Page 1 of 2

Blue Transfer Paper, 2nd!

Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:41 pm
by MrAl

My second try with the blue transfer paper (PNP) yielded almost
nothing at all. The first try i got about 90 percent of the lines to
transfer, but this time i got about 1 percent to transfer, which is
almost nothing at all and that's what the board looks like too.

There must be something fundamentally wrong here. Either i have
bad paper, lousy toner, or my iron isnt getting hot enough.

Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:10 pm
by fripster

forget about the blue stuff, use glossy mag paper instead or STAPLES inkjet photo paper. Works much better


Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 6:45 pm
by Engineer1138
The key for me was to scrub the copper with fine sandpaper.

Posted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:29 am
by MrAl
Hi again,

I used steel wool this time and the surface was pretty roughed up.
Any other ideas?


Wow, ok, i think i had the 'Toner Saver' option clicked in the
print software! I think that put much less toner on the blue
paper so of course it would not transfer as well that way.
I checked out a piece of test paper i printed just before i printed
to the blue paper and noticed that i could see a cross hatch
pattern in the toner and that it was fairly faint, relative to what
i remember getting last time i tried this. That's when it hit me.
I'll test again and see what happens. If i could get even partly
good results (maybe 95 percent of the pattern transferred) this
still might be useful for me as i can touch up with a marker.

As a side note, the replacement toner cartridge is around 40 dollars
for this printer. That's quite a price to be able to print documents.
With an ink jet printer it's even more as you have to keep buying
cartridges...i gave up on that idea because i could not get many
pages out of a new cartridge, and leaving it for 6 months the brand
new cartridge dried up so i couldnt use it anymore!

So the question is, when did printing become so expensive?
With any of my old dot matrix printers i bought a ink ribbon
cartridge for 12 dollars and it lasted for two years. If i rem
right you could even get re-inking sets for those and use
the old ribbon over again.

Posted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:06 pm
by Janitor Tzap
So the question is, when did printing become so expensive?
With any of my old dot matrix printers i bought a ink ribbon
cartridge for 12 dollars and it lasted for two years. If i rem
right you could even get re-inking sets for those and use
the old ribbon over again.
Well, I used too have a 24Pin Color Dot-Matix printer.
I would re-ink the ribbons once or twice a year, depending on the number of pages I printed.
But when I saw how much more crisp a Laser Printer was.
I went and purchased a used HPIIp.
Granted, it couldn't do color.
But for what I needed it for at the time.
I wasn't worried about it.
Only when I got a Digital Camera did I look at a Color Inkjet Printer.
Got a Canon JB710, but I was going through ink cartridges every 3 month's.
I got a refill kit for it.
But even that will only let you refill the cartridges 3 or 4 times before the cartridge itself had to be replaced.
I finally got fed up with it, and I replaced it with a Color Laser Printer.
Now the toner cartridges can cost as much, or more than ink cartridges.
But I find they last longer, and are a lot less trouble.

Signed: Janitor Tzap

Posted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:45 pm
by MrAl
Hi again,

What kind of sandpaper and what number?

Oh yes, my laser printer does much nicer than dot matrix,
but then too bad mine doesnt do color either. I didnt want
to have to pay for a color toner set which is quite expensive
even for the low end color laser printers i priced. I mainly
need B/W anyway, and for doing PC boards, if i ever get that
working he he.

Posted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 4:45 pm
by RC Nut
Hello, I am a new member and can hopefully shed some light on the PNP Blue transfer paper. I have been using this since I started making my own circuit boards.

Toner Saver may well cause issues. I use normal print density. I have not tried Best output since I have had good results with Normal Density.

Make sure it is the dull side of the paper you are printing on. I don't want to belittle the point, just covering the steps, and the shiny side will not work.

I prep the boards to be etched by cleaning with a light abrasive cleaner, like Soft Scrub. After rinsing and drying, I scuff the surface with 220 grit general purpose sand paper. This is also great to remove the toner after etching and is much cleaner than solvents. Only light pressure is required. Make sure the edges of the board do not have a ridge from cutting. This will prevent the iron from contacting the board fully.

I set the iron to Polyester. The iron doesn't give the temperature for this range, but I believe this is around 285-295 degrees. After it heats up, I place the board on a 'baby burp cloth'. Regular terry cloth towels are too soft and the board sinks in. The cloth helps keep the heat from transferring thru the board too fast.

Place the PNP, printed dull side down, on the copper board. I cover this with a plain sheet of paper to make ironing smoother. Iron slowly, and with a bit of pressure on the heel of the iron. After about 20-30 seconds, you can lift the plain paper and see the toner thru the PNP Blue is duller. This means it has transferred. If all looks good, let the board cool for a minute or two and then start removing the PNP by peeling from a corner. If transfer is not complete, you can lay the corner back down and give it more heat. Minor breaks can be fixed after with a sharpie. If any of the blue sticks to the board, this can be removed with a piece of tape. Just press the tape on the blue, then pull it off.

Sorry to be so long winded in my first post, I just wanted to share my experience with this product. I was fortunate to have success early on with this. I hope this helps. If not I will try to post more info.


Posted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 5:22 pm
by MrAl
Hello Chris, and welcome to the forum.

Thanks for the very detailed post, i think you covered some points which
i might have not been aware of like the edge of the board and even
the time from start of iron to stop which nobody else mentioned yet.
Maybe i went too long with the iron? I usually left it for a good 5 mins
or more.
Lucky i do know to use the dull side of the paper.

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:15 am
by sghioto
On the subject of PC board fabrication I have drawn out some PC board layouts using MS Paint but can't seem to be able to print the layout to the exact dimensions as on the screen. I have tried saving in different formats and pasting in Wordpad but still cannot get it exact. So can it be done using Paint, what am I doing wrong or should I use some other software ?
Steve G.

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:56 am
by MrAl
Hi there,

I think i can help a little here with one way to print out exact size
drawings in MS Paint. When i say exact, i mean within the resolution
of your printer, which usually means pretty darn close.

Under Page Setup set the following...

Size: Letter
Source: Auto Select

Orientation: Portrait

Margins (see below)

Uncheck the following two:
Centering Horizontal
Centering Vertical

Scaling: Fit to [ 1 ] by [ 1 ] pages

Now for the Margins...

When you make your drawing you draw it according to how many dots per
inch you want. For example, at 300 dots per inch you will draw
300 dots across (use zoom to count) for a 1 inch span. This means
for a standard 'dip' package IC you would draw dots which will later
be the holes for the package pins spaced 30 dots apart. You could
then draw circles around each dot for the pads. This might look like

o o o o

o o o o

except those circles will be *exactly* 30 dots on centers across
and 90 dots (0.3 inches) on vertical centers.

The important thing is to stick with a number of dots per inch,
such as 300, so that the pins are spaced 30 dots apart (or whatever).

Now back to the Margins...

After you create your drawing it will take up a certain area which
will have a horizontal width and vertical height. Lets say for
example we do one small 8 pin ic chip as above. The whole drawing
might only be 2 inches wide (600 dots) and 1 inch high (300 dots),
so we go to the menu in Paint and select 'image' then 'attributes'.
We then set the width to 600 dots and the Height to 300 dots which
is 2x1 inches total. These are the exact scaled drawing dimensions,
not the board dimensions, unless you want that to be the same.

Now many printers have theoretical print area of 8.5 by 11 inches.
This doesnt mean the printer will really print this area, but knowing
this means we can now figure out the margins.
Since our drawing is 2 inches wide (the 1 ic chip above) we subtract
2 from the 8.5 paper width and this gives us 6.5 inches remaining.
Now we can set the horizontal Left Margin to part of this distance
and set the remainder to the Right Margin, and this will put our
drawing roughly in the center horizontally. Lets say we set the
Left Margin to 3.5 inches. This leaves another 3 inches out of
that 6.5 total remainder, so we set the Right Margin to 3. Now
looking across the sheet of paper, we first have the left margin
that is 3.5 inches, then we have the drawing which is 2 inches (wide)
and then we have the Right Margin which is 3 inches, and all this
totals 8.5 inches which is the full width of the paper.

Next we do the Top Margin and the Bottom Margin the same way except
we use the drawing height and the paper height. The drawing is 1
inches high and the paper is 11 so we decide where we want the
drawing and subtract the top margin from 11. Lets say we want
it somewhat near the top of the page. We choose 2 inches for the
Top Margin and add that to the drawing height and we get 3, then
subtract that from 11 and we get 8 inches remaining for the Bottom
Margin, so we set that Bottom Margin to 8. This puts the drawing
roughly near the top of the page and also defines the drawing


Drawing is 2 inches wide and 1 inches high.
Paper is 8.5 inches wide and 11 inches high.

Left Margin is set to 3.5, so that leaves 8.5 minus 3 minus the drawing
width (2) which leaves 3 inches for the Right Margin. 8.5-3.5-2=3

Top Margin is set to 2, so that leaves 11 minus 2 minus the drawing
height (1) which leaves 8 inches for the Bottom Margin.

Finally, we would go to print preview and make sure it looks right,
then print it out on paper.

Note that the Margins set both the actual width of the drawing AND
where it appears on the paper (centered, to the right, etc.).
In this way we are able to set the printed drawing size without
having to use an estimate using percent size or something like that.

I have tried this method with SSOP packages too, and it does print
the pads correctly although i have not made any boards with this
small package yet.

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 1:25 pm
by sghioto
Thanks MrAl that was very informative and gave me the insight I needed to correct the problem. Now I didn't correct it by using the margins as you explained but by using the attributes to confine the so called margins on the Paint canvas so to speak. I drew a full size PC image which has the same dimensions as the board. Next using the outline tool I moved the image to upper left corner of the paint canvas. Then using "attributes" was able to set the borders on the canvas right up to the edges of the image. However after doing this the attribute dimensions were slightly larger then the origional dimensions of the image, about 5 % larger. So in the page setup I set the "Adjust To" to 95% and the printed image is perfect. :grin:
The image resolution on my Paint program is 81 x 81 dpi. As stated before the image was drawn full scale as actually measured on the screen. Somehow this all worked out.

Steve G

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 1:53 pm
by MrAl
Hi again Steve,

Well, i dont think you can get it as perfect as when you use the
Margins and draw the board to a certain scale. The reason i say
this is because not only did i try this in the past, the problem is
that unless you are very lucky the percentage wont get the exact
size because it does not do decimals such as 90.125 percent,
which would be needed with some scales. This is why i mentioned
this in my previous post.
If you got good results that's fine, but i think if you measure
very carefully you will find some inaccuracy unless you got lucky
with that drawing, where another drawing might not work as well.
It's not hard to do with the margins either, just sounds like a lot.

Here is what it looks like in the software. Note that i did not have to
set the bottom margin, i left it at 0.75 . The aspect ratio is automatically
With this method you only have to make sure you know the size that
the ENTIRE DRAWING is supposed to be, such as 2 inches by 1 inch.


Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 2:59 pm
by sghioto
Well it wasn't just luck I tried this on three different size boards and they were all within 1/2% of the image size. The actual dimensions of the board are .875" wide by 4.625" in height. Next I tried it your way using the margins in the Page Setup by setting the left/right at 3.813" and the top/bottom margins at 3.19" and it printed correctly. But trying it without using the bottom margin the image was 3/16" too short. Using the percentage or the margins method has produced accurate results which is the bottom line but do agree the margins method is more exact.

Thanks Again;
Steve G.

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:20 am
by MrAl
Hi again Steve,

Oh ok, well, if it works the way you want it too then that's great.
Good luck with it in the future too.

Laser printers

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:20 am
by dr_when
In many ways printing has become cheaper. I have a Samsung laser that I purchased for under $100. I bought a bottle of powder toner for about $19 online and it can refill my toner cartridge 4 or more times. There is a plug on the end of the cartridge that pops off and you carefully add toner with a funnel. It can be messy if you are not careful. So far, I have been using the same cartridge for close to four years for the $19. Wayyy cheaper than any ink jet. I have used it with Toner Transfer paper and have had great results too.