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DIY Decals...

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DIY Decals...

Postby lucky13dave » Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:01 am

I recently bought a DIY dry transfer Decal kit from this site:

I have used a kit from this company for making custom circuit boards, and had success with that kit.
The short of that one is you print your image (PCB traces, pads, etc) in reverse on the provided transfer paper, run the paper over a PC board through a laminator, and drop em into water. The paper comes off the PC board, leaving the toner. Run a sealing foil over the PCB thru through the laminator. The foil adheres to the transferred toner. Then drop it in your etching system, and come out with your custom PC board.

It took me some trial and error to get it right, there was a learning curve. But before this I only used the breadboards from radio shack, I never etched my own board.

The decal kit uses similar techniques and the same hardware (a B&W laser printer, and a laminator.) But no etching.

I haven't had the time to try to make decals with it yet, but based on my experience with the PC board kit, I have high hopes.

Has anybody here tried/had any experience with this kit yet?

I'll post my results as I go along with it.
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Re: DIY Decals...

Postby JWLaRue » Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:58 am

I have considered using those kits for decals, bit decided to go a different route. I use the Testors decal paper, available in either clear or white. Once you have the desired full color artwork ready and scaled to size, it's just a matter of printing on any inkjet printer and then spraying on the clear sealer to waterproof it.

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Re: DIY Decals...

Postby jonel » Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:41 pm

The pulsar kits work great, I use them commercially. They work best on clean smooth surfaces. But their instructions do not go far enough. If making a complex or big transfer, you can wet the receiving surface with slightly soapy water prior to putting the transfer in place which will make things a lot easier getting the transfer located right. Doing it without the wetting sometimes/ mostly ends up as a disaster with a broken or misplaced transfer. Once you are satisfied with the location, work out the water and air bubbles then gently remove the backing by pulling it back over itself.

Good luck, its a good product. Practice a bit first on something you do not care about.
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Re: DIY Decals...

Postby PaulC » Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:54 pm

Wow, just checked out the link -- the system looks very cool. What a neat way to get perfect draft markings every time. I'm looking forward to your updates lucky13dave.
Warm regards,

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Re: DIY Decals...

Postby Crazy Ivan » Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:11 pm


I have done a lot of PC boards using the basic method you describe, but without any special kit or equipment. The image is printed in reverse on ordinary ink jet photograph paper using any laser printer. Then I borrow the wife's iron (the one she won't iron clothes with anymore) and iron the image onto the copper clad G10. It takes about 3 minutes at the hottest setting to fuse the image reliably. After cooling, the board is immersed in luke-warm water and soaked until the gel dissolves, the paper falls away, and the image is left on the pc board. Then its off to the ferric chloride bath to etch.

Not every brand of paper works well. You may need to experiment a bit to find one that will release the image cleanly. I have been using Royal Brites Glossy Ink Jet Printer Paper. It came in an inexpensive pack of 200 sheets. Also, the copper needs to be cleaned very thoroughly of any oxidation to insure good fusion. I have been able to achieve some fairly fine resolution, getting down to a .050 inch pin pitch for a surface mount IC with no problem. I've attached a couple samples of boards I have done. The large one is the bottom of a 2 sided board. The small one has a .050 pitch SMT chip on it.


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