How to fine tune print scaling on a Brother MFC-L9570CDW

I wanted to have a better 1:1 pcb print on a Brother MF laserjet which can be done. I think on other Brother MFC’s the procedure is comparable.

The steps are:

  • Entering maintenance mode, press home button 5 sec
  • Push line 3 in screen, just to get a onscreen keyboard section
  • Enter *2864 on this keyboard to enter actual maintenance mode
  • Enter 46 to enter sizing menu.
  • Use arrows and set to activate submenu’s (horz adj, vert adj, print grid, etc). To print larger use positive %, to print smaller negative %, the grid and a ruler can be used to calculate the adjustment.
  • To exit maintenance mode: 99

I got it accurate to around 0.2 mm over a distance of 200 mm or so.

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Not sure about your workflow; but (unrelated to KiCad) I have made mechanical templates by starting with Visio then producing a .png from Visio and using IRFANVIEW to print the .png to my old HP Laserjet 1200. I then taped the paper printout to my piece of plywood or aluminum stock. I punched hole centers and sawed accordingly. This worked very well for 2 projects that I can think of. With the scaling set 1:1 in Visio, I did not do anything else to adjust the size.

I’ve also made such templates. But they will always be a (tiny) bit off, by measuring true distances. In my case the differences were in the range of 0.2% … 0.4%.
The procedure I mentioned can calibrate the printer to be more accurate.
However on a previous laserprinter it might not have been an issue (very small deviations or I didn’t check it well enough).
I read of people who started rescaling in software, but that’s a lot of hassle.

I came to realize the prints were off, because the prints didn’t match a bread bord.
It’s a nice technique to print a pcb, put it on a bread board, puncture holes and place the components and wires.
But I kind a dislike bread boards, so I only use this technique, to pick components before placing and soldering.
Such a pcb print consists of the same components as the real circuit but placed in designator order, from top to bottom. This speeds up the soldering process and makes it less error prone.
I use a BOM script that makes picking components also more efficient. (Component location driven.)

Out of curiosity: why don’t you print using Visio itself?

It is a long time since I tried it, but printing directly from Visio never worked well for me. If I remember correctly, the main part of the drawing might typically end up split between two or more sheets. I had heard from others that Visio did not print well by itself. So I learned to copy from Visio into Word or other software before printing. Perhaps newer versions of Visio might have resolved this but I have an older version.

I tested my new prints on a bread bord, it’s better but it has still some deviation.

After measuring the bread board hole to hole distances it turns out they’re off by -1,0800%.

I counter attacked that using a custum grid.

Ok, newest Visio prints fine over here.

It took some time, but allignment is good enough now…

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