A solder paste stencil is used to apply solder paste to the surface mount pads of a PCB. Typically, a stencil is stretched over the PCB so that the correct quantity of solder paste may be placed on each pad. The amount of solder paste is a function of the stencil opening size and the stencil thickness. Often, openings in the stencil are reduced, relative to the copper pad size, by some percentage so that the correct amount of solder paste will be applied to the pads.
You can use the Stencil Creator Module to create solder paste stencil product(s) either by extracting the paste mask data from an existing PCB product, or by importing the data from a Gerber file.
Creating stencil products
- Locate the PCB product for which you wish to create a stencil and then click on the Stencil button to open the Stencil Creator Module. If you wish to create a stencil product directly from Gerber files, then click on a folder name (so that no product is selected) before clicking on the Stencil button.
- On the Stencil and frame data panel, specify the layer(s) and frame to use for the stencil.
- On the Placement panel, specify the placement of the data within the frame.
- On the Shape manipulation panel, specify opening size adjustments and corner rounding.
- On the Fiducials panel, it is possible to define fiducials.
- On the Split or edit openings panel, it is possible to replace an opening or break a large opening into a pattern of smaller openings.
- On the Text and identification panel, specify the product's name and description, and place text (if desired).
- On the Delete objects panel, delete any unnecessary objects from the stencil data.
- On the Reduced thickness (stepped) regions panel, it is possible to define regions of the stencil that should be thinner than the rest of the stencil.
- On the Transfer objects panel, objects from any other layer may be copied to a stencil layer.
- Click on the Publish button to create the new paste mask stencil product(s). By default, a stencil product is created with the same product number as the PCB product, plus pt (for top) or pb (for bottom) or just p (for both). If the paste mask product already exists, then the new product will be given a new product number (plus pt, pb or p).