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laser printer layour

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  • laser printer layour

    I want to share a technique that worked for me for laying our hole locations on plate. At least for those of you, who like me, still lack a vert mill or jig borer.

    My need was to drill a number of holes in several 12" sq plates using only my drill press. Typically, one would lay out the holes on the plates with dye, dividers, squares, etc. In this case, I had already designed the layout using AutoCAD. So, it occured to me that if I simply printed out the drawing at 1:1 scale I could lay the drawing on the plate and transfer the hole location through the paper to the plate surface.

    The only potential drawback that I anticipated was if the printer did not accurately position the lines on the paper. I was plesantly supprised to find that my HP 2200D printed all lines accurately to about 10 thou over the entire sheet of paper. This was good enough for my purposes.

    I then cut some "eyes" in the drawing in convenient places and taped through these openings to the plate to hold the drawing in place. I then simply center punched through the drawing at the hole center locations to transfer the marks.

    The resulting part was quite acceptable for my needs.

  • #2
    I needed a synthesizer on hand at one time, not a functional one, but a dummy. I printed off a full color straight on picture of one and glued that to a box. From as close as a few feet it looked real enough.
    I've made a few projects requiring fromt panel artwork, and I made that on the computer and printed it off. I used spray glue to hold it on, and an interesting thing is that leds can shine through it without having the hole in the artwork. When the led is off, you don't see it at all. Some glues cause the paper to become somewhat transparent, so you have to experiment a bit.
    I did one project where I used epoxy to seal the front of the paper. It looked pretty good, and was (is) durable. Photo printer paper works well.
    I haven't done what you describe, but this type of thing sure has it's place. I'm keeping it in mind.
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


    • #3
      I found my HP laserjet was good to around .001, well measuring with my calipers and a good eye. Your own accuracy cutting near the line with an eyeball won't be that good anyhow. I have sinced started to use a surface plate, layout dye, and a height guage, found my mill work has become much more accurate. Not like Im building parts for aerospace.


      • #4
        Thinking about how to punch the marks through that layout paper got me thinking again about an optical center punch. It would be cool to have such a device that you could place over a dot or other mark, then see through an optical dillusion of some sort to center the thing before striking the punch. Some kind of magnifier that lets you see all around the mark without interference from the punch. Maybe such a thing is already made, I haven't looked. It should help increase the accuracy of a punch mark, whether that's on paper or laid out on the metal.
        I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


        • #5
          Been doing that for a long time. Started with the old dot-matrix printers. I use full sheet labels so I can just peel and stick. I even have 17 x 24 label stock for larger jobs. When even that is too small, I assemble several sheets on the part by cutting across the lines for alignment. You can use the spray on adheasives on plain paper instead of label stock. WD-40 is a great way to remove the labels after cutting. Spray and let sit for 5 - 10 minutes and they just slide off.

          It's great for sheet metal work. Also good for a lot of wood parts.

          If your printer is not as accurate as you would like, many CAD programs have adjustment (fudge) factors available in the print windows. Mine allows separate adjustments to be made in the X and Y directions and I find that to be a great help as my ink jet printer is almost dead on across the page but off a bit in the length.

          It can save a ton of layout time when making a bunch of parts.

          Paul A.
          Paul A.
          SE Texas

          And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
          You will find that it has discrete steps.


          • #6
            When I built my telescope I was faced with accurately laying out many holes on the periphery of 9 different rings, most of them different from the others. This would have been a truly difficult and time consuming task if done the usual way. I generated templates in the computer and printed templates that had all the necessary holes marked. My Epson 1270 will print large format up to 13 x 19" and is accurate to a thou or two. Here is a reduced size copy of one of the templates. Imagine laying this out on a part.

            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


            • #7
              I needed to build prototype parts with complex brass conductors (leadframes) that would be stamped from sheet stock in production. Glued a to-scale printout to sheet stock and cut it out with a scroll saw and very fine blade.

              Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
              ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~


              • #8
                Even with a mill, your idea and a centre punch would be great time saver for layout work with compatible tolerances and lots of holes.

                Somewhat similar is the printed circuit board technique of using a laser printer to print onto glossy photo paper and then via ironing transfer this to a copper board - the toner becomes the resist. Works well, lots of info out there, google pcb toner transfer.

                An optical punch is very useful and readily available. I believe a high standard (within a thou or two) can be achieved with traditional layout tools (surface plate, height gauge, etc) and an optical punch. for example scribe two lines 5 thou apart and the difference is huge under the optical punch.

                [This message has been edited by Mcgyver (edited 07-15-2005).]
                located in Toronto Ontario


                • #9
                  It's not just for holes, I've used a printer for layout for complicated profiles. If you've got something that has fillets on external corners, or other complicated curves that aren't critical this is a great trick. You just print 'er out, glue 'er down, rough out the profile on the bandsaw, then use the belt sander to take it down to the line.

                  2 important things though- don't let the metal get so hot that it lights the paper on fire (I've done that one), and use glue that will withstand reasonably high temperatures.