How to print PCB layout for toner transfer?


It's been a while since I've done a home made PCB, and I've kind of lost my grip on the finer points of the process :D

I went to my local shop, bought a single sided copper blank PCB. Did my layout on eagle, all set.

I plan on doing the usual: components on the non copper side, through the holes, and solder on the copper side. For making the PCB I'll be doing toner transfer. Not really worth it send off a design to a PCB shop for a single unit.

So, quick and dumb question: For toner transfer, do I print my layout straight out, or mirrored? I figure it's gotta be straight out so that when I transfer to the copper on the bottom side, the image "seen" on the top (component) side won't be inverted, and the IC pins will line up right.

But, last time I did a PCB I remember I said "yeah, that's it" and in the end I screwed up and the whole thing was inverted. So I better confirm this time.

If you mirror the pattern, then iron the pattern to the foil surface you are re-mirroring the image back to the correct view. I mirror my indentification text on the pattern which then works out correct when it is applied to the foil since you iron it upside down. Does this make any sense? I however, use the photo negative sensitive method.

I do mine "straight out"...... what I see when I look from the component side with the board held up to the light is what I print.

Then you put this against the bare copper for toner transfer.

Have to get your head around it i guess.......

still, not has hard to do as making core patterns for casting..... :o

Hi, I do what LarryD does, during PCB CAD design on the copper layer print a mirrored text to identify the PCB. Toner print normally and everything will mirror when you iron it to the copper side. Text will then be correct.

Tom.... :)

You mirror the top layer of copper, while the bottom goes straight out. Since you are using the bottom, it goes straight out.

Imagine this: Place the paper (with the image printed straight out) on the table, with the artwork facing up. Place a component on its proper place. It fits perfectly. Remove the component and cover the paper with the PCB with the copper facing down. Imagine now putting the component back to its place; it still fits. If the toned on the paper suddenly jumped to the copper and stuff got etched, you'd have your board.

If people reading this are thinking, "I've never made my own board... would it be fun/ useful?"... I have a "getting started" guide for you at....

As for "do I mirror or not", I KNOW "the answer" is simple... but I have to admit that I'm just not made right, somehow. Almost every time I end up printing it wrong the first time. I usually notice BEFORE I've ironed the traces to the board, and given myself a "clean the board again" chore. (^_^)

(Even if you haven't ironed the wrong pattern to the board, really, REALLY good pre-ironing cleaning is one of the "secrets" of success. And good DRYING before the ironing process.)