chucked it into a bucket of cold water for 10 minutes and the transfer pretty much lifted from the pcb and looked perfect, probably the best ive done so im going to stick to this method

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fonik



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

great.
me too, i get very good results doing all the things you mention, except step 4. i think it is most important to keep everything clean, the tools, the PCB and the p'n'p-sheet. the preheating of the PCB helps fixing it in a position right from the start.

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Rykhaard



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

2 updates actually.

I tried a test - printing directly to the shipping tape.

Result? Partial failure, due to the tape's reaction to the heat of the iron. Duh. It was also not a clean transfer for the portions that did transfer. Skipping that idea.

This time (3rd attempt Wink ) I READ the instructions! Laughing
The iron that we have, seems a little cooler. Instructions said to set between Acrylic and Polyester. I went a little higher for the 3rd time, in the Polyester. Almost all the way to 4. (Ac./Po. break was just before the 2/3 border).
I also timed it this time, going just over 4 minutes, with excessive pressure whilst moving the iron to every portion of the PCB.

And - this time I tried something opposite to what others and the instructions had said - I lifted the PnP right after removing the iron, and saw perfect black on the PCB in a corner - I continued to slowly remove the PnP and everything looked perfect. I continued slowly, removing the entire PnP and the transfer was about 98% perfect! Smile
I then cooled the PCB down under cold water.

I touched up the few VERY minor misses and now have it etching.

Here's to hoping. Smile

(This is the first of the PCBs for either: 4 steps of Semitones or 4 steps of Octaves, for my 2 x Quadatrix Sequencer panels.)
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Dragon's Lair



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Another thing to look at is your toner.
Most of the new toner cartridges are designed for text, so they have a lower percentage of plastic in them, get refills that are designed for graphics printing, or get bulk toner, and refill them yourself.
I gave up on p&p years ago, and switched over to photo etching for one-of's
and send them out to Futurelec for quantities, once a design has been tested.
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Rykhaard



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Dragon's Lair wrote:
Another thing to look at is your toner.
Most of the new toner cartridges are designed for text, so they have a lower percentage of plastic in them, get refills that are designed for graphics printing, or get bulk toner, and refill them yourself.
I gave up on p&p years ago, and switched over to photo etching for one-of's
and send them out to Futurelec for quantities, once a design has been tested.


I did my 2nd PCB today (The 1st of my 2 Vertical Sequencers required) and it came out 100% perfect - using the exact same method that I had for my first successful one. Smile (Also, after scrubbing the PCB clean with Super Fine / #00 Steel Wool) I washed the PCB with Comet, before ironing the PnP on. (For both of the successful ones.)

I'm pretty sure now, that I have the technic down again, as I had in the later 90's, as well as the iron temp. set properly. Smile

When I need to go get a new toner cartridge, I'll make sure it's the exact same that I have in the printer now, as it's working beautifully. The toner even outlasts my Sharpie pen, on it! Surprised

Side note: I almost got the Vertical Sequencer's hookup to the Semitone sequencer completed, today. I'll have it completed tomorrow before work. If it's bug free, I'll shoot a new video for it and post it to my Youtube (Dolphinicus) site. Smile (I'll also have 1 of the 4 Octave sequencers running during it.)
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