Stencil frames

Stencil frames Bruce

A stencil frame is the Gerber data describing the outer edge, openings and text that should be added to a stencil product. Frames may be annotated with the product number, product name, product article number and/or product owner. In the frame itself, these texts are shown as placeholders. When the frame is used with a stencil product, the product values are substituted into the frame at the specified position.

The first time a stencil is created, the user may choose a generic frame or define a new frame. If a generic frame is chosen, a frame definition will automatically be created for future use.

Stencil Frame Manager

The Stencil Frame Manager lists the frame definitions which are available for use. These frames are available to all users within the same company. The check boxes specify which frames appear in the selection list in the Stencil Product Creator.

To create a new stencil frame, click the Add new button, which opens the Stencil Frame Editor.

To edit an existing frame, select the frame in the list and click the Edit button. This opens the Stencil Frame Editor in Edit mode. In this mode, it is only possible to modify the frame properties.

To delete a frame, select the frame in the list and click the Delete frame button.

Stencil Frame Editor

The Stencil Frame Editor is used to specify the outline, contents and properties of a stencil frame. Once a frame has been created, it will be available for use by anyone in your company.

Frame data

A new stencil frame may be based on a frame template or data from a Gerber file. Macaos Enterprise has several frame templates, which fall into 3 categories:

  • Generic frames define only an outer rectangle and perhaps annotation text
  • Licensed frames are copyrighted frames which are pre-cut by the steel supplier
  • Standard frames are frames for commonly used solder paste application equipment

Choose whether to use a template or a Gerber file. If using a template, select the desired template.

Frame properties

When creating a frame from a Gerber file, the frame size is automatically set to the bounding box of all objects in the Gerber file. Therefore, the Gerber file should not contain any objects outside of the stencil boundary.

When creating a frame based on a generic frame template, the frame size must be specified.

When creating a frame based on any other frame template, the frame size remains unchanged.

A name should be specified for the new frame. In addition, a default thickness and default shape adjustment (% area reduction) may be specified for use when a stencil product using this frame is created.

Frame text

If desired, annotations and text may be added to the frame. Select the texts to add and click on the Place text button (so that it is down) and then click at the position where the lower left corner of the text string is to be placed. If several texts are selected, they will be placed in a left-justified column.

The Clear text button removes all text from the frame.

Once the frame has been defined, click on the Save and Close button to save the frame.

Usable area

Typically, the solder paste squeegee can only be used on the center portion of a stencil. If desired, a rectangle to display the usable area may be added to a stencil frame.

Enter the width and height of the usable area, and then click on the Add rectangle button to add a rectangle to the Keep in paste layer. Use the Clear rectangle(s) button to delete all such rectangles. Note: When a template frame is selected, the width and height are automatically set to give a 10% margin around the usable area.

Usable area rectangles are shown when creating a stencil, to assist with placing the PCB. They are, however, not included in the final stencil.