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I have an HP Laserjet 1018 printer. I am printing my circuit designs on a transparent paper, when I do so the output isn't totally dark. I have to go over it with a black marker so its totally black. What I want to do is print the first time the circuit then the second time the same circuit in the same position over the first printed circuit. When I try printing the second time the circuits are not aligned with each other. How can I print the circuits aligned with each other.

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  • Hi. Welcome to GDSE. You would need the prints to register accurately. Sadly it's not possible with home/office laser or inkjet printers which are friction fed. It's not accurate enough. It's possible using something like an offset press however. See this related answer I posted here: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/93166/89608
    – Billy Kerr
    Apr 5, 2021 at 16:31
  • This isnt really about graphic design but about generating sufficiently good masks. I know that the guys in the neigbouring department do this by printing on two separate transparencys and then aligning those. Ive used this method once worked ok. But i dont use such a method as we have a uv mask printer meant for silkscreen printing, but it doubles as pcb masking as the technology is the same.but really consider ordering from jlcpcb or likes, its dirt cheap and you can have it in 4 days, with components soldered. Unless its a flexible board.
    – joojaa
    Apr 5, 2021 at 17:27
  • Running something through a laser printer twice will damage the fuser in 99% of laser printers. The fuser is the heart of the printer, if it goes you may as well replace the printer due to the cost of a fuser replacement.
    – Scott
    Apr 5, 2021 at 19:56

2 Answers 2

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We have no way to make friction based paper feed repeatable. The placement can become more consistent if all parts are cleaned, but it doesn't help original uncertainty nor tear and wear.

Your options: 1) Explore printer driver settings - is there any settings for darkness

  1. Use less glossy paper which takes more ink powder

  2. if you use transparencies be sure you have the right side getting the ink powder

  3. Assemble and fasten manually two transparent copies together.

I have used always trick 4 (=manually aligned 2 separate copies) for photoresist applications because one has too much microscopic holes. It works if the feeding happens uniformly after it starts. It's useless if the feed is slippery.

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The comment by user287001 is of sufficient value to be considered an answer. User287001 moved his comment to an answer while I typed this!

Mechanically, it is nearly impossible to have a printer perform in the manner you require. I was an offset press (lithography) operator during the last century. It was possible to adjust the paper guides and pick-up system to create the alignment required but involved multiple adjustments and was valid for only the one print job.

Additionally, if you intend to create two copies and fasten then together (a good alternative), it is advisable to mirror one of the copies and flip the transparency over.

If not flipped, the two layers have a displacement equal to the thickness of the transparency. If flipped, the two layers will be in contact with each other, eliminating fringe illumination and diffraction that might be caused by the material thickness.

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  • mirroring makes the 2 black layers to single, but then there's no way to place even one layer as near as possible against the photosensitive surface. If you have tested mirroring still is better, that of course is valuable thing to know.
    – user287001
    Apr 5, 2021 at 14:27
  • That's a valid consideration, as it presents a situation I had not embraced. Does the diffraction cause less of a problem between layers or less of a problem against the surface? I don't have that answer.
    – fred_dot_u
    Apr 5, 2021 at 14:47

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