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Old 18th June 2007, 07:52 PM   #1
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Default Suggestions for PCB stencils?

I've already looked at Stencils Unlimited, but it's a little pricey. I'm using ExpressPCB, so I'm limited to dxf files. Have any of you guys made stencils for your pcb's, and if so, how? Thanks.
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Old 19th June 2007, 04:41 AM   #2
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I bought one from SU. Excellent quality. Also bought paste & other stuff. Used a fancy toaster oven and it all worked fine. Except where the 0603 were close together, I ended up getting solder bridges as the resistors and capacitors floated on the metal and moved slightly. Normally everything floats and centers itself. With the tight spacing I got diagonal shifts.

In the end, I chucked it. Turns out I can solder everything by hand just as fast. And it never requires touch up or rework. I see no reason to go to stencils for small jobs. They're only practical and cost-saving if the boards are machine placed.

If it is the SSOP type devices you are having trouble with, try the technique outlined in this video:

http://www.hagtech.com/media/solder.wmv

jh
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Old 19th June 2007, 01:19 PM   #3
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Do you have a recommendation for a vacuum? (Oh, and thanks!)
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Old 19th June 2007, 07:19 PM   #4
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"Soldapult"

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Old 21st June 2007, 04:18 AM   #5
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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I think a Soldapullt is too big for surface-mount work, although it is the cat's whatever for through-hole stuff. Desoldering braid is better for this miniature stuff.

(once upon a time I thought DIP components with 0.1" leadspacing were small... now I'm soldering stuff I can barely see.)
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Old 21st June 2007, 12:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by hagtech

If it is the SSOP type devices you are having trouble with, try the technique outlined in this video:

http://www.hagtech.com/media/solder.wmv

jh
Hi Jim, What's that terrible noise in the background of the video? Desolder braid also works taking excess solder.
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Old 21st June 2007, 05:34 PM   #7
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It was very windy that day. It's the garage-type door banging. Not the most professional video. I just did it in one take.

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Old 23rd June 2007, 01:56 AM   #8
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Hi, can you give us a little background on what you're trying to do? If it's just a one-off hobby project, I would look around for a local contract PCB assembly company and get them to solder it for me (if I can't do it myself).

In the past I've ordered several stainless steel stencils from MasterCut for the company I was working for. But for that kind of thing you need to liaise with the assembly guys to find out exactly what they need.
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