PCB solder stencil from poster board

I know it’s nothing fancy, but I’ve been dying to try this. I’ve purchased stencils before online and it always seems like such a waste of money. $10 bucks for a stencil, you use it once or twice and it goes in the trash.

I’ve only had my Glowforge for a few days and I’m still trying to wrap my head around Inkscape, playing with power and speed settings, etc. But I was able to figure out a pretty good setting for cutting poster board.

200/20 with a thickness of .013.

The poster board is thick enough that you get a pretty decent layer of solder. It flowed nicely in my oven and came out perfect. I got 2 uses out of it before it started to get pretty messy. In the future I might go with a thin plastic or something. Something that can be wiped. Hopping online and spending a lot of money on kapton sort of defeats the purpose, so it has to be something pretty cheap. Then again, poster board is dirt cheap and I can cut multiple copies for single use if need be.


Looks very useful! :grinning:

1 Like

Love practical things like this!


I love this so much. I’m going to have to dig through my keyboard projects gerber files and give this a try.

I’ve used 0.003" thick mylar (polyester) transparency film with a craft cutter to make stencils down to 0201 size (maybe 0.012" squares). They last for dozens of boards. I’ve used the “Duralar” brand.
I don’t think the GF can quite do 0201, but it’d be worth trying mylar with the GF to see if you can avoid burned edges.

1 Like

Nice purple PCBs! :slight_smile: Driving Nixie tubes?

1 Like

Thanks. Yup, IN-18s. Still some work to do, but it’s coming along.


“May 40th, 2058”

(joking… that looks sweet!)

LOL. I’m still working on the colons. Need to finish the controller board too.

Here’s the progress on my blog if anyone’s interested: http://kevinrye.net/index_files/in_18_nixies.php

Part 6 hasn’t been published yet, but hopefully I can get it up on the site within a few days.


I don’t understand any of this, not even the blog. The mini fig I know. But, this looks really cool!

I can’t wait to finish it up so I can cut a nice case for it!

How about something like this?

$3.50 for 50 sheets is pretty cheap. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Ah, you just reminded me. I think I still have a box of overhead transparencies in house somewhere. They might be too thin, but it’s worth testing out.

I’ve been using transparency sheets for solder masks, cut with a Silhouette. Works great! I thought the 4 mil thickness wouldn’t leave enough paste on the pcb but it’s just about perfect. I’ve been itching to try it with the GF because the vinyl cutter is way slow, but I’m not sure what’s the best way to turn a gerber into a pdf or svg.

You can use ftp://ftp.cadsoft.de/eagle/userfiles/ulp/eagle2svg-1.0.ulp in EAGLE to export the cream layer to an SVG. Just uncheck all the layers but cream (an optionally dimension) and export to an SVG.


whaaaaaaa? In one step!? I was fully expecting to have to do something like gerbv to turn it into a pdf, run some other pdf to svg tool, then clean it up in Inkscape. I don’t know how I feel about clicking a button and being done with it. :slight_smile:

I couldn’t find the file at the ftp location, but there are a bunch of versions here: http://eagle.autodesk.com/eagle/ulp?q[title_or_author_or_description_cont]=eagle2svg


1 Like

Thanks for sharing this. Yet another use for my Glowforge, which, when I first received it, seemed like a “solution” in search of a “problem”. I probably use it more often than any other tool in my garage now. :sunglasses: