After wasting money, I learned that I can develop and etch PCBs but the artwork is a problem.
Today I bought premium transparencies (made by MG chemicals) specifically for laser printers. I own a brother laser printer.
I did two printouts and made use of the full page as I am doing multiple circuits in one go.
I tried thick paper setting, and the printer took time to print. I tried thin paper setting and the printer printed super fast. In both tests, the image seem to have shrunk horizontally by a few percent (I couldn't align a 40-pin DIP IC onto the holes in the mask and my circuit requires a 40-pin DIP IC).
In the past I tried vellum (equivalent to 120gsm tracing paper), and it also does not work for large circuit boards because the result is not solid (PCB in the end looked patchy and the only way to use it was to redo the board with solder tape?).
I did read somewhere about transparencies shrinking when going through a laser printer but I wasn't expecting MG chemicals transparencies (that even indicate online they are heat stabilized) to shrink the image.
Yes I have done the obvious of making sure I'm printing at a 1:1 scale and I didn't do anything in software to cause scaling to happen.
It seems that my only options are these:
Run to a print shop for every printout (which is a pain).
Ditch my printer and find an older one.
If I choose option 2, should I go with inkjet or laser and why? and what brand should I go for?
The thinnest track width for all my boards is 10mil.
EDIT: I increased the margins to make the printer driver happy but I still get the same disappointing results of the image not to scale.