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Laser Printer

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  • AD5VJ Bob
    I am wanting information on using a Laser printer process for making homebrew pcb s. I have a Dell 1700 laser printer and understand that it will work well for
    Message 1 of 57 , Oct 2, 2009
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      I am wanting information on using a Laser printer process for making homebrew pcb's. I have a Dell 1700 laser printer and understand
      that it will work well for printed circuit board prints for board etching.

      But what type and weight paper do I use, ect?

      Can anyone point me to a good process description on the web that tells step by step how to use this method?

      I am also wondering with all the different choices out there, how do you know how thick the layer of copper should be on the board.
      I am finding .060 and .090, but not sure what to choose.

      I think I may purchase a Radio Shack kit for etching the board. It is Radio Shack cat no. 276-1576, is there anything bad about that
      choice?

      I really dont have a lot of money to spend on mistakes, I need something that works first time out of the chute.

      Bob AD5VJ
    • awakephd
      Barry, There do not appear to be any limitations at all -- board size, number of pins, etc. can be as much / as big as you want. When you say multiple page
      Message 57 of 57 , Oct 11, 2009
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        Barry,

        There do not appear to be any limitations at all -- board size, number of pins, etc. can be as much / as big as you want. When you say multiple page diagrams, I assume you mean for the schematic? If so, then yes, you can have multiple pages and interconnect them as appropriate.

        Unfortunately, I don't know about importing the sch and brd files. I do know that it can produce more than one format of netlist, and apparently it is possible to use component files from some other programs. It is relatively easy to make new components. There are a fair number of component libraries out on the web, though I've only used one or two.

        I have never used Eagle -- in fact, I've never used anything other than Kicad -- so I can't compare first-hand. From what I've read here, I have the feeling that layout, at least, is similar. Kicad is a modular program -- ie, the schematic layout, component selection, and board layout are three separate modules. You create a project file that contains pointers to all the pieces that are generated for a single project, and lets you move from module to module. One thing that apparently is different about Kicad compared to some programs is that it separates the logical (schematic) library from the physical (layout) library. The idea is that you design your schematic using, say, an LM339. Then in a separate module you associate that part with the package -- allowing you to change from a DIP to an SMD without changing the schematic.

        There are just a couple of minor quirks that I've had to learn. One is that there are two output commands for producing diagrams, Print and Plot. In the schematic module, either works fine. But in the board layout module, if you try to Print your layout graphics, the results will come out as sort of an approximation -- at least this is true with the Linux version. However, you can Plot the layout and it comes out perfectly. You can plot to HPGL, Gerber, and Postscript; I have only tried plotting to Postscript, which Linux understands natively. Under Windows, you could convert the postscript to a PDF. Alternately, there is additionally a Gerber Viewer module, but I've not tried that.

        The other minor quirk is that some of the commands/dialogs are accessible only through the toolbar. In particular, the dialog for setting the page size is not accessible through the menu, but only through a toolbar button.

        Given the fact that this was my first exposure to schematic & layout software, I would have to say that it was relatively easy to learn. There are some decent tutorials on the web, and the Help files are pretty helpful. It is available for multiple platforms (Windows and Linux -- maybe others??), and above all the price is right.

        I hope this is helpful; I'll certainly be glad to do my best to answer other questions. Maybe, hopefully, someone with experience both with Kicad and with other programs will also chime in.

        Andy

        --- In Homebrew_PCBs@yahoogroups.com, Barry Demers <sdad@...> wrote:
        >
        > You mentioned Kicad. I am unfamiliar with this software, but certainly
        > would like to learn a bit more. I have the website(s), but how about actual
        > experience with this app? It appears that some of the limitations imposed
        > on us by the Eagle free version have been lifted with Kicad: to verify is
        > there a board size limit? Can I have multiple page diagrams? Can I import
        > my sch and brd files (even if somewhat convoluted? How about the component
        > objects? can I bring in any of those? Please understand that I refer to
        > ability, not desirability. Now the biggy, how would you compare the
        > easy/functionality of Kicad vs that of Eagle?
        >
        > On Sun, Oct 11, 2009 at 11:35 AM, awakephd <a_wake@...> wrote:
        >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > --- In Homebrew_PCBs@yahoogroups.com <Homebrew_PCBs%40yahoogroups.com>,
        > > "leon Heller" <leon355@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > It depends on the autorouter, the Eagle one is rubbish!
        > > >
        > >
        > > Which autorouter(s) are not rubbish? (I hope that doesn't sound like I'm
        > > trying to be sarcastic -- I really am asking for information!)
        > >
        > > I very rarely see Kicad mentioned here -- is anyone else besides me using
        > > it? I haven't used anything else, so I don't know how it compares ... but
        > > the things many of you say about Eagle and others makes me think it must be
        > > pretty much comparable, both in capabilities and in limitations.
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        > --
        > Thank you,
        >
        > Barry
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
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