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Apache AL13P & TL-320b - One Pass PCB Toner Xfer

Single pass Lower Temp Toner Transfers. Now available as a DIY kit. Open Source, Dual laminator compatible! Apache AL18P also.

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Build this Project to add these laminator capabilities:1) Can transfer toner at LOWER temps plus adds thermal sensor failure protection2) Speed control using multiple automatic fwd/rev passes suitable for synchronous AC motors.3) Cool down function for rollers that overrides the heater. 4) No other mods required. Safe 12VDC build.5) Under 2 hours including building the kit. Available direct (mosaicmerc@yahoo.com).6) Achieve 10mil traces with 1 oz copper reliably.7) Plug n Play operation, no soldering or mods to laminator circuitry.8) Fully reversible mod. Operates at less than 80% OEM maximum temperature!9) Optimizes magazine & PCBFX Pulsar paper transfers & Dry transfer to metal products!9a) USE EBAY Yellow toner paper too!10) The Laminators can be toggled to do 'normal' paper & card laminations at the touch of a button! No loss of original Function. FYI:

Description:

UPDATE: BOTH APACHE AL13P & TRULAM TL-320B compatible.


I've taken a robust document laminator (AL13P or TL-320B) that features all metal construction with metal gears, silicone rollers and temperature control, and added features to make it more suitable and safer for toner transfer using readily available papers, especially magazine paper or http://PCBFX.com PULSAR products & Dry Transfers! Yellow EBAY Toner transfer paper works quite well. Note the thermal image indicating a 6% high roller temperature. Helps for precision work when presetting temperatures to suit different Toner brands. My Printer is an HP1102W. OEM or substitute Toner works fine.


Background:
I have been frequently frustrated by having to use a combination of clothing iron and document laminator as reliable results are ever elusive.
Converting a laser printer to direct PCB printing is complex and not a project I wish to entertain. It would be heavily mechanical and the results would still require post printing 'fusing' of the print onto the copper. I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the easy to modify Apache AL13P from Amazon to simplify and streamline my PCB making using non photographic methods. Have a look at my SMT PCB prototyping Hackaday project for more detailed usage pics & videos.


Powerful Capabilities:

Reliable, repeatable, cost effective and time effective toner transfer to single or double sided copper clad board up to 1/16" (or thicker) (1.6 mm) thick. The detail of the toner transfer method can be as good as 5 mil! http://PCBFX.com explains how to do this with 5mil detail with their enhanced papers. Thus, it is suitable for a lot of SMT applications as well. Yellow EBAY toner paper is also excellent.

I do single pass, double sided transfers, aligned/registered via 0.5mm - 0.8mm 'pinhole vias', built in to the layout at each PCB corner and then simple etching of both sides at once. This beats the multiple step, direct printing method which requires tricky, flip over & reprint alignment & resist curing for both sides of the printed board by baking or additional chemical baths before the etching. Also, direct printing requires a dedicated printer to hack apart, literally, as well as additional dedicated inks or toner/roller cartridges adding costs. This project only adds capability, it does not defeat the original purpose of the laminator and does not require expensive supplies, only paper!

Features:
1) Thermal sensor failure protection.
2) Speed control using multiple automatic fwd/rev passes suitable for synchronous AC motors.
3) Cool down function for rollers that over rides the heater AND keeps the rollers in motion for a fixed 16 minute period with an alert to shutdown after.
4) No other mods required . No roller tensioning required!
5) It takes less than 2 hours to make the modifications including building the kit.
6) It achieves 10 mil traces with 1 oz copper reliably.
7) Plug-n-Play operation, no soldering or modifications to laminator circuitry.
8) Fully reversible modifications.
9) Optimized for http://PCBFX.COM & magazine paper (eg. Pop. science mags or Harbor Freight Catalogs). Yellow EBAY toner paper is also excellent.

Specifications:
It o
perates between 320 F and 350 F to span the range of board stock from scissors cut-table thru 1/16" (or thicker) double sided transfers. HP Toner temps. Other brands may be a bit different. Use 380F for Brother Toner.
Net speed reduction is approximately 12:1 achieved by using recurring 5/8" forward and 1/2" linear reverse motions cycle with the rollers. Heater is OFF during reverse part of cycle to prevent roller hotspots.
This has the effects of applying multiple pressure and heat cycles to the toner transfer ensuring a good result without tampering with the 60 Hz synchronous motor operation & torque levels.
The net result is a single automated COMPLETE pass of the copper clad via multiple sub passes during the process.
The speed reduction can be altered by adjusting the trimmer...

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Toner Transfer-SMT version -2.5x2 inches.jpg

A 2.5" x2" toner transfer image for those who want to DIY the PCB. This version uses the SMT 12F675 and a few SMT passives. Note the latest SMT schematic in the files section.

JPEG Image - 220.39 kB - 02/22/2020 at 17:28

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Lam_Mod_V2_11.HEX

PIc code with no repeat beeping for cooldown.

hex - 1.37 kB - 01/19/2019 at 19:44

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Lam_Mod_V2_2.HEX

PIC code

hex - 1.37 kB - 01/19/2019 at 19:43

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9h etch layer2.jpg

After etching

JPEG Image - 977.76 kB - 12/28/2016 at 14:39

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9f Foil transfer 2.jpg

After foiling, side 2 of doublesided transfer

JPEG Image - 1.82 MB - 12/28/2016 at 14:39

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View all 15 files

  • 1 × Beeper (3-5V), (not Speaker) jameco part # 2098523 or 2151216
  • 2 × Capacitor 0.1 uF 50 Volt X7R (10V minimum) jameco # 544921
  • 1 × Standard Regulator 5 Volt , LM7805 Jameco # 786138
  • 1 × IC socket - 8 pin Jameco # 51626
  • 1 × 5 Sq. In. Printed circuit board, 3' of cat5 cable, soldering eqpt.

View all 13 components

  • THEORY OF OPERATION

    mosaicmerc11/21/2014 at 01:21 0 comments

    Theory of Operation

    A document laminator is tuned to apply temperature and pressure suitable for sealing plastic pouches over paper and card stock. Heavier duty laminators can handle heavier pouches and heavier card and are capable of higher temperature operation. Print Toner is mainly pulverized plastic and melts within the range of laminator temperatures (around 150 Celsius) at the rollers.

    In order to optimize toner transfer to copper clad board of various thicknesses and copper weight, the laminator must increase its temperature{, }pressure or both. This is usually achieved by using multiple maximum temperature passes; up to 20 times for a particular toner transfer to be of good quality with no drop outs on non optimized papers. This method is tedious and prone to repeatability issues based on such factors as the board length & thickness, copper weight, ambient temperature and the speed with which the board is returned to pass through laminator again. The thermal capacity of the copper clad and its cooling between passes is the variable here. Each additional pass increases the net temperature of the board to approach the roller temperature and re-presses the toner onto the copper.

    The modification simply automates the multi-pass approach and adds both time & energy efficiency benefits while simultaneously enhancing both repeatability and safety. Relying on the 60 Hz A.C. synchronous motor speed, the linear motion of the rollers is controlled via forward & backward mini passes to achieve up to a 12:1 speed reduction of the original linear speed. No alteration to the rotational speed or torque is used. No tampering with the 120 VAC power is done. This provides a number of direct benefits such as: reduced roller hot spots as compared to 'stop & go' slowdown methods; repeatable roller speed versus triac based speed control; chopper methods of speed control which stutters a synchronous motor. Lastly, the best benefit is overlapping heat/pressure passes with insignificant copper clad board cooling in between; delivering energy and time savings.

    The effectiveness of the approach is enhanced by the nature of the Apache AL13P control system which offers integral motor direction and temperature control. The modification leverages the features of the OEM control and does a minimum of alterations. Adjusting the tension of the rollers via the 4 bottom screws should not be required, limit doing this to a turn or two of tightening to avoid overloading the motor. The net result is reliable transfers using much less heat and pressure and time compared to other 'popular' laminator instructable type mods done before. Optimizations are possible for faster production by having more OEM temperature headroom in the laminator without hacking the heaters and risking a fire or laminator damage.

    The modification circuit employs a small PIC 12F675 micro-controller to sense the OEM thermal sensor's condition as well as to control the timing of the roller motion and provides a simple man-machine interface for control. A beeper is included to provide for audible feedback or alerts based on the selected operation mode of the system or any alarm conditions. A thermal sensor failure will now result in an alarm sound and failsafe shutdown of the heater for safe operations.

    All the features of the modification are optional and the laminator can serve its original purpose or switch to copper clad lamination or 'dry transfer foil to metal' at the touch of a button. The modification is integrated into the OEM controller seamlessly and utilizes the OEM DC power to operate. The modification's schematic details each pin function of the OEM controllers 6 pin cabling system for convenience of debugging. The mounting of the modification requires NO drilling, cutting or alteration of the laminator as it is mounted in an OEM provided fan cutout in the housing.

View project log

  • 1
    Step 1

    Building the Add on PCB is simple, just a few parts. You can test your build by applying 12V+ on pin 4 and a ground on pin 3 of the 6pin inline wire to board pads. The Beeper should emit a 1 second beep. Building the CAT5 (15") 6pin cables to attach the female 6 pin connectors is critical. Don't mix up the pin numbering. Note the pictures showing pin 6 on both the stock Apache Relay Brd and Display Brd. Also the connector orientation for both cables is opposed, see the pic. Color code: Pins 1 thru 6 as : green stripe, green, brown stripe, brown, blue stripe, blue; on both cables. Org and org stripe unused. Note drawn image in files folder.

    Opening the UNPLUGGED laminator is easy using the four bottom corner screws. Remove the two screws to the LED display first, let the display drop inside. Now u can remove the cover easily.

    Use a hot air supply (hair dryer) to loosen the hot glue holding the 6 pin ribbon cable in place between the stock Relay & LED display seen in the PIC. Note the pin6 identifier on both boards in the picture. Install the new 6 pin cat5 connectors. Match the add on display connector to the display board and the relay/main connector to the relay board. Rout the cables away from the rollers. Install the LED Display back into its cutout and mount the add on board in the fan cutout using a pair of 6-32 x 1/2" screws. Ensure the push button protrudes thru a slot and is operable without sticking. Also the trimmer pot should be accessible via a slot. Adjust the trimmer CCW to provide for best toner transfer (slowest forward speed). Leave the grey roller cover off to observe the roller operation when adjusting the roller forward/rev setting. If the rollers appear to stop and not reverse, your rev. cycle time is too low, adjust the speed control.

    Your modification is complete. Just remove the grey flat piece of metal (with semicircles) on the top cover parallel to the rollers, it is attached via two twisted tabs. It can interfere with the PCB movement.

    Note that Tightening the 4 laminator tensioning screws as per PCBFX etc. is NO longer required OR recommended as it can cause the laminator motor to stall and BURN your rollers making lots of smoke. You can laminate super thin FLEX PCB with no tightening now, thicker boards are also accommodated better.

    See the sidebar on the page for links to CAD & code files.

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Discussions

Winston wrote 04/18/2015 at 14:38 point

Please provide a link to the kit at clubjameco. I searched for AL13P there and didn't find it.

I've been using a stock AL13P for years. I've found that HP Premium Glossy Presentation Paper CG988A works fantastic for toner transfer. Best paper I've ever found for that use. There is an A4 size equivalent that would be readily available for those outside the US, but I don't recall its number. Haven't used parchment, yet.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 04/18/2015 at 15:44 point

Hi, the link to the kit is in yellow under the image gallery sidebar on this page.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 04/17/2015 at 21:13 point

Did some comparative tests with non OEM toner AND I posted the pic in the gallery....you can see that magazine paper transfer  is about 100% BETTER than baking parchment. I ran both tests back to back using my HP1102W and Apache AL13P (single pass mod active) @ 350 °F. had no probs 'washing' the paper off the PCB, didn't even soak it. Came off in under a minute.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Steve Day wrote 04/17/2015 at 06:05 point

Has anyone measured the roller bolts torque using a torque wrench?

I know the instructions say to tighten fully, then unscrew 4 complete turns - but, to tighten bolts "fully" is a subjective thing, unless it means until the springs are fully compressed (which would appear to be incredibly tight to me).

I bolted my PCB in place last night. The tactile switch (I used one with a nice cap) and pot line up great, though I was only able to put nuts on 3 of the 4 bolts ... one is too close to the buzzer.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 04/17/2015 at 06:45 point

Here's a tip, try it without torquing the rollers at all.

With this mod u don't need to! If u stall your motor you can burn up your rollers from the heaters.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Steve Day wrote 04/19/2015 at 04:02 point

Too late ... I followed the instructions when installing your mod. Which is why I was hoping someone had measured the "factory" torque of the bolts. I wish I had now.

I believe the 4 notches on the roller mounting bracket has something to do with how they setup the machines at the factory. Perhaps they slot ametal guide between the notches on both sides, then screw the bolts in until the rectangular spring plates/nuts touch the guides.

The above method would rely on all brackets being identical - which they're not. I noticed at least one of mine is bent slightly less than 90 degrees (the part that folds under the spring and pushes the rollers down).

I'm going to try this alignment method and measure the torque from all 4 bolts, then get an average setting. After torquing all bolts to the average, then I'll run some test transfers and adjust them in 1/2 turn increments.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 04/19/2015 at 04:35 point

Well , only the hot rollers need to be firm, the second 'cold' pair are just transport rollers and can have very low torque.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 04/18/2015 at 16:25 point

Actually the instructions only call for installing two 6-32 machine screws. I suppose you might be able to mount the buzzer on the bottom of the PCB like the tactile switch so you can use all 4 mounting holes.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Steve Day wrote 04/19/2015 at 03:52 point

I was worried about the board rocking with just 2 bolts - being as the pushbutton switch is mounted off-axis and not directly between two opposing holes.

As it is, the drill I used was a perfect size for the bolts, so the board was tapped as I carefully screwed them in.

I just like to over-engineer things, so 4 bolts with lock nuts (because of the gear vibration) would've made me happier.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Steve Day wrote 04/15/2015 at 01:06 point

I built one, but cannot get it to work.

I'm new to electronics as well, so don't know where to start looking...

The board is receiving around 16V. The heating element never switches on. The rollers never reverse. Nothing beeps.

On the 7805 output I'm seeing -0.5V (with scope grounded to the heatsink tab of the 7805).

I programmed the PIC12F675 using a Minipro and switched off the Code-Protect flags so that I could perform a verify. So I'm pretty sure the chip is programmed okay.

The cables are wired 1-thru-6 to 1-thru-6, except for the plug connecting to the display - which is wired 1-thru-6 (mod board) to 6-thru-1 (display).

I've continuity checked the cables. All okay.

I've switched out the 7805 for a new one... no difference.

I even bought a new PIC chip, because I thought perhaps I'd screwed something up ... still no luck :o(

Help me Obi-Wan, you're my only hope!

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 04/15/2015 at 01:48 point

Well if your 7805 isn't outputting 5V you got something connected wrong and nothing will work.

No power to the PIC means no response.

Step1: Remove the PIC.

Step 2. check your 6 pin cable connections via the recently added schematic picture in my 'files' link. That needs to be done right. 

Step 2a: Did you notice the schematic and layout contain bridge jumpers? If you don't install those  you have no circuit. They are not listed on the parts list as this is an intermediate project with some 'build' knowledge expected.

Step3: Apply 12v bench power to the 7805 and verify it's delivering 5V output.

Step 4 Insert the PIC and apply bench power to the 7805, circuit MUST beep on power up.

Step 5: (once beep is confirmed) Install and verify operation.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Steve Day wrote 04/15/2015 at 07:58 point

I found the problem (thanks to following your tips for verifying that the LM7805 was working okay) ... I had wired my cables assuming that PCB connections MP1 and DP1 (White/Green on your color coding) matched with Pin#1 on the Molex header of the Mainboard/Power+Relay board (there's a "1" embossed on the connectors, which is also confirmed by the datasheet).

The build instructions read to me that you had to wire the Display connector backwards, but if you go by the Molex spec it's actually the connector that plugs into the Power/Relay board that is wired backwards (at least to work with the laminator mod board).

Alternatively, it could be built using two identical 1-to-1 wired cables (both with Molex KK .100 housings on each end) and two 6pin headers (directional type with the friction lock tab) on the PCB - with only the MP header being rotated 180 degrees. Though it means wiring another two connector housings, it will actually make things simpler and less prone to confusion.

PS: those IDC connectors are awful without the proper tool (the type for wiring network keystone jacks is too big). I prefer to hand-crimp (using needle-nose plier), solder the pins and insert them into regular housings.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 04/15/2015 at 09:06 point

Glad u got it sorted!

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 04/10/2015 at 02:19 point

Added a schematic  detailing the 6 pin cable assy. It's in the dropbox link to all files.

  Are you sure? yes | no

devin wrote 03/26/2015 at 03:14 point

Has anyone made this mod to the latest The APCHE AL13P from Amazon?   made the board and program the pic but it doesn't seem to work.   Seem to sorta work the VERY first time on power up.   I can see the roller going back and forth a few times after pressing the button but then it just goes forward in one direction.   Any number of subsequent presses does nothing, rollers keeps going forward.  I can hear the relay clicking but rollers has no affect.   Holding the button down for 1 second for cool down mode works as described.   I'm at a lost as to what is happening.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 03/26/2015 at 05:35 point

Hi Devin:
This was a DIY and not the ClubJameco kit as you programmed the PIC?
So
you hear the relay switching every couple of seconds but the rollers
don't reverse? You could be hearing the heater relay being cycled, it is
synced to the motor rev. relay. 
You can run the mod with the top cover off comfortably.
 Have
a look at the schematic and verify the motor relay transistor is
switching power to the relay.  A multimeter can tell you this., measure
the voltage across the motor transitors collector & emitter  (Pins
Mp3 & 5 on the 6 pin relay board connector) with the rev. mod
activated. That voltage should drop to <0.5V when the relay is

activated. If the motor transistor isn't doing its job, it might be
faulty. You can check it's base/emitter voltage, it should jump from 
sub 0.3v to 0.8V or so when the PIC tries to switch the motor relay.
Does the reverse button on the Apache display work?



Are the kickback diodes installed properly? Oriented right?

  Are you sure? yes | no

devin wrote 03/28/2015 at 19:15 point

I did the diy thing because the kit was out of stock.   It's back now so I ordered one.  Will report back once I get the kit.   

I did troubleshoot as you suggested.   Everything appears to check out.  I even replaced the motor transistor.   All the components are oriented the correct way.   It did work once as I saw the roller go back and forth like it is suppose to but for a very short period.   Anyhow I will try the kit and see where that leads me.

Thanks

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 03/28/2015 at 19:50 point

Ok, great. Once  I had probs something like u saw. It occurred because the pushbutton's cylindrical 'button' was 'jamming'  against the metal housing of the Apache and vibration was was causing it to 'switch' erratically.  Something to check out.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 03/30/2015 at 20:24 point

Well, since u can program the PIC, I can add a [test firmware] 'beep' task every time the  rollers reverse so you can determine if the problem is with the transistor drive or the motor relay. If no beeps occur, then the mod isn't  reversing the rollers and either the tactile button isn't working properly or the PIC has some kind of problem.

As an aside i used some standard Toner Foil from Ebay and it works very well.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/160937797413?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&var=460141909885&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

  Are you sure? yes | no

devin wrote 04/01/2015 at 03:34 point

Sure, I'll try it out while I wait for the kit.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 04/01/2015 at 18:10 point

Ok , check the dropbox link for version 2.2 of the hex. It will beep when the motor reverse relay is switched ( by the mod). it should be useful to eval. if the mod is operating correctly. If the motor does NOT reverse, the prob.  lies with A) the NPN RELAY drive transistor,T5 B) The 6 pin connector & cable C) the relay itself.

You can eliminate the relay if the Apache Rev. button works.That leaves A or B.

  Are you sure? yes | no

devin wrote 04/11/2015 at 14:19 point

No good on my end.   Beep is there and I can see the roller again attempt to do something but not consistent behavior.   I think my PIC programmer is crap.  It's very old.   Anyway thanks for trying.   Kit is on its way so I will know soon enough what is causing it.   I'll update once I get it.

  Are you sure? yes | no

devin wrote 04/16/2015 at 15:52 point

The latest pics of the wiring help a lot to understanding the wiring but that was not my problem.   It was the pot that was the culprit.   The kit came and it did the exact same thing.   Fresh from the factory the pot is all the way to the left or right.   Since I mounted my pot up it set the timing so that reverse was so short that it look like the rollers was not reversing when in fact it was.   It was just so short that you couldn't see it via watching the rollers.   Once I turned the pot, it worked and I could see it.   Playing with the pot I could see the reverse shorten until I couldn't see the roller reversing anymore but I could hear the relay click and roller briefly stall.   This is EXACTLY what I saw all along.    Stupid me.   Anyway I mounted the pot that way to test because I'm going to drill my case and mount an external pot and switch to make it work and LOOK better.  Don't care about the warranty.     Thanks for the help and sorry for the goose chase.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 04/16/2015 at 17:38 point

Hmm, usually the pots come centered. Anyway the instructions did mention the pot being adjusted to suit maximum slowdown, which amounts to 1/8" or so of forward travel for the PCB per cycle. Any more slowdown makes it hard to get the PCB started thru the rollers with the mod active. Enjoy more reliable PCB fab'ing.

I have settled on 'Bakewell' brand siliconized baking parchment (cheap as $1.00 per 5yd x 15" wide roll) , secured to regular paper with blue painter's tape and wiped clean (important) with isopropyl damped Bounty before laser printing the traces! It releases from the PCB in 15 seconds under water! Also, silver sharpies are the ticket to  manually doing traces or 'fills'. I 'bake' the fresh silver ink hard by placing the PCB on the hot laminator grey grille for a few minutes.

  Are you sure? yes | no

devin wrote 04/16/2015 at 19:16 point

I have been trying the parchment paper thing which work and release great without any soaking at all while waiting for your kit to arrive.   I gave up on it because of pitting.    Now that the mod is working I will give the alcohol wipe a try and maybe another brand.   Bakewell is UK I guess as I don't see or recognize it here in the states.   If not your mod should make all the other paper work like a charm from now on. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 04/16/2015 at 19:51 point

Pitting does happen on 'fill' areas. Has to do with the Toner density of the printer or  if the toner cartridge is running a bit low. I use the Silver Sharpie to augment the fill areas or wide traces! If it is a complex board you can foil it after the toner transfer to solve all the myriad tiny pits. Then use the Sharpie on the few 'holes'  left over, if any. Using 'magazine' clay coated paper fills in the pits but it's a bit of a headache to soak & rub off a detailed surface mount board with small pitch parts. It sometimes causes bridges in the etching, much more of a problem than pits.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Hacker404 wrote 04/17/2015 at 05:46 point

I have heard of people printing to parchment paper and then placing the printed toner (on the parchment paper) onto the PCB and then into a sealed container with a very small amount of acetone. The acetone chemically melts the toner and bonds it to the PCB by air displacement. I gave up with parchment paper because the toner image was too fragile. 



I am using Pulsar Toner Transfer Paper. It is dextrin coated. Dextrin is completely water soluble so the transfer paper just floats off in water. It's a bit expensive at about $20 for ten sheets (about A4 / Letter size). Pulsar also make Toner Reactive Foil (Green TRF) which is supposed to fill in pitting after the toner is transferred to the PCB. I have used the TRF every time so can't say if pits are a problem without it. It is much cheaper, about $12 for many meters at A4 or Letter width.

I am printing traces down to 10 mill and I haven't had any trouble with these products. 

I did however have lots and lots of problems with toner. The first printer (toner) I tried wouldn't even transfer onto the PCB at nearing 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit). 

I went an bought a color laser and that works well. I chose a color laser as I want to print colored decals for front equipment panels using the same method. 

I have heard that the toner in Brother printers wont transfer at all. So I am guessing the toner has a lot do with how well it works. Some after market toner refills may be completely different to the original manufacturers toner as well. 

Just reading back on your post and mine, I am now not so sure if it is acetone or

isopropyl alcohol that melts toner. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 04/28/2015 at 21:08 point

Acetone dissolves the toner.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Hacker404 wrote 04/28/2015 at 21:57 point

I will give that a go when I am next removing toner after etching. I have been using steel wire buds but I will try Acetine.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 01/06/2015 at 14:35 point

Updated the PCB GERBER files for those who prefer that format.

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mosaicmerc wrote 11/24/2014 at 18:23 point
PCB layout (V2) improved - no new parts but better silk screen & layout! V2 of the Firmware is also available....note the change log in the read me.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 12/04/2014 at 05:23 point
V2.1 firmware released...
Changes the Cooldown delay from 2 mins to 16mins to prevent roller deformation (flat spots) while hot and in a parked position.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 11/23/2014 at 16:14 point
Wow, I see Amazon just went out of Stock on the AL13P and I got mine only 2 weeks ago. This laminator must be in demand!
http://www.amazon.com/Apache-AL13P-Professional-Laminator-Document/dp/B0012UEQ5C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372796999&sr=8-1&keywords=apache+AL13P

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 12/20/2014 at 13:53 point
AL13P not back in stock @ Amazon yet....I see an AL18P for more $$$ that looks very similar but I can't be certain if the controller is identical.

  Are you sure? yes | no

kd7wrc wrote 12/31/2014 at 00:27 point

I wanted to get the AL13P, but they went out of stock, so I ordered the AL18P. When I get the time to open it up, I'll look to see if the controller is the same, and report back.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 12/31/2014 at 00:38 point

That would help the community, thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 01/20/2015 at 20:14 point

Any updates for the AL18P compatibility with the 13P modification?

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 11/23/2014 at 15:45 point
Added in 1 extra diode to block accidental rev. polarity, in case a mistake is made with wiring the 6 pin cables. PCB updated.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mosaicmerc wrote 11/23/2014 at 03:31 point
I don't see this model over there...so there may not be a 220VAC unit.

I added a comment in the write up so I place it here for those who have been following:

I do single pass, double sided transfers, aligned/registered via 0.5mm - 0.8mm 'pinhole vias', built in to the layout at each PCB corner and then simple etching of both sides at once. This beats the multiple step, direct printing method which requires tricky, flip over & reprint alignment & resist curing for both sides of the printed board by baking or additional chemical baths before the etching. Also, direct printing requires a dedicated printer to hack apart, literally, as well as additional dedicated inks or toner/roller cartridges adding costs. This project only adds capability, it does not defeat the original purpose of the laminator and does not require expensive supplies, only paper!

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PinheadBE wrote 11/22/2014 at 19:08 point
Great news.... but this laminator cannot be found in Europe.... :-{

Anyone knows for a replacement model ?

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mosaicmerc wrote 11/21/2014 at 15:14 point
That's great news...I hope this mod helps others as much as it helps me. I hope to maintain direct communication with folks who want to build or improve this mod...so , for now, I share the source code/hex code via email request only. Perhaps, later on when there is a community of users to provide support I can just publish a link.

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Benchoff wrote 11/21/2014 at 13:13 point
This is fantastic. You made the right call on the Apache laminator. I have one and that thing is a freakin' beast.

You're getting a Hackaday post today.

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