Laser Printer advice
« on: October 13, 2010, 10:29:25 AM »
I currently use an inkjet to print board layouts on paper, then
apply UV-transparent spray and stick to the board for exposing etc.
This works really quite well for my needs.

Unfortunately the jets often block-up due to rare use causing lines to appear,
which will only go away after 2-3 head cleanings which wastes most of the ink
in the process.

I have found an Epson laser printer (B&W) which I'm considering but my question
is will the black be dark enough for the purposes of exposure as mentioned above?
How does it compare to inkjet? Lighter?

Many thanks for your help.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2010, 10:35:50 AM by V9977 »
CAUTION:  Equipment is alive


Re: Laser Printer advice
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2010, 10:34:18 AM »


Re: Laser Printer advice
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2010, 11:06:26 AM »
I've made lots of pc boards using laser printed layouts on transparencies...  the Epson should be good, just check and see if there is a setting for output density and put it on max (darker) to obtain the most light blocking possible.

I once had a cheap laser printer that didn't have good coverage of toner on the printouts, so I would print the circuit twice and then combine the two transparencies in register (one on top of the other) to use to expose the pcb material. Worked just fine.

regards, Jack
« Last Edit: October 13, 2010, 11:08:15 AM by AMZ-FX »
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Re: Laser Printer advice
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2010, 11:08:20 AM »
Filled areas, and that's what matters for pcbs actually, usually don't come out that dense
on a laser as on an inkjet. Hold both against the light, you will easily see the difference.

There are two things you can do: print it twice, and lay both printouts on each other.
This is what I do. Or, you get some magic spray can, that will make it more dense,
for example like that. But I never used anything like it.


Re: Laser Printer advice
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2010, 01:32:58 PM »
Ok, thanks for replies people.
I'll see how it goes with the laser and hope I get lucky.
The amount of money I've wasted on ink is embarissing
and very enviromentaly un-friendly.
Any further info always welcome.
CAUTION:  Equipment is alive

Re: Laser Printer advice
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2010, 12:46:30 PM »
Your best bet if this is for occasional use is to find a local shop that makes flexographic printing plates.  Flexo plates are also made of photopolymers.  Your flexo job shop can print out a true film mask for about $10-$20 which will be denser than a stack of 10 laser or inkjet transparencies.  Densities of 99.999% are typical, with much better edge definition than either conventional laser or inkjet printers can output.  Additionally, the polyester film will have better transmission than an overhead transparency, further improving the quality of your exposure.  Tell them you want a right reading, emulsion down, hard dot photomask.  I order photomasks for work frequently, I just email then a file of the artwork, and they mail me a mask the same day.



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