I'm trying to find the best way to make a solid photo mask so that I can finally make some excellent PCB's without spending hundreds of dollars.
When I bought a lazer printer, the first few prints (for PCB masks) were perfect. After several prints, the quality starts to slowly degrade to the point where some tracks appear cut. I used translucent paper (105 gsm) because I was told the toner adheres to it better in comparison to transparencies.
Here's the killer. If I go to an office store and have them print my PCB on a transparency, it comes out perfectly twice in a row with some spots with lighter toner application but at least all spots are filled in.
I have used the darkest settings on my printer and I print at 1200 dpi and currently I use translucent paper when trying to print PCB masks at home.
What would be the best course of action for a quick mass-production of different PCB's when printers designed for home-use start to degrade after the first set of prints?
Am I better just to rely on the office store to print? They charge about $1 a page, but I'm unable to get to the store some days as it closes early, so this is the long method.
Or should I ditch all my printers and buy one specifically for PCB artwork (which I currently don't know who makes it)
Or should I buy toner and pray the artwork will print correctly? (When I tried replacing toner in my old printer, the results did not improve, plus I replaced the drum unit).
Any suggestions would help. and hopefully I won't have to resort to depending on the office store for quality prints.