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Thread: producing front panels
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face BY : M. Adam Davis email (remove spam text)



I was researching that a little earlier.  You can get *very* fine screens for
silkscreening (on the order of 800 threads per inch) which I decided was enough
to give me at least 1/100th of an inch of resolution (perfect for most PCB
projects), and larger screen printing supply places have etch resist ink meant
for PCB silkscreening.

I've heard of people using silkscreen to apply solder paste for SMT components
prior to a pick-n-place machine and oven, but I've not dealt with solder paste.
I imagine you'd need a fine paste and a coarse screen.

If you are a small business that has a few boards that you produce in large
quantities, silk screen printing may be the way to go, since you are probably
going to silkscreen the topside and solder mask anyway.

The last glitch in the whole process is plated through holes.  If the chemicals
were available, it wouldn't be too bad, but the process is still rather
involved:

Drill
Screen print a plating resist
Plate
Clean off plating resist
Screen print an etch resist
Etch
Clean off resist
Screen print a solder mask
Tin plate exposed copper
Screen print the overlay

I can see myself deciding that my time is worth more than what it would cost to
have a professional shop do it for me.

But for simple kit projects, one side, tin plated (no solder mask), and part
placement overlay, this would probably be cheaper for medium quantities than a
PCB house.

-Adam

"Mitchell D. Miller" wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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