[SOLVED !] Photosensitive PCB media


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  1. #1
    wastrix
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    Default Photosensitive PCB media

    Hi all,

    I have been having issues making a particular prototype PCB design recently. Usually, I use Kinsten presensitised board and expose it through a normal acetate transparency. However, this design is larger than my other artworks and I have had significant problems because of the transparency crinkling under heat from the fuser in the printer and not laying flat on the board.

    Ideally I would use a vacuum exposure box, which would suck all the air out a compress the transparency flat onto the board, but I do not have access to one of these.

    What I need is a different medium for exposing the boards through, that doesn't crinkle when run through the printer. I have read on various websites that thick tracing paper is good, I'll try that tomorrow. I also thought that an inkjet transparency might work well, as the inkjet will not cause any distortion in the material due to heating.

    Any other suggestions?

    I have thought about an iron-on solution but I have not had very good results with this in the past... maybe with the right technique I could do it but I would prefer to use the photo method.

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  • #2
    Junior Member Sivaguru's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photosensitive PCB media

    Use normal 80gm laser paper. You have to ensure that the print is really dark. I routinely use 2min approx exposure to the sun (bright). Of course you have to test it first.
    Siva

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  • #3
    roger
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    Default Re: Photosensitive PCB media

    I gave up acetate long ago. I now use MEGA Electronics UK - Laser Printer PCB artwork film. It is translucent and gives dense black artwork from a cheap laser printer.

    See Rapid Electronics order code 390774 www.rapidelectronics.co.uk

    Or Google Mega Electronics UK

    I'm sure you must be able to obtain an equivalent in Oz

    roger
    Last edited by roger; 18th January 2011 at 12:07.

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  • #4
    Prolific Poster rcurl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photosensitive PCB media

    Quote Originally Posted by wastrix View Post
    Ideally I would use a vacuum exposure box, which would suck all the air out a compress the transparency flat onto the board, but I do not have access to one of these.
    OK- try not to laugh- but I just had a thought: What would happen if you used one of those vacuum food sealers to vacuum the artwork down tight to the board? If the board is wider than the food sealer, just use a clear plastic bag and attach a tube to the accessory port on the food sealer (or other vacuum source).

    -Rick

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  • #5
    Senior Member SimonJA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photosensitive PCB media

    I'll second Rogers suggestion - the Rapid (Mega) Laserstar film is very good, mostly I use tracing paper but for the extra special jobs I use the film.

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  • #6
    wastrix
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    Default Re: Photosensitive PCB media

    Thanks all for the suggestions.

    I have tried 80gsm office paper in the past and it has worked OK, but I found the lines weren't that cleanly defined... I'll go to Officeworks today and have a look at the various papers anyway.

    I saw Laserstar film a while ago, there used to be an AU distributor, but it has disappeared now. I can still get it off eBay if all else fails.

    I will definitely try the tracing paper. I will get some today.

    I will also have a look at some vacuum seal bags. I hadn't thought of that, and it might work well if one has a good seal and pump.

    I have not had any troubles with non-opaque blacks on normal transparencies, I used to with my older printer, but we now have 3x Brother HL-21X0s and these seem to work fine (1200DPI = actually 600x2400).

    Has anyone used inkjet transparencies? I have a Canon MP800 with 4800DPI.

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  • #7
    wastrix
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    Default Re: Photosensitive PCB media

    OK, I have done it!

    I tried the tracing paper but it gives only very marginally less crinkling than the acetate. My printers have an option for transparencies which reduces the fuser temp, but toner adhesion is not so good and it doesn't make much of a difference. I suppose it depends on the printer, different printers will perform better with different materials.

    However, the prize goes to Rick. I bought a vacuum bag used for reducing the storage volume of low density clothing, I put the artwork and board in the bag, vacuumed the air out and exposed through it and it worked perfectly! The transparency was sucked flat against the board.

    See attached picture.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails P1010208small.jpg‎  

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  • #8
    billyminor
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    Default Re: Photosensitive PCB media

    Has anyone used inkjet transparencies? I have a Canon MP800 with 4800DPI
    From what I've read (not tried) guy's who use inkjet transparencies say they run them through the printer 2x to get it dark enough

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  • #9
    Fanatical Contributor fanie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photosensitive PCB media

    Aye William,

    Why not just use a piece of glass on size to keep everything flat ?
    Fanie

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  • #10
    wastrix
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    Default Re: Photosensitive PCB media

    I use two sheets of Lexan bolted together. Tried glass too but these could not sufficiently flatten out the wrinkles. BTW, it's a DS board so I cannot just lay a glass sheet on top of it as I would need to turn it over and I would lose the alignment if it was not firmly bolted together.

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  • #11
    Senior Member SimonJA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photosensitive PCB media

    I use two sheets of Lexan bolted together. Tried glass too but these could not sufficiently flatten out the wrinkles. BTW, it's a DS board so I cannot just lay a glass sheet on top of it as I would need to turn it over and I would lose the alignment if it was not firmly bolted together.

    I would have thought that bolting around the edges would cause the Lexan to bow and lift in the middle.

    If you tape the sheets of tracing/film together then they will be fixed in
    alignment and you just put the board in the pocket between the sheets. When it goes into the UV box the foam pushes down evenly across the board then turn it over and expose the other side.

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  • #12
    wastrix
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    Default Re: Photosensitive PCB media

    I would have thought that bolting around the edges would cause the Lexan to bow and lift in the middle.

    It would in some cases, but the Lexan is 5/8" thick (this doesn't seem to affect exposure time), so it doesn't bow and also you do not overtighten the bolts.

    With smaller boards, I have had no issues, the Lexan did not bow, any crinkling in the transparency was insignificant, but with this big board all the problem struck at once.

    If you tape the sheets of tracing/film together then they will be fixed in alignment and you just put the board in the pocket between the sheets. When it goes into the UV box the foam pushes down evenly across the board then turn it over and expose the other side.
    That's what I do, but without the Lexan to clamp things together I found that the artwork would usually shift slightly when I turned it over, ruining the alignment. Ideally the lightbox would be double sided, but I don't have one of those.

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  • #13
    Fanatical Contributor fanie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photosensitive PCB media

    Put alignment pins in.

    I still think if you clamp it between two pieces of glass you can expose and turn around , nothing should move.
    Fanie

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  • #14
    wastrix
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    Default Re: Photosensitive PCB media

    Quote Originally Posted by fanie View Post
    I still think if you clamp it between two pieces of glass you can expose and turn around , nothing should move.
    I'm sure it will! I do the exact same thing, except with Lexan, not glass.

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  • #15
    Prolific Poster joesaliba's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photosensitive PCB media

    Quote Originally Posted by billyminor View Post
    From what I've read (not tried) guy's who use inkjet transparencies say they run them through the printer 2x to get it dark enough
    I use inkjet transparencies and the result is very good. I use an HP PSC2110 printer, now an old model. Recently I boght a Cannon laser printer. I tryed to print on inkjet transparency using the laser printer, and it comes very, very good, although the transparency comes way too flexible at first due to the heat on it, but it worked.

    Regards

    Joseph

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