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Thread: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative needs

  1. #201

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    For Those That May Be Interested

    I have just discovered that when using Eagle as a PCB layout editor, better print outs for positive and negative masks can be obtained by first printing the board design to a pdf file and then printing the pdf file, as compared to directly printing the board from Eagle. I am now going to test ps files to see how it compares.

    Bruce

  2. #202

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    For Those That May Be Interested

    In relation to my previous post, it now appears to me that printing the board layout to a PostScript file will yield the best looking mask.

    Bruce

  3. #203

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    For Those That May Be Interested

    I ordered a couple more Philmore DATAK Premier Series PCB boards (1/16" 2oz. double sided FR-4 board with positive acting photo-resist film) and they should be arriving sometime Friday.

    In addition to ordering the boards, I have also done some experimenting with the photomasks saved in a different file type, as previously mentioned above. I have chosen to use Encapsulated PostScript (*.eps) as my file type because it produces a very desirable print, and it is a common file type for many print shops, including OfficeMax and Office Depot. OfficeMax claims to have a 2400 DPI laser printer, so instead of ordering a laser photo plot, I am going to attempt to have OfficeMax print my positive mask and see how it turns out. The purpose behind using OfficeMax is to ascertain the quality of the mask because it is cheaper than a laser photo plot, it is readily available to me, and this service or something similar should be readily available for most people.

    I would upload the EPS file, but apparently that option is not available.

    Bruce

  4. #204

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    Since I could not upload the EPS file, I created a PDF file from the EPS. The attached file represents the next sample that I will try to obtain.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  5. #205

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    My trip to OfficeMax was a huge waste of time. The only person working in the print shop had no clue of how to send files to the printer or how to alter printer settings. After the manager assisted him, I finally received a transparency that was completely unusable. My LaserJet 6L prints out a much higher quality transparency than their high dollar piece of equipment.

    However, while I was there, I got the opportunity to eyeball a Samsung Monochrome Laser Printer, ML-2950 Series, 1200 DPI, for only $109. It appears to have much nicer print than my LaserJet.

    Considering that I am just after the hobbyist and enthusiast market for my exposure box, I am contemplating getting one of these printers, and producing the best sample achievable with a 1200 DPI laser printed mask, as compared to ordering a photo plot, but I may do both.

    Bruce

  6. #206

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    Here is a nice tutorial on PCB fabrication.

    http://cms.diodenring.de/de/electron...ler/95-pcb-diy

  7. #207

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    Sorry to hear you had such a hard time at the print shop,
    I really got lucky and found the kid that was proud of his printing machine, It really made all the difference..
    Maybe try a different print shop, a smaller shop that just prints and mails stuff.
    Of course, a brand new printer for yourself is allways a treat...

    Great PCB tutorial by the way..

    -Tommy

  8. #208

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    @Tommy

    I really got lucky and found the kid that was proud of his printing machine, It really made all the difference..
    Yea, that is exactly what I needed, but I figured it was a 50-50 shot between knowledgable and ignorant staff It was truly unfortunate that I got stuck with ignorance

    Of course, a brand new printer for yourself is allways a treat...
    I am now shying away from the Samsung printer due to inadequate documentation and I really want a printer that supports PostScript, due to my previously documented tests. I am now leaning towards a used LaserJet 2200D from eBay. The LaserJet 2200D has a resolution of 1200 X 1200 DPI and it also has auto-duplexing for double-sided printing, which will be very useful for my business printing needs.

    Great PCB tutorial by the way
    Yea, I thought it was pretty good and thought it deserved a link. I especially liked the fact that he covered solder masking.

    Bruce

  9. #209

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    There are problems when using laser printers for artwork, chiefly the printing of large copper areas. Cross-hatching can be used, of course.
    Leon Heller
    G1HSM

  10. #210

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    @Leon

    There are problems when using laser printers for artwork, chiefly the printing of large copper areas. Cross-hatching can be used, of course.
    Additionally, a permanent marker can always be used for touching up artwork.

    Even with a LaserJet 2200D, I still don't know how it will compare to the mask that you sent me, however for the sake of comparison, with DPIs being on the same level, I want to see how the LaserJet 2200D will compare to your output. I think that eventually I will just use 10/10 or larger traces for my demonstration samples, because I don't think my exposure box or the LaserJet 2200D should have any problems with traces this size in combination with DATAK boards.

    If the LaserJet 2200D fails to output an equivalent or better board than the sample that you made, I will then order a photo plot to see if it is even possible with my exposure box in combination with DATAK boards.

    At this point, I am still unaware of the limitations of the combination of these two, and I really need to know the limitations and it's full potential for making quality boards.

    Bruce

  11. #211

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    Alright, the new DATAK boards have arrived and I should have a different printer very shortly. For almost the same price that I was willing to pay for the Samsung Monochrome Laser Printer, ML-2950 Series, I think I got a much better deal.

    I just purchased a LaserJet 2200D that has a JetDirect network card, an extra 250 sheet paper tray for a total of 500 sheets, a partially filled toner cartridge, an additional 16 MB of memory has been added to the 8 MB stock memory for a total of 24 MB, and a 14 day money back warranty. YIPPEE

    Hopefully it will not be a waste of time and money, and hopefully it output a much better photo mask.

    If anyone is interested, here is a link. http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI...m=150778647640

    Bruce

  12. #212

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    In addition to the sample of above, I have attached another pdf of another sample that I will attempt to conquer in the next several days.

    Bruce
    Attached Files Attached Files

  13. #213

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    My new printer (used from eBay) is supposed to be delivered sometime later today. I am very anxious to hook it up and see if it can output a nice photomask. At there very least, I am hoping that it will produce a much better mask than my LaserJet 6L. Sometime later today, I will post my opinion of the output. I am keeping fingers and toes crossed until then.

    Bruce

  14. #214

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    For Those That May Be Interested

    I must say that overall, the LaserJet 2200D is a pretty decent printer for normal monochrome business printing, however, I am not that impessed with it's output at creaing fine line (4/4) for photo masks. At 1200 DPI, it is not much better than 600 DPI of the LaserJet 6L, but it is definitely a little better. When compared to the print out that Leon so graciously sent me, the output from the LaserJet 2200D appears to have much crisper lines, however, when it comes down to the 4/4 pattern, the output from Leon's 1200 DPI inkjet definitely has much better line separation. I am still uncertain whether this is a hardware or a software issue, because the LaserJet 6L had the same issue of line separation pertaining to a 4/4 pattern. Perhaps if I was to downoad the same PCB editor that Leon uses, and ask him for a copy of the file sent me, I could then determine whether it was hardware or software.

    Somewhere along the line of testing, I have become obsessed with achieving a 4/4 pattern, and I am certain that this has tremendously sidetracked me from properly testing and documenting the use of my exposure box in combination with the use of Philmore DATAK Premier Series Presensitized Positive Acting PCBs. While it is true that I was able to produce a nice 4 mil wire trace, that does not mean that the PCB film will consistently produce a nice 4/4 pattern. Since my last bout of testing, I have done a fair amount of research pertaining to trace width and trace separation. According to my understanding, PCB manufactures all have a set of rules pertaining to minimum trace widths and minimum trace spacing. These minimums are based upon their production capabilities, which generally equates to the quality of the film being used, as well as the exposure and etching equipment. From my research, I have ascertained that I am striving results that far exceed the minimums set by many board manufacturers. When I started this project, it was never my intent to exceed these minimums. My main goal for this project was to create an exposure box that would allow hobbyists and enthusiasts to quickly and easily create a double-sided PCB of decent quality. In order to achieve this goal, I have come to the conclusion that I must also establish a set of rules and guidelines.

    Establishing a rule or guideline pertaining to the use of printers for creating a mask, is definitely not something that I want to do, considering that there is wide difference in opinion pertaining to this issue. This difference of opinion is not uncommon and it has occured within this thread. Leon is a firm believer in creating photomasks with an inkjet printer, and I am a firm believer in using a laser printer. As I have learned the hard way (when comparing Leon's output to mine), there are pros and cons to both types of printers. Without further testing, it is currently my opinion that 1200 DPI laser printers output much crisper lines than a 1200 DPI inkjet printer, but the 1200 DPI inkjet printer has much better fine line seperation than a 1200 DPI laser printer. Either way, I am sure both types of printers are sufficient for the hobbyist or enthusiast that wants to create a PCB board. Considering that most people are probably not as dedicated to this process as Leon and I, I believe most people will not have a 1200 DPI printer at their disposal, however, I do believe that most people will have access to a printer capable of 600 DPI. With this in mind, I believe that at a bare minimum, a 600 DPI printer should be used for creating photomasks. Which brings about another question for Leon?

    @Leon - Is a 600 DPI inkjet printer sufficient at creating photomasks?

    Bruce
    Last edited by idbruce; 03-23-2012 at 01:02 PM.

  15. #215

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    When I used a laser printer for the artwork, I got the best results with Mega Electronics LaserStar film.

    I use Pulsonix:

    http://www.pulsonix.com

    The demo version will do what you want.

    I've tried my inkjet printer on 600 dpi, and the results weren't all that good. 600 dpi should be OK for 12/12 mil tracks, though. 1200 dpi gives excellent results, but the correct film (Mega Electronics JetStar Premium) must be used. Standard JetStar worked well with the Canon inkjet printer I used to use, I think that was 600 dpi. My current printer (HP 5940) wasn't expensive, but the ink cartridges are, they contain the print head. I've had the 5940 for several years, I think that they are still made.

    I don't see any point in going below 8/8 mil for PCBs made at home, perhaps with the occasional 6/6 mil track. I mostly use 10/10 and 12/12 mil
    Last edited by Leon; 03-23-2012 at 01:15 PM.
    Leon Heller
    G1HSM

  16. #216

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    @Leon

    I use Pulsonix:

    http://www.pulsonix.com

    The demo version will do what you want.
    I went to their website and attempted to download the trial verion, at which point they requested my personal information. I provided my information and they responded by saying they would send me an email with download information. Approximately 2 hrs. later, I still have not heard from them.

    Of course it is not your fault, but that upsets me, because they were persistent to make sure the form was completely filled out.

  17. #217

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    I emailed them about the problem.

    I tried it and got an email immediately. Try my link:

    http://pulsonix.com/softwaredownload...687563660f2951
    Last edited by Leon; 03-23-2012 at 06:37 PM.
    Leon Heller
    G1HSM

  18. #218

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    @Leon

    I emailed them about the problem.
    I also emailed them

    To Whom It May Concern

    I recently attempted to download your trial version, at which point I was required to fill out a form pertaining to personal information about myself. After filling out the form with my personal information and submitting the form, I was instructed that download information would be emailed to me. It is now approximately 2 hours later and I still have not received an email with the proper instructions for downloading the trial version.

    Unless it is Pulsonix's goal to upset potential customers, this is a VERY BAD sales promotional technique.
    Between our two emails, the problem has been resolved. They sent me an email with an apology, a download link, and said they would look into resolving the problem. So I am not upset anymore

    This actually looks like some nice software. I have been exploring it for about an hour, and I can tell that it will take some time to get accustomed to it. In the hope of saving some time, I don't suppose you still have that test pattern handy do you? Or is it posted in an earlier post of yours? I will check.

  19. #219

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    I've attached it.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Leon Heller
    G1HSM

  20. #220

    Default Re: ATTN: PCBers SUBJECT: New website and exposure box design for your creative ne

    Leon

    I appreciate the effort Leon, but that confused me even more I am sure there is a way to scale it down, but instead I found two PDF files that you previously uploaded, and although it is not the exact same file that you just uploaded or sent to me, it does provide some insight. It now appears to be a software related issue to specific to Eagle, because printing the previous PDF upload with the LaserJet 2200D now provides clear and distinct lines for the 4/4 pattern.

    When comparing my current print out on paper to the paper print out that you sent along with the transparencies. The print out from the LaserJet 2200D looks much better. However, when comparing my current print out on paper to your transparencies, the output looks pretty equivalent between the two printers. Needless to say that your transparency print outs look far superior than you paper print outs. As for the LaserJet 2200D, I have not yet tested it for transparency printing.

    I am also going to print out the previous PDF with the LaserJet 6L and see how that compares.

    Whatever the case, I think I am just going to admit defeat on the 4/4 pattern and move on to a minimum pattern that works reliably in combination with my exposure box and at least a 600 DPI laser printer. If I am not mistaken, I believe I have already tried 4/4, 6/6, and 8/8 at 600 DPI without much success. So I believe for my next test, I will make a mask using the LaserJet 6L at 600 DPI with the following pattern and see what happens. If it fails at 600 DPI, I might attempt it at 1200 DPI with the LaserJet 2200D just for giggles.

    Bruce
    Attached Files Attached Files

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