I have been working from the Arduino Robotics book to make a few Arduino clone boards. The book is pretty descriptive, and I have learned a few lessons about what works and what does not work and want to share.
First, lets talk about how the process works. I bought an 8×10 printed circuit board from Fry’s electronics with copper on one side. You print the circuit board design on glossy magazine paper, place the toner toward the copper and heat with an iron to transfer the toner. Then wet the paper to remove it, leaving the toner on the copper.
Only black and white laser printers work, and a cheap one will work as well as an expensive one. Ink jet will not, but more surprisingly color laser does not work. When you use a color laser the toner “bleeds” or spreads out while transfering and instead of getting crisp lines you get a droplet effect in the traces.
Use a good magazine with slick surface. I originally tried a magazine with more of a newsprint quality paper and glossy surface and irregularities in the surface caused problems.
When you transfer the toner, you use a clothes iron on the hottest setting and do NOT use steam. A dry iron – made without steam capability – will not have holes. They are available on Amazon for $14.99 and rescued me from having little ovals of toner that did not transfer to the copper. I bought the “Continental Electric CP43001 Classic Dry Iron”.