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Old 05-18-2009, 12:03 AM #1
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Exclamation Tutorial : An alternative to labels

Maybe you are like me and dislike labels because they don't blend with the background well, unless they're transparent, but you can't find transparent sticky paper to print on, and you don't want to buy labels because you want your own custom logos... If you have these problems, well I have the solution that will let you print any design, color or monochromatic, in any size you want, and apply it to almost any surface...


Introducing : the toner transfer method, the solution to almost all of your label problems.

Here's how you do it : you get some sheets of toner transfer paper*, see the link here : http://www.pulsarprofx.com/pcbfx/mai...re/_store.html
You only need the paper. It's also used to make PCBs, but you can do much more with it.
You will also need :
- An iron (preferably teflon coated to make gliding more easy)
- Acetone (you can use rubbing alcohol)
- Scotch tape
- Scissors
- Regular "US letter" size paper
- A laser printer** (color or monochrome)

Now, find the design you want to print and scale it so it fits on the object you want to print on***, and, very important, you flip it horizontaly (also called horizontal symetry), and then print it on a regular sheet of paper on "high quality" with you laser printer (again, you can use color). Then, cut a size of the toner transfer paper a little larger than what you printed and tape it on, glossy size up. The tape must not be in the way because you're gonna reprint on it. It should look like that :


Take note : I didn't flip the image, that was a mistake. The image must be backwards since this is a transfer process.

Next, you reprint it be placing the paper back in the printer, on the good side (some printer flip the sheet while printing, and other feed from the bottom of the pile). Then, you cut it out, including the tape. It should look like that :


After that, clean the surface you want to transfer on using acetone :

This is to remove grease, avoid contact with your fingers.

Next, you clamp the object in a vice and place the transfer paper, printed surface down, on it, well centered. Good, now use the iron set between cotton and wool (in heat that is...), and carefuly heat the piece while adding pressure. This is the most important step, take your time, make sure the sheet doesn't move. After a minute, remove your iron and make sure the paper is ok.
It should look like that :


Good, now another imporant step, grab the piece using pliers (careful, it's HOT!), and plunge it in cold water, then do the same thing, but in hotter water (not too hot). Leave it there for a while. The paper should easly peal of after a minute of dipping, leaving you with a perfect design. If your design is flipped, than you failed, read tutorial carfuly, you NEED to fip the image horizontaly (use photoshop)! This is a trial and error process, but after a while you should get it almost 100% of the time. If you fail, use acetone to clean it. Rubbing alcohol will not work.
It should work on every metal, and also glass. If you have a color laser printer, then you can create color logos. I recommend, to make the design more resistant to scratches, to use a clear metal laquer; use some masking tape to cover areas where you don't want to have some. Make sure your laquer isn't acetone based, you'll ruin your design.
Here's my results**** :

And one I failed because I didn't flip the image :


*This is the paper I recommand, but some people use glossy photo paper, or even catalog paper. I don't offer help for that because I never had any success with this technique.
**You can get your design photocopied if you don't have a laser printer, but never use ink jet.
***The object must not melt under the iron, nor be soluble in water, and must be as flat as possible for the best results. I recommand metal surfaces.
****A better printing quality would give better results, but my printer's resolution sucks...

Have fun, post comments and questions as much as you want to...

Oh, and for those who want to try creating a raised design, don't try to dissolve aluminium in ferric chloride, it will bubble up while releasing chlorine gas, pretty dangerous... But it's okay to use this technique to ingrave other metals such as copper, nickel, iron, brass, bronze, etc...


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Last edited by BuildAbluraylaser; 12-15-2009 at 06:53 PM. Reason: added info
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Old 05-18-2009, 12:26 AM #2
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Cool

Nice tutorial BuildAbluraylaser!!!

It really looks GREAT!!!
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Old 05-18-2009, 12:31 AM #3
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nice tut plus 7 (i think) to you
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Old 05-18-2009, 12:37 AM #4
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Thanks! I've just added more info to make this more clear.
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Old 05-24-2009, 02:48 PM #5
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Nice Tut - if I had a laser printer, I'd be all over this
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Old 05-24-2009, 02:58 PM #6
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Good Tutorial... same procedure used to make DIY PCBs...
I never thought of using the process to do labels...
That's called "thinking outside the box"...

Jerry
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Old 05-24-2009, 03:07 PM #7
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Thanks, if you don't have laser printer, then you can go to copie centers, and get it copied on the paper.
I use this to create PCBs too. I did mention it in my tut.
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Old 05-24-2009, 10:22 PM #8
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Original!
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Old 07-04-2009, 09:04 AM #9
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Default Re: Tutorial : An alternative to labels

interesting! never saw pics of how to toner-transfer, and so didnt expect such nice results. will try it with pcbs and labels one day.. :-)

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Old 12-15-2009, 03:04 PM #10
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Default Re: Tutorial : An alternative to labels

Geniuse, never thought of doing that!!!
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