Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Press-n-Peel for the win! PnP FTW

We went crazy today and splashed out on a new laser printer. The big old Xerox is getting costly to keep buying consumables for, so we got a cheap, compact Brother HL2130 from PC World.
Yup, it was extravagant. Yes, we could have got one cheaper online for just a couple of days wait. But we wanted to try some press-n-peel straight away. And because we've been good little nerds these last few days, permission was given to just go out and buy one. Yay!
It's specifically for printing onto press-n-peel so we're not going to burn through much toner. But even so, we opted for this one because after-market toner on eBay costs about £10 for 7000 page refills (the only other printer in this price range is a Samsung, but replacement toner costs almost as much as the printer again, even in the remake/aftermarket world!)

Within minutes of getting the printer working, we stuffed in some magic blue paper and re-printed our earlier design. All in all, from hitting the print button to getting our image onto the copper board took about five minutes. Maybe with a bit of time and effort, we could get our laser-etching down to this too, but just look at the quality and crispness of that transfer:

This board etched in about ten minutes, using the immersion etching method,  in heated ferric chloride. No bridges, no touching up the board before or after etching. Nice and simple. And crucially, quicker (for us anyway) than laser-etching the etch-resist mask, plus it worked first time!

After removing the toner transfer mask, we ended up with our best etched board (for this design) to date:


Hopefully we'll have this drilled and populated in time to demonstrate it in action, at tomorrow's BuildBrighton meeting