DIY PCB Fixture Helps You Spread the Paste

(Yeah, we don’t know what that title means either.) But holding your PCBs down in one place and nicely registered while you spread solder paste over them is a problem that needs solving, and [Carsten] did it nicely.

High volume PCB manufacturers have expensive screen printers to do this. The standard hardware hacker solution is to tape some scrap PCBs of the same thickness down to the table to hold the PCBs solidly in place. But if you’re doing a large run, and if you’re already firing up the laser to cut out mylar stencils, you might as well cut out some PCB-holding fixtures to match.

[Carsten]’s blog entry is short on details, but you get the idea just from looking at the picture, right? Adding registration pins to the holder that engage with the stencils could make this a real time-saver as well. As long as you’re lasering the stencil and the holder, there’s nothing stopping you. It’s a simple idea, but a good one, so we thought we’d share. Our only remaining question: what’s a Karate Light?

6 thoughts on “DIY PCB Fixture Helps You Spread the Paste

  1. I didn’t “get the idea from looking at the picture” at all until I realised the acrylic was the blue and not the grey bit! I’m assuming the two sides that aren’t visible don’t have spring pieces otherwise the registration would be potentially inaccurate.

    1. I wouldn’t assume that there are flats on the other side — I think you came up with a good addition. Who knows how much flex the “springs” have. You might as well remove it from the equation if you’re making a registration system.

    2. wouldn’t you want to calibrate with markings on the board itself instead of depending on the fixture that holds it?

      I mean… I have never done this before. Just thinking out loud.

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