DIY solder mask

Elkaid

Member
2003-01-14 1:06 am
Canada
Hi !

I used 2 methods :

Option 1:
If you only need to make your PCB green (or any color), you can try acrylic inks used to paint on glass.
The one I found needs to be cured by heating it in the oven and is manufactured by PEBEO. It can be found at Mal-Wart.
(Make sure that the one you try isn't electrically conductive). When applied with foam applicator, it gives pretty nice results.

Option 2:
If you need a real solder mask, you'll need to deal with serigraphy stuff. You can find photo-serigraphy starter kit here by example: http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/1940565-AA.shtml

The process involves a lot of time in silkscreen preparation and is not really recommended for single parts. The process becomes interesting in large scale production.

For me, the most complicated part was to find inks and solder paste. I used to order "samples" from PCB manufacturing plants. 500ml will last forever.

I hope this helps !
 

Elkaid

Member
2003-01-14 1:06 am
Canada
OH, I forgot to mention :

If you go for option #1, you can cover your soldering pads with clear sticky film used to protect books and shelves. When curing the ink in the oven, the plastic film will shrink and/or burn. When soldering, the use of "flux" allows a clean job.
 
If you are going to use the Pebeo Vitrea paint, you will need to ensure that the PCB you are going to use can support the temperatures required to set the paint (160°C).

I've done a search and for FR-4 PCB's, the glass transition temperature can range from 120°C to 180°C.

Does anyone have a source of high temp FR-4 PCB's? (Other than going to FR-5).
 

Elkaid

Member
2003-01-14 1:06 am
Canada
Hi guys,

Sorry for the delay !

Is this the pebeo stuff that you use?

Hmmm, the link wasn't working this morning. However, I'm using PEBEO Vitrea paint.

By personal experience, you don't absolutely need to heat the PCB to 160°C for the suggested period of time. It gave me good results when heating the PCB until the paint is doesn't transfer on your finger when touching it. Then, I simply lay the PCB at room temperature.

However, I'm really looking forward to hear about your experience with Vitrea paint.

Have a nice day
 
Elkaid said:
Hi guys,

Sorry for the delay !



Hmmm, the link wasn't working this morning. However, I'm using PEBEO Vitrea paint.

By personal experience, you don't absolutely need to heat the PCB to 160°C for the suggested period of time. It gave me good results when heating the PCB until the paint is doesn't transfer on your finger when touching it. Then, I simply lay the PCB at room temperature.

However, I'm really looking forward to hear about your experience with Vitrea paint.

Have a nice day


Thanks for the reply Elkaid.

In terms of baking the PCB, roughly what temperature and time do you use?

I've got three different colours on order and should receive them this coming week sometime, so I'm going to give them a try then.
 
Ok, here we go:

I had no problems, it works well. It needs a fairly thick layer, like 0.1mm.

I baked the PCB's at 150C for 45minutes, no problems here neither.

I tested if the PCB had been damaged by soldering a vire to a couple of pads and tried to pull the pads off the board, that was not possible.

So the conclusion is that Vitrea 160 works quite well for soldermask.

I plan to apply the soldermask with an airbrush, but the test was made by applying with a brush.

Magura :)
 
Elkaid said:
Hi,

I'm glad it worked well for you too.

The airbrush method will probably give a much better result.

Using clear stickers works but I'd like to find another method which involves less time.

Have a nice day !


I cut masking for the pads of 3mm rubber sheet and sparyed them with 3M medium bond sparay glue, all you gotta do then is to put them onthe pads, and they are easily removable. The rubber pads can even be re-used.


Magura:)
 
have anyone tried flameproof solvent resistant spray paints which are usually used on engines?

and how about the coatings on the magnet wire? i think its polyurethane. while soldering a magnet wire, i noticed its coating was never burned and i've washed it with lacquer thinner to remove the rosin. it successfully resist the solder and solvent.
 
jondavis said:


and how about the coatings on the magnet wire? i think its polyurethane. while soldering a magnet wire, i noticed its coating was never burned and i've washed it with lacquer thinner to remove the rosin. it successfully resist the solder and solvent.

You will not be able to get that stuff as a private person,unless you have different laws according to such substances in the US. I use it for inductors so I had to buy 25kg of it, but I would not even consider to use it for soldermask for the simple reason that it is tremendeously toxic, so I try to avoid it as much as possible

The Vitrea 160 is fairly non toxic and works a charm, I see no reason to use polyurethane, even if it wasn't toxic, as it is not easy to deal with. The Vitrea can be applied with an airbrush, I consider that a major benefit.


Magura :)
 
Magura said:
Ok, here we go:

I had no problems, it works well. It needs a fairly thick layer, like 0.1mm.

I baked the PCB's at 150C for 45minutes, no problems here neither.

I tested if the PCB had been damaged by soldering a vire to a couple of pads and tried to pull the pads off the board, that was not possible.

So the conclusion is that Vitrea 160 works quite well for soldermask.

I plan to apply the soldermask with an airbrush, but the test was made by applying with a brush.

Magura :)


bigmike216 said:
has anyone tried assembling a board coated with Vitrea 160? Does the paint burn away, or work like a real solder mask?

Yes ;)


Magura :)