How to print PCB's at home

I am using the laser printer method and have been trying to work out a way to get the toner to transfer reliably to the board. Nothing seems to give consistent results.

I've tried heat transfer at 170 and 200 C for 10 minutes each and chemical transfer using acetone/isopropanol mixtures of 3:8, 1:2, 2:3. With heat transfer I apply manual pressure for the first minute or so and with chemical transfer I clamp the board into a wood / paper towel sandwich and let it sit for about an hour.
I am using sandpaper on the copper to get the toner to stick.

The issue I am having with heat is that often only part of the image will transfer. The issue with acetone is that the traces have holes in them.

Anyone have any good tips?

shazool:
Anyone have any good tips?

Did you try online PCB services? They are fast, cheap and create professional boards that you will never be able to match. I know you might be doing this for the fun of it but it seems like this is the only possible reason nowadays.

Pointless trying to make your own (sadly). I have just ordered 30 PCBs to my own design, from
Hong Kong. 10 USD delivered.

I agree... I made some boards a long time ago with a different-older process. They worked but they were ugly... The traces were jagged and not very precise and the drilling wasn't precise either.

Then when I was in college they had a lab that would make boards for a very reasonable fee.

Then when I graduated I realized how expensive it was to get boards made. I didn't want to go back to making my own crappy boards so I figured-out other ways to build circuits.

Now with the Chinese vendors it's affordable again. And... I need to learn how to use PCB design software.... It looks like Design Spark for me. With the others it was just to difficult make a custom or semi-custom part for something that's not in the library. I still haven't made a board yet. I've got a couple of projects in mind... For next year...

You can compare prices here https://pcbshopper.com/
10*10cm board does not cost much and even bigger boards are not expensive. I think there was a thread here somewhere where you could compare prices. But anyway board design and ordering are popular subjects, so do a search.

Alright, thanks for the info guys. I guess I will just order them. My main reason for not doing so in the first place was the 1 month shipping time from China. And that I've got way too much time on my hands with winter break and goddamn Corona going on...

AJLElectronics:
Pointless trying to make your own (sadly). I have just ordered 30 PCBs to my own design, from
Hong Kong. 10 USD delivered.

Do you mind to share a link?

I've been happily using Itead Studio, @ itead.cc since 2011.

I often see shipping notice from itead within 4-5 days of ordering. Clearing customs and DHL shipping is the rest.
Yesterday I ordered two more sets of boards and a solder stencil, answered a couple of questions today for the file for the stencil will try and keep track of how long it takes.

shazool:
Alright, thanks for the info guys. I guess I will just order them. My main reason for not doing so in the first place was the 1 month shipping time from China. And that I've got way too much time on my hands with winter break and goddamn Corona going on...

I get PCB's from China shipped to my Canadian address in about 4-5 days by EMS.

shazool:
Alright, thanks for the info guys. I guess I will just order them. My main reason for not doing so in the first place was the 1 month shipping time from China. And that I've got way too much time on my hands with winter break and goddamn Corona going on...

Ah that corona. Last spring I debugged a SPI bus on a STM32H750 board because there was nothing (better?) else to do.
I usually order with the slowest and cheapest postage but there are faster ways. By the way, now is not a good time to order, what I understand, there are Chinese holidays and so on.

I use EasyEDA which is linked to JLPCB in Hong Kong. I used them initially as a "thankyou" for the free design software, but I see no reason to even bother looking around. One thing that surprised me is the price for quantity. 10 boards were 5 USD. For 30 boards the price was 5.10 USD! Delivery price varies. If you choose the cheapest option which they try to hide, it takes 2-3 weeks because they sit on it for a while before despatch. That option was 5.10 USD. They offer delivery in a few days if you choose to pay the extra.

One issue that surprised me is that they like you to choose a green finish. Any other colour takes another two days, probably due to loading batches of different colours.

A hint I can offer in the design software is to CHECK THE FOOTPRINT data offered by user contributions especially, but I also (too late) found two different errors in their 'workspace' records for an SOT-23. I ended up having to mount a 2N3904 upside down and replace a 2N3906 with a through hole device to rescue the boards!

Yes, when I am designing a new board I try to buy every component I’ll use, and get the datasheet and make the footprint myself. Footprint data is usually in the datasheet. After a while it gets easier because all the good parts are already there in the library.
And no last moment changes. Quick small changes are dangerous too. I once added some VIAs to better ground upper and lower ground layer, and I shorted VCC to ground. Luckily I could fix that, but last minute changes create problems.

LMI1:
And no last moment changes. Quick small changes are dangerous too. I once added some VIAs to better ground upper and lower ground layer, and I shorted VCC to ground. Luckily I could fix that, but last minute changes create problems.

Reminds me of the explanation of how the original Arduino ended up with the odd spacing between D7 and D8.

david_2018:
Reminds me of the explanation of how the original Arduino ended up with the odd spacing between D7 and D8.

Heh, exactly

For pin holes in circuit traces, check out Toner Reactive Foil - Green (circuitspecialists.com)
For heat transfer, keep your heat around 235 F and increase preasure.
For one offs, it is still cheaper and more fun to make your own.

For a far less elegant method, try Manhaten method (variant of point to point).

I just ordeded 100*100mm board from China. Cost was less than 20 € and it should come in January 21.
Yes, Manhattan method is nice, especially if you don’t have too many parts.