Custom Surface Mount PCB Stencil
If you want to surface mount components on a PCB (printed circuit board), how do you do it?
Using a soldering iron can be difficult (or next to impossible) and you can't get access to pads underneath some components. The solution is to use a stencil which has holes where the solder joints are required. Solder paste is applied using the stencil onto the board, the stencil is then removed and components are positioned. By applying heat to the entire board, the solder paste flows around the component pins.
As an alternative to expensive metal stencils, we offer cheaper custom stencils, making them on our precision Laser Cutter using 125 micron thick A4 mylar sheet. This sheet can be used again and again. (We have stencils which we have used to make many hundreds of boards. Just need to ensure you clean after use).The mylar material (125 microns thick) is great for stencils where the minimum pin pitch is 0.5mm or more (so you can go down to SSOP chips).
On an A4 sheet, we will provide you with two laser cut stencils. These can be the same stencil or two different ones (unless of course your stencil is larger than half an A4 sheet, in which case you will get one stencil).
Files need to be provided in standard CAD DXF format which can be generated by most PCB design software. Please ensure the file(s) submitted contain only what you want cutting without text, guide-holes etc and that the elements are represented with outlines rather than pads or filled blocks.
How to Order: At the moment, we don't have file upload functionality on our website (new dedicated site under development), so you will need to:
Add the appropriate number of A4 stencil sheets you require to your order.
In calculating the number of stencils required, please allow 1cm clearance around the border of the A4 sheet along with at least 1cm between top and bottom stencils.
Next, email the stencil file(s) to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't forget to include your order number in the email so we can match your files to your order. Please indicate the measurements of your stencil(s) in millimetres (this is the cutting area not including any borders) and, if possible, a screen grab of the layout so we can be confident that the scale and layers have all been incorporated into the .dxf file correctly.
If you have any specific requirements regarding the positioning of the stencil(s) eg. one stencil in the middle of the A4 sheet / stencil must be no less than 2cm from edge etc, please include these with your stencil file(s).
What you need to do when you receive your new stencil
When the stencils are cut, the surface is slightly raised at the edges. Take a sharp flat blade (such as a stanley blade) and gentle scrap to take off the excess. This will scratch the stencil a little which is why we don't do before dispatch but will create a flat surface allowing even distribution of the solder paste, when applied.
Generating DXF files from PCB Software
Check the scale of your file (inches or mm) and set as appropriate.
You need to run the 'cream-dxf.ulp' script to generate top and bottom DXF files. Unless you are making a double sided board, you will only need to send us the top DXF file.
The 'cream-dxf.ulp' is not part of the standard installed Eagle scripts, but can be downloaded here cream-dxf.zip
These are the settings you should use
Hobbytronics Youtube Tutorial - Using a Hot Air Rework Station for (SMD) Surface Mount Soldering
Sparkfun Solder Paste Stenciling Tutorial
Custom Surface Mount PCB Stencil
- Manufacturer: HobbyTronics
- Product Code: PCBSTENCIL
- Availability: 8
- Ex Tax: £8.00