DIY inkjet PCB's????

I love stripboard, but would love to be able to print my own PCBs without having to depend on my friends to print off the tracks on their laserjets!

Is there anyway to make your own PCB using a inkjet printer?

yerp :slight_smile: all you need is photo paper and an iron to do it.

heres a video of Bre Pettis ( <3 ) showing you how to do it.


thaks for the reply, but that's using Laserjet printer (the toner powder is very different to the ink in an inkjet :()

I just got some of this stuff to try - I'll let you know how it goes

Thats some interesting stuff right there!

but how do you know if you are using either dye-based or pigment-based ink?

I just got some of this stuff to try - I'll let you know how it goes

sorry, but to me it seems that this is just a good quality transparent sheet suitable for inkjet printer, you cannot use the iron method to print pcb using this. it is made for Photoengraving of the PCB (generally not suitable for home made PCB...)

I might be mistaken trough...

Almost all consumer inkjets use dye-based ink. Newer, expensive, pro photo ones that claim high image longevity use pigments and are fairly heavily marketed as such, you'd probably know if you had one. I can check from your model number if you like.

List of pigmented ink printers here:

elwing - yes this is definitely just for producing artwork for photo-sensitised board

Photoengraving of the PCB (generally not suitable for home made PCB...)

I have been using that method for home made PCBs for over 40 years now. I think it is quite suitable. 8-)

was thinking about the price when thinking not suitable... it is surelly the best way otherwise...

Considering decent monochrome laser printers are well under $100 (sometimes even with a full toner cartridge), why go to the trouble and expense of trying to use an inkjet?

Hi - not ink jet, but I've had much success using commercial PCB transfer sheets at the local copy shop. Just put in the transfer sheet and copy the layout on to it, then iron on to the copper. Most copy machines are laser-based these days.

The transfer sheets are cheap and reliable. I started using these for my custom boards after wasting time with an old laser printer along with the laser print-on-paper transfer method. Would rather waste the time on writing bugs in my code... :)

I’ve actually just finished attacking a brand new Epson TX100 for exactly this purpose. ($50 brand new… why not…)

The key as mentioned before if using etching with Inkjet is that it needs to be pigment based… Epson DuraBRITE Inks are pigment based, however the Yellow and Magenta are reported to work best (or “all color black”).

Checkout InkJet,PCB Etch,Etch PCB, Etchant Resist
If you really want to build this though, I suggest setting aside a few hours and reading all of … there is lots of little bits of needed info in that thread about Paper Sensor setup and “pre-print” dancing you need to account for :slight_smile:

I’ve not yet etched, but i’ve printed - and it works great… just gotta pre-heat the boards a bit to help the ink-wetting…

Once I have finished making a “pull-through” tray instead of the carrier based board I’ll be putting some entries up on my SLiDA Dev Site…

Just remember… you need to be using refilled inks (MISPRO Inks are the best results one there) if using HP’s or Canons. Only the Epson DuraBrite inks are Pigment based - the Caliga or whatever its called alternate Epson ink brand wont work. Epson is also the choice because the “PiezoElectric” print heads apparently allow them to use the pigment inks without clogging, unlike the print head technology in the alternate brands (which work, but reportedly clog easy…)

Also - really only works reliably with FeCl3 at room temp - very warm FeCl3 or other etching solutions will remove the ink much easier…

Anyway - I’ll be sure to share results when I’ve finished…!

  • Adrian

Iv decided to pick up a refurbished laser jet from Ebay, as they are only £30 :)

Anyone know if 600dpi will do the job for transfer method?

Anyone know if 600dpi will do the job for transfer method?

I did it for many years with a 300dpi LaserJet III for many years using the blue iron-on sheets. Resolution won't be a problem for you. And 600dpi from a laser is far better quality than 2400dpi from an inkjet.

I am very interested in this. I have been wondering about building a plotter that can plot directly onto copper clad board using etch resistant ink. I don't have the time to test this idea out, anyone else wanna try ;)

Well no.

Back in the 80’s I had a plotter that I used to do my PCB 2X artwork on using drafting film and Indian ink. It was a nightmare with pens clogging or drying part way through a run. If you use etch resist ink that will be thicker still and more prone to clog, life is just too short.

I agree. I've made my own PWBs in the early days (many years ago). At one point in my career I even set up a commercial PWB fab at the company I worked for. But these days you can go online and easily find a house that will deliver professional quality PWBs in small quantities at amazingly inexpensive prices.

For example I'm just finishing a project I designed under contract that contains an ATMega328, LCD display, matrix keypad, RS485 driver, power supply, and a small handfull of other parts all on a PWB about 3"x3.5". I ordered 5 prototype 2 layer boards from PCBFabExpress. They arrived in a week, and were professional quality including solder mask both sides and silkscreen on one side. At less than $20/ea including shipping it just isn't worth it to roll your own IMHO - unless of course you are just doing it for the fun of it.

Roy - I did the inkjet butchering because its was as you say a good "Did it yourself" exercise...

The other reason, being completely green in the field of PCB design, I figured I'm going to make a few mistakes. The cost here in Australia along with turn-around time and a hereditary impatience means I thought it was a good idea to proto-type myself, then get a fab-house to make a "known good" board for me..

Maybe I am just full of self-doubt about excessive screwups in laying out the tracks etc etc, but thought the cost of getting it setup to 'prototype' myself versus getting lots of 'dud' boards made sense ??

I have been wondering about building a plotter that can plot directly onto copper clad board using etch resistant ink.

My experience with etch resistant inks is that there’s no such think as etch resistant ink.