From "On-Screen" circuit layout...
... to Finished Board in 8 minutes!
STEP 1: PRINT to the Toner Transfer Paper (TTP
Set your printer's DENSITY setting to its highest level. Position a sheet of transfer paper in the manual-feed tray. Print your artwork onto the blue Toner Transfer Paper. Trim the page close to the borders of the circuit image.
Print the lower trace artwork in the same "X-Ray" manner normally shown on screen when laying out the PCB pattern. The upper trace artwork however, is to be reversed or "mirrored". Most good software does this automatically. To reduce any possible distortion of the image you want to place both printouts in the centered horizontally on each page. We have a lot of tips and tricks for our process located under the "Tech Support" section under "TECH SUPPORT".
STEP 2: FUSE the image to the blank PC board
Lay the print face-down over a properly cleaned copper laminate board and insert into the "TIA" (Toner Image Applicator).
There is no need for any "carrier" around both the board and paper because immediately upon inserting, the heated rollers will grab both the board and print and they are locked into position.
An important distinction to make here is that although we are using a "pouch" type of laminagtor, we're not laminating anything. Rather, the hot rollers and extreme p.s.i. over the board makes the laminator the ideal method to "refuse" toner without any distortion for perfect circuit transfers every time.
Click on images below to enlarge for greater detail.
STEP 3: RELEASE the paper from the toner image
Water travels through the rear of the paper to dissolve a Dextrin coating on the front of the paper. It is this coating that physically isolates the toner image from the fibers of the paper, otherwise the toner image would never let go of the paper.
The entire process is done in about 1 minute. Remove the board and dry it with paper towel. Next we'll be covering the board with the "GreenTRF" foil to seal the toner image.
STEP 4: SEAL the toner image
Toner is very porous. If you were to print a big black box and hold it up to a transmissive light source (like daylight shining through a window) you'll be surprised how black toner is really quite transparent. You don't see this if you 'reflective light' is bouncing off the page and into your eye.
If we leave the black toner on the copper board the etchant can actually get INTO the toner and start pitting away at the copper beneath. The GreenTRF film hermetically seals the toner with a micro-thin layer of plastic which prevents any pitting from happening.
STEP 5: ETCH the board in the ususal way
You can use any of the available etching tanks or use our newest technique called "Contact Etch" (Info on this very simple procedure is under the Tech Support menu tab.) The beauty is you don't need an expensive etching tank and it's the most efficient technique for extremely fast etching. A conventional board that would normally take 3 minutes to etch can now be done in 45 seconds! Ok, so the board is basically done at this point. We'll continue on with adding a "Silk Screen" layer next.
STEP 6: SILKSCREEN overlay added next
Black toner must be laid down first because all foils will only transfer to plastic and toner is 55% pulverized plastic. Sometimes you might find that black toner gives better contrast depending on the particular application, so you can stop here or continue on the last step where we'll be applying the WhiteTRF film over the black toner image.
STEP 7: WHITE foil added over toner image
Cut a piece of WhiteTRF (part of the kit) to cover the board, wrapping an inch or two around the leading edge of the board and insert into the TIA. When it exits, let it cool then peel off the carrier and discard. All done!