Prototyping your own PCBs? At a loss for how to apply your SMT electronics? Well — do you have access to a laser? [Felix] shows us a definitive way to use a laser cutter to engrave SMT stencils with ease.
The real trick here is to engrave — not to cut. Typically if you’re using enough power to cut straight through the plastic, you’re going to get melting and burning of the edges — which won’t work well for a SMT stencil. So what [Felix] found is to engrave at approximately 20-30W @ 400-450mm/s. He’s using Mylar as the material.
The results are pretty awesome — but if you’re without a laser, he also has an excellent tutorial on DIY metal SMT stencils by chemically etching soda can metal!
Alternatively, it’s possible to use a vinyl stencil cutter for SMT applications — just requires a bit of messing around when converting the file types!