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Thread: Printing on aluminum?

  1. #11
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    The labels are holding up pretty well, especially the printing. I would suggest for use in a machining environment that it would be a good idea to mask and paint the exposed edges with clear nail polish. This will seal them and prevent lifting eventually. For masking tape I always use black electrical tape.
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Origin now settable to bottom left! All values positive. Click Here

  2. #12
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    lwalker, A local screen printing shop that did tee-shirts and electronic overlays (different areas of the shop ) made up sheets of the lexan and adhesive for me.

    The lexan or its polyester equivalent (in appearance, at least) are common for such an operation but a quick glance online says they're not that easy to find. 3" x 60yd of 468 MP is about $40, $80 for twice the width. Other adhesive sheets can also work but they must be clear.

    oops, found some 8A35 polycarb sheet ...

    This place shows GE 8A35 0.010" velvet/polish sheet for $6.55 for 24" x 48". Sounds cheap but I've never bought any myself.

    http://www.eplastics.com/Plastic/Fil...-0102448-PC815

    PM me if you'd like a 4" x 6" sheet with adhesive applied to play with.
    Last edited by nheng; 01-26-2008 at 08:53 PM.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries
    My local copy place, which admittedly is a big one, has an inkjet printer that prints right on Aluminum. 4' wide, up to something like 12 feet long.
    Ries, that's pretty cool. Do they provide the aluminum? If not, is there a specific gauge of aluminum that you need to supply, or is the printer a flat-bed of some sort?

    Can they do color too?

  4. #14
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    Depending on the application, another way is heat transfer.

    A laser printer image is placed on a VERY clean part. Heated and pressed. The plastic toner bonds to the clean metal, and the original paper is removed.

    I have done this many times for printed circuit boards, or simple markings. The paper is crucial to a good end product.
    Dave

  5. #15
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    lots of good ideas, a really simple one is the toner transfer method used as a circuit board etching resist. Print using a laser printer (as to be laser) onto glossy photo paper and iron onto the panel. what you print has to be a mirror image - soak in water after ironing and fingernail off the paper. the toner is stuck onto the metal and is fairly durable.

    Dave, you beat me to it

  6. #16

    Default Electronics panels

    Hi,
    I'm an electrical engineer (don't hold that against me).
    When we make instruments we have panels made at a place in Seattle.
    They even have a neat cad program on their web site so you can put all the text and numbers and they punch all the holes, silk screen the logo and text...the whole 9 yards.

    Most large cities have these services for the electronics industry.

    PaulF

  7. #17
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    (on painting aluminum. When they paint boats they make it crystal clear the aluminum has to be washed in a mild acid solution that etches the surface before paint. They sell it in marina boat supply houses.)
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  8. #18
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    It's a chromic acid etch called Alodyne.

    http://www.bd-4.org/etching.html
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Origin now settable to bottom left! All values positive. Click Here

  9. #19
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    Dave,
    I thought of this since I have the blue Pulsar toner transfer sheets, but I have never had good luck with them, no matter how scrupulously clean the copper was, it just wouldn't adhere well, or there would be dropouts. But it is worth a try since I may have better luck with aluminum and it would be a quick test.


    Quote Originally Posted by mechanicalmagic
    Depending on the application, another way is heat transfer.

    A laser printer image is placed on a VERY clean part. Heated and pressed. The plastic toner bonds to the clean metal, and the original paper is removed.

    I have done this many times for printed circuit boards, or simple markings. The paper is crucial to a good end product.
    Dave

  10. #20
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    Aug 2001
    Location
    Illinois
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    Quote Originally Posted by lwalker
    Dave,
    I thought of this since I have the blue Pulsar toner transfer sheets, but I have never had good luck with them, no matter how scrupulously clean the copper was, it just wouldn't adhere well, or there would be dropouts. But it is worth a try since I may have better luck with aluminum and it would be a quick test.
    Have had similar problems. Found that his helps and has given good results.
    Place PCB on aluminum plate, maybe 3/16 thk. Place transfer material on PCB. Place 4-6 layers of paper towel on transfer material. Place second aluminum place on top of that and clamp together with C clamps. Use moderate pressure. Cook in oven at 250 degrees for about 20-30 minutes. Let cool then remove the transfer material by lifting corner and rolling back over itself.

    P.S.
    you still need to scrupulously clean the copper!

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