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HOW TO – Make PCB solder paste stencils

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Cutstencil
HOW TO – Make PCB solder paste stencils

You’ll need:

  1. A laser cutter
  2. Kapton film, I like the 1 mil thick 1 ft square sheets from McMaster-Carr
  3. Solder paste such as Kester No-Clean

Software:

  1. PCB layout software (well, thats how I do it) – this example will use EagleCAD
  2. Pentalogix ViewMate Gerber viewer software
  3. PDFCreator or some other free PDF printer

Read more!


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10 Comments

  1. yeah…um….Laser cutter….

    How about a big magnifying glass?

    Anyone bought one of those “cheap” chinese cutters I’ve seen on ebay?

  2. Marc de VInck

    I just started some tests with a Cricut cutter. You can pick them up the 12″ version for <$300. There is 3rd party software available that allows you to bypass the crappy cartridges and cut EPS files….it works really well, I have used it a lot for other projects (No, no scrap-booking for me!)

    http://www.cricut.com/

    Cheap laser? Looks like the cheapest (good) laser is the Zing. It uses steppers, but still cuts vector files. Sweet! (The $1500 ones on ebay etch and can only make very light cuts since they don’t do vector…..and least that’s what I was told by a seller)

    http://www.epiloglaser.com/zing_series.htm

  3. There’s another way for us poor sods without a laser cutter — just use a scalpel blade! I photocopy the stencil layer onto a transparency, then cut out the pads. You can get away with cutting one long strip for each side, rather than each individual pad, for SMD devices like that shown. The solder tension takes care of the rest. If I’m careful with getting a sensible paste thickness, I don’t get any solder bridges.

    Yes, it’s time consuming, but the savings over hand soldering 6+ boards (in my case) were well worth it.

  4. I found this place in a solder paste tutorial over at Sparkfun: http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/446. They sell laser cut paste stencils for $25 for 4 square inches and $1 for every square inch thereafter. Great for hobbyists, who usually dont’t have laser cutters.

  5. Confused Robot

    Where’s the beef? When I click “Read More!” it just takes me to this page: http://www.ladyada.net/library/laser/pcbstencils.html which eludes to a wiki page that is no where to be found. When I click on “HOW TO – Make PCB solder paste stencils” take me back here http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2009/05/06/how-to-make-pcb-solder-paste-stencils/.When I click on “projects” I’m looped a page ahead. Where is the actual tutorial/How To located???

  6. it’s here

    http://www.ladyada.net/library/laser/pcbstencils.html which -is- a wiki page AND also has the information

  7. All I see is this:

    How to contribute

    The data on the “Laser Info” pages is actually all in a Wiki (a webpage that anyone, even you, can edit!) If you have suggestions, ideas, updates or sources you can always email [email protected] but it might be faster and easier to just edit the wiki page yourself. (You’ll have to create a login first)

    And every link on the left goes to the same thing. All of the links listed below. So no dice.

    Intro
    Equipment
    Supplies
    Computer
    Materials
    Settings
    Providers
    Stencils
    Links

  8. the link works:
    http://www.ladyada.net/library/laser/pcbstencils.html

  9. Well, apparently the website is using some kind of a weird script to store the content. I see it now after allowing the site. Seems strange that they would lock up everything in a script like that hiding the content 😐

  10. we are not running “any scripts” we do not hide any content, it’s likely something on your side or something really odd, dns, caching, firefox, chrome, ie, who knows – we’ve done nothing, it’s all the same from the last year or so, this is the first time we’ve heard of someone not being able to see it.

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