Homebrew solder mask and/or silkscreening?

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Is there any practical solution for DIY solder mask and silkscreening
for homebrew PCBs? I know there are plenty of mail-order PCB
manufacturers that supply these services, but I like making my own
boards and being able to add the glossy green stuff and little white
letters would be great.

Re: Homebrew solder mask and/or silkscreening?


I read somewhere to print/copy off  the PCB layout on a laser printer, then
iron it on to the copper, then etch it,

It is the layer of plastic from the laser printing, that stops the copper
been etched away. sorry I can not tell you more.




Is there any practical solution for DIY solder mask and silkscreening
for homebrew PCBs? I know there are plenty of mail-order PCB
manufacturers that supply these services, but I like making my own
boards and being able to add the glossy green stuff and little white
letters would be great.



Re: Homebrew solder mask and/or silkscreening?


Actually that might work
If the design was the layout of the copper lands, rather than the
whole circuit, you could use that as a silkscreening mask.

The only problem would be removing the mask after printing/spraying,
since the paint or lacquer would either dissolve in the solvent
designed to remove the mask, or prevent the mask from being removed.

You could leave the plastic mask on the board but what would that look
like?? And how durable?

How about a transparency of the copper lands, printed in a laser
printer and then cut out with a craft knife. You would probably want
to use squares instead of circles. This could be a way of mimicking
commercially available screens. Once the holes are cut out you just
um.
No that won't work either You want to avoid spraying the lands. That
would work for applying solder paste.

I know! A very fine brush and a bottle of...no too much work.

I know! Re-expose the board after etching with just the pcb pad
artwork and re-develop, clearing away the photoresist from the pads.
Then lacquer after soldering. You'd need some pretty accurate
alignment to do that. The best I can manage is, "Phew, all the artwork
is on the board."


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Re: Homebrew solder mask and/or silkscreening?



For a silkscreen/solder mask I'd use one of those Canon inkjets that print
directly onto CDs - you could probably enlarge the CD caddy for larger
boards.



Tim Polmear wrote:
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Re: Homebrew solder mask and/or silkscreening?


Interesting idea. But they cost $$$ don't they?

For my latest project I made copious annotations on the copper side
and then used clear plastic Dymo labels to label connectors on the
component side. Looks okay too.


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