Think about the last time that you took a close look at a circuit board. Did you notice how many areas on the board had been soldered? There are hundreds of connections soldered together on the average circuit board.
Imagine how long it would take trying to solder each of these connections by hand. Additionally, because circuit boards are so small, the person doing the soldering would need to have an incredibly steady hand and fantastic attention to detail to get the job done correctly.
Fortunately, not all circuit boards need to be soldered by hand. Instead, the process can be made much simpler by using custom laser cut solder paste stencils.
If you aren’t familiar with these stencils, they are essentially thin pieces of plastic that have holes cut in them. The holes are designed to line up directly over all of the points that need to be soldered on a matching circuit board. Using one of these stencils, all of the solders can be done in a matter of minutes rather than hours.
The process is incredibly easy. All that you have to do is position the stencil over the circuit board so that it is lined up correctly. Once it is in place, it is just a matter of securing it down so that it won’t move.
Next, using a squeegee and a special soldering paste, you simply slide the paste across the surface of the stencil. This forces the paste down into the holes of the stencil and onto all of the points that need to be soldered on the circuit board.
You may need to take a few swipes across the stencil with the squeegee and the paste to cover all of the points. Once you double check that everything is properly covered, all that you have to do is lift the stencil up off of the surface and allow the soldering paste to dry. Cleanup is exceptionally easy since the paste can easily be wiped away with a paper towel before it dries.
Solder paste stencils are one of the best inventions regarding improving speed and productivity. The amount of time that they can save when soldering circuit boards is quite impressive. By not having to solder all of the points individually, you can get your circuit board soldered much more quickly than you could if you were trying to do them using traditional soldering techniques.