ABS melts at about 105°C and the toner in your printer melts at a higher temperature, maybe 150-200°C.
So, you shouldn’t be able to make super good looking front panels for your ABS enclosures with toner transfer, right?
But it works!
I decided to give it a try. With special precautions it works like a charm. So what is different compared to a normal toner transfer for making PCBs?
Well, the answer is rather short: do things fast so that the ABS will not melt. It took something like less than 10 seconds of ironing on the paper with the image you see below. The paper appeared to stick very fast to the box, unlike you see when making PCBs. Next, put it in cold water and scrub the extra paper with a sponge.
The result is great, minus the fact that i have used paper from some magazine and some extra text came out and that needed extra scrubbing which removed some of the toner. The text appears to be very smooth too. I just can’t wait to make the front panel of my next project with this method.
Check out the images of the process:
P.S. If you didn’t know, toner transfer can be used to make nice drawings on aluminum front panels too. It might work on other metals, but it didn’t try it yet.