Solder paste stenciling is the process of using a stencil made out of metal or a polymer to quickly apply solder paste to all of the pads on your bare board. This stencil contains a bunch of holes in it, which represents all of the SMD footprint pads on your board layout.
When you lay this stencil over your bare board, you can squeegee a layer of solder paste over it, leaving a nice, uniform layer of solder on all of your SMD pads. This makes it easy to assemble your next prototype, where the natural alternative is to apply solder one pad at a time with a syringe, then times that by 100, 200…1000!?
The core component of solder paste stenciling is, of course, the solder paste. If this is your first time working with this gray-colored goo, then it’s good to know what it does. Solder paste serves three primary functions:
- Binding. It helps to bind surface mount components to your circuit board during the assembly process.
- Connecting. It provides connectivity between every pad on your PCB and every pin on your components.
- Cleaning. When melting solder paste in a reflow or wave-soldering oven, the solder will clean the copper to help minimize any oxidation damage.
Without solder paste, you wouldn’t have a way to attach components to your bare board, and it’s the glue that holds your entire electronics project together.
1 x Solder Paste Stencil