Stovetop toner transfer tutorial

in DIY, tutorials by DP | 4 comments

One of the most common techniques in DIY PCB etching is the toner transfer method. Tom added a twist to the standard method by adding the use of a stovetop in the toner transfer process. He wrote a tutorial describing in depth how you could recreate his results.

I have been trying out a new technique for toner transfer. Heat a cast iron hotplate on the stovetop to 175oC, as measured on a thermocouple, then turn the heat right down. Put a sheet of paper on the hotplate followed by the copper clad board, image side down. Then apply pressure with a rolling pin for 2-5 minutes. It might work for double sided, too.

Via the forum.

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  1. Tom Price says:

    As you can see in the picture, I also tried using an iron to do double sided boards, but I prefer the rolling pin method.

  2. Drone says:

    Yeah, another time-worn but proven technique, especially for double-sided is clamping the board between two thermal masses (e.g., pieces of metal) and baking them for awhile. Of-course the transfer media is included in the clamped setup. I’ve seen some examples where the clamped metal thermal mass halves in the clamped setup include registration pins and/or a type K thermocouple junction embedded. I think there’s a long-running Yahoo Group called something like Homebrew PCB or some such where if you dig back long enough many variations on this sort of thing are presented.

    • Tom Price says:

      Yes, this approach was very much informed by that technique. The guy who posted the method had access to a metal shop to machine blocks of steel flat. Rolling is a bit more practical for me, and works better than pressing with an iron. Better yet might be to use a transfer medium that does not require so much pressure, like vinyl film.

      • Tom Price says:

        I tried the vinyl sticker toner transfer approach this week to make my Arduino speech shield, both for the resist mask and the silk layer on the reverse. Less heat and pressure is required. I had good results using a clothes iron over a rolling pin. I will definitely try it again.

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