Toner Sheets for making DIY effects Printed Circuit Boards

Lots of folks want to make printed circuit boards for home made effects, but don't have a good way or the experience to do a layout or to make the boards. To help with this, I put together preprinted packages for some effects I've made for myself.

This takes the form of a toner transfer sheet and a package of information that goes along with it to let even a beginner make a pro-quality board on the first (OK, maybe second!) try. Seriously, I get reports of first-try successes on this stuff all the time from people who have never made a circuit board before.

What's a toner sheet?

The base material is Techniks Press - N- Peel Blue. This is a plastic sheet intended for use in laser printers and copiers which has one side coated in a blue material that the black printing toner sticks to. The pcb layout is printed on the plastic sheet. To make a PCB, you clean the surface of a copper-clad blank board, iron the toner pattern onto it with a household iron, and then peel the plastic sheet away. The toner pattern sticks to the copper surface and acts as an etch resist. You then etch the board in commercially available etchants, such as ferric chloride, available from Radio Shack. Here's a pictorial how-to provided by Techniks.

This is one example of a toner sheet. Note the black pattern on the blue background. The black pattern sticks to the copper when you iron this onto a blank copper clad PCB blank an peel away the backing.

Toner Packages

The layouts are all designed to fit well within a Hammond die cast box, and to be easy to wire to controls, etc. Each toner package includes full documentation for how to complete the effect, including parts list, suppliers for parts, how it works, schematic, parts placement on the board, and wiring diagram for hooking up switches, jacks, controls, etc. The information packages that come with the toner package is exactly the same as the information that comes with the RTS boards and the Board Kits.

The only exception to this is the line of toner packages from Aron Nelson's Stompbox Page. These toners are just that - the toner sheets (you get two tries!), as the building information is supported from Aron's page and the forum. These packages all have numbers like "TPKX01" , with an X in them.

I used to lay out PCB's for a living a long time ago, so the layouts are of good quality and not awkward to use and wire. Done properly, you get a pro-quality printed circuit board out of this.

Each of these layouts have been built and tested, and they are known to work if built correctly with the right parts. I get asked all the time whether the toner package includes the parts to build the board, like resistors, transistors and capacitors - no it doesn't. The toner package is just that, an iron on toner sheet and the full instruction package.

The package DOES include:

Press-N-Peel Blue transfer sheet

Preprinted toner transfer sheet, with the copper pattern transfer ready to iron on to a copper board. The sheet actually includes two or more images of the pattern so you get a test run with your iron if this is your first time. If you're good with the iron, make a couple of boards, or share with a friend...

Parts Placement and Check Plot for the board

This diagram shows where the parts and copper traces go and how to get the right parts in the right places, in the right polarity. Has outlines of the part over a "ghost" diagram of the traces as seen through the board.

Parts list

Complete list of parts, with supplier part numbers and estimated costs where possible, and in some cases possible substitutions for more readily available or more economical parts.


Complete schematic diagram, including wiring to controls, etc. May include some "modern" options like true bypass where the original did not have such niceties.

Tech notes

A description of how the circuit works from the electronics viewpoint and how to get the thing made up into a usable effect.

Off board wiring diagram

Shows how to hook up the wires to the controls, jacks, and switches

Packaging sketch

A sketch showing how the board, controls, battery, jacks, etc. can fit into the recommended enclosure.

These layouts are completely new, and many cases are much smaller (and tidier) than the old, often unavailable effects they are an attempt to recreate. They are an attempt to provide a way for you to experiment with making an effect that may be simply unavailable or impossible to find. They are not replacements for effects that may have been reissued. Note that the names of the original effects and the companies that made them are copyrights and/or trademarks of their respective owners, and are used here for reference only. The layouts are NOT exact copies of the old layouts, although the repair versions of certain boards may have been designed to fit exactly in the earlier equipment for repair purposes.


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