Author Topic: transfer patterns to metal or plastic  (Read 3872 times)

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Offline pomprockerTopic starter

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transfer patterns to metal or plastic
« on: September 03, 2008, 05:23:27 PM »
Does anyone have a cheap solution for transfering a pattern printed on a computer to either an aluminum or plastic sheet?

for example, i designed some brackets in google sketchup. i can print them to scale, but don't know how to get that pattern exactly onto the material to be cut.


Offline Webbot

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Re: transfer patterns to metal or plastic
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2008, 05:35:20 PM »
Can you use the same principles as with PCBs - ie if you're using a laser printer (inkjet printer ink doesn't seem to work) then can you just iron it on? Or is it not a flat surface?
« Last Edit: September 03, 2008, 05:35:53 PM by Webbot »
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Offline pomprockerTopic starter

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Re: transfer patterns to metal or plastic
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2008, 11:02:23 PM »
it is on a flat surface,

how would i iron paper onto hdpe?

Offline izua

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Re: transfer patterns to metal or plastic
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2008, 03:12:39 AM »
CNCing, unless you want to cut it out manually
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Offline Iron Man

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Re: transfer patterns to metal or plastic
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2008, 07:15:57 AM »
They have tshirt transfer print outs. (target, "home office" section) Some tshirts have a polyester blend in them, so maybe it would be able to stick HDPE like it can stick to a polyester tshirt?

Offline pomprockerTopic starter

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Re: transfer patterns to metal or plastic
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2008, 10:12:58 AM »
for now i'm enjoying crafting things by hand. ill send things out for cnc when i have more complicated things to cut.

Offline Webbot

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Re: transfer patterns to metal or plastic
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2008, 03:25:29 PM »
it is on a flat surface,

how would i iron paper onto hdpe?

Not the paper - the ink! Laserprinter ink is quite volatile. So you can print a pcb design on to paper then place the paper (ink down) onto copper board, run a hot iron over it, and transfer the ink to the copper.
However I guess HDPE may be a bit shiny - but then so I copper I guess.

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Offline RobD

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Re: transfer patterns to metal or plastic
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2008, 07:24:32 PM »
Quote
how would i iron paper onto hdpe?

It works on the fiberglass of PCB's pretty well, much better than the copper side.  If you try it on HDPE I'd like to hear how it works. I don;t have any HDPE sheets but I do have some standard polypropylene sheets which are pretty smooth.  I'll be making some PCB's this weekend so I might just test it out myself.

anyway...  Print your image, mirrored, onto some paper.  I've gotten away with using regular old 20lb copier paper but the non-recycled type with some cyclamen clay in it like color printer paper would be better (the 24lb stuff should do).  You could also try a transparancy.  ymmv.

Next, clean the board well and remove any fingerprints.  maybe even rough it up a tad with a scrubber sponge.

Then, cut out the image and lay it on the board.  It's much easier if your artwork is smaller than the surface you plan to transfer it to.

Heat up a clothes iron to the highest setting, no steam, and press.  hard.  for about 7 to 10 minutes.  After the first minute or so, the toner will pretty much hold the paper to the board.  I like to run back and forth and switch sides to evenly heat and to make sure the holes in the bottom of the iron dont leave "cold" spots on the board.  Alwyas strive to keep the iron in contact with the board and level.

After you're done heating and pressing, drop the board into some cold water and gently peel the paper away.  If you use cheap paper you'll get a lot of "hairs" left behind with the toner.  After the toner cools you can really rub on it with your thumbs and very little toner seems to come off.  I also like to do this while the board is submerged.  I've found that using a scrap of the peeled paper as a scrubber helps me too.  It's a labor of love haha   ;D

x-acto knives are a lifesaver when doing this.  If you mess it up...just clean the toner off with some alcohol and a scrubber sponge and try again.  Been using this method for PCB traces and occasionally the screenprinting side for a long time.   

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Re: transfer patterns to metal or plastic
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2008, 09:22:04 PM »
Back in the day, I used to:

1) print my design out
2) cut out the shape
3) lay it over my material
4) use a sharpie marker to trace around it
5) band-saw the sharpie tracings

Offline Ro-Bot-X

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Re: transfer patterns to metal or plastic
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2008, 06:25:19 AM »
it is on a flat surface,

how would i iron paper onto hdpe?

Not the paper - the ink! Laserprinter ink is quite volatile. So you can print a pcb design on to paper then place the paper (ink down) onto copper board, run a hot iron over it, and transfer the ink to the copper.
However I guess HDPE may be a bit shiny - but then so I copper I guess.



Actually the laser printer uses toner, wich is a very fine dust. The printer uses the same principle as the copier machine. A laser beam charges a fotosensitive cylinder, the cylinder atracts the toner from the cartridge only on the electrically charged spots, then rolls over the paper. There is an electrical wire under the paper that will atract the toner from the cylinder and transfer it on the paper. The paper will go through an oven where the toner is pressed and heated (melted) to adhere to the paper. This is why if a paper jam occurs and the paper did not go through the oven the toner is still a dust and will make a mess on the paper and on your fingers. A color laser printer will use 4 toner cartridges: black, cyan, magenta and yellow and the paper will go through the process 4 times untill the complete image is formed.

Some people use a laminator to transfer the toner to the copper board insted of a clothing iron, then use the warm water to peel off the paper. But not all laminators will accept the thickness of the board.
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Offline Gertlex

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Re: transfer patterns to metal or plastic
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2008, 10:27:10 PM »
I've done the following with lexan:

-Printed out the part on paper
-Used spray adhesive on the lexan
-Put paper on lexan
-Let dry
-Cut paper and lexan with table jigsaw.

The paper/adhesive can be removed completely with a bit of rubbing alcohol or similar. (not sure what I used, alas; maybe acetone, but not sure if that's safe on plastics)
I

 


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