Author Topic: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.  (Read 16785 times)

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Offline mrpacketheadTopic starter

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Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« on: May 05, 2014, 06:52:52 am »
Hey folks,  on last trip to Shenzhen, i located a friendly little company, who does good quality Stainless Steel Stencils at very good prices. 

http://www.sitopway.com/en/index.php

Check out prices on their Ebay listing.   ( don't look at the actual price in the auction, there is a price list at the bottom ). Start at about $20.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SMT-Stainless-Stencil-manufacturing-as-gerber-use-for-PCB-solder-paste-Printing-/29113260
9717?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43c8db14b5

Turn around has been very good, last ones shipped inside 24 hours from ordering. Pay via Paypal, and they will ship on your Fedex account, or pretty reasonably priced freight options.  Just email them some berbers.

The guys name is 'Kevin'. .( sales@sitopway.com )

* I have no interest in them, other than i'd like them to stay in business, because they are doing something very helpful for me.
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Offline PlainName

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2014, 09:42:13 am »
Quote
last ones shipped inside 24 hours from ordering

But how long did they take to arrive?
 

Offline M. András

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2014, 06:42:09 pm »
the ebay link is broken btw :)
 

Offline IanJ

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2014, 03:16:32 pm »
the ebay link is broken btw :)

Works.......just as long as you include the additional parts of the URL from the line immediately below it.

Or click http://www.ebay.com/itm/SMT-Stainless-Stencil-manufacturing-as-gerber-use-for-PCB-solder-paste-Printing-/291132609717?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43c8db14b5.

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Offline scientist

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2014, 03:49:53 pm »
oshstencils.com is pretty great.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2014, 03:51:51 pm by scientist »
 

Offline zapta

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2014, 09:57:19 pm »
oshstencils.com is pretty great.

I use them but there are plastic only.
 

Offline kony

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2014, 01:17:54 pm »
I have recently asked Elecrow, if they could deliver lasercut stainless stencils without a frame (due to shipping weight) - and sure enough, they now offer it:

http://www.elecrow.com/services-c-73/pcb-fabricate-service-c-73_116/laser-cut-pcb-stencil-service-without-frame-p-869.html

Really good price, if you consider that you don't have to pay separate shipping for stencil and PCBs.
 

Offline scientist

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2014, 03:08:17 pm »
What's wrong with kapton stencils?
 

Offline zapta

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2014, 03:17:37 pm »
What's wrong with kapton stencils?

Stainless steel are easier to work with and they last longer.
 

Offline DerekG

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2014, 01:40:15 am »
Stainless steel (stencils) are easier to work with and they last longer.

Yes, SS stencils sit hard against the panel & have sharper corners so the end paste screeding is more accurate.

Plastic stencils save time during prototyping (versus no stencil) but SS stencils certainly save lots of time and hassles when mass producing boards.

Brass screens are quite OK (in fact they are a bit easier to work with than SS). They just don't last as long as stainless steel.
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Offline scientist

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2014, 08:41:23 pm »
Makes sense.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2014, 05:36:00 pm »
After reading the recommendation here I ordered a stencil from sitopway it it went well. 60mm x 60mm board with SMD 0.5mm pitch (LTC2943). The stencil was 15cm x 25 cm 5mil frameless and cost 20$ + 20$ DHL shipping to the US. It arrived ~5-6 days after I ordered (very good) but I don't remember the exact date.  The process was like that, I purchased the 5$ entry on ebay, then sent sitop my gerber file, then they send me a quote and a paypal invoice for the difference (35$ in my case).

I my case I don't need a larger stencil with fiduciary holes so I cut it myself about 1" around the holes. Later I asked sitopway (Tony) and they agree to cut it themselves for future order (they have a laser cutter so can do much better job than my home scissors). This will also keep the stencil version labeling on the stencil rather than in the trash bin.

The stencil was good quality and the holes are better defined that the plastic stencils I used so far. My cheap caliper measures the thickness as 5.5 mils vs. 5mil for a PCB Pool stencil I had but this is within the error margin of the caliper (it has 0.5 mil resolution, not 0.1).

One interesting point is that sitopway actually changed the design of my stencil. For example, I have a ~10mm square hole for the tab of a TO263 package and they changed it to have a grid of smaller holes. For the 1206 holes, they added a small notch and they opened holes for micro USB connectors tab I defined as TH pads rather than SMD pads. This is a very gutsy move on their part but it worked very well for me so I am actually appreciating their expertise.

Overall very good vendor and I am most likely to stick with them, except if I will find a cheaper SS vendor (with the same short turnaround and shipping time) with online ordering form and ability to specify margin around the holes (oshstencils satisfies all the points except for the SS).

 

Offline mrpacketheadTopic starter

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2014, 09:41:07 pm »
After reading the recommendation here I ordered a stencil from sitopway it it went well. 60mm x 60mm board with SMD 0.5mm pitch (LTC2943). The stencil was 15cm x 25 cm 5mil frameless and cost 20$ + 20$ DHL shipping to the US. It arrived ~5-6 days after I ordered (very good) but I don't remember the exact date.  The process was like that, I purchased the 5$ entry on ebay, then sent sitop my gerber file, then they send me a quote and a paypal invoice for the difference (35$ in my case).

I my case I don't need a larger stencil with fiduciary holes so I cut it myself about 1" around the holes. Later I asked sitopway (Tony) and they agree to cut it themselves for future order (they have a laser cutter so can do much better job than my home scissors). This will also keep the stencil version labeling on the stencil rather than in the trash bin.

The stencil was good quality and the holes are better defined that the plastic stencils I used so far. My cheap caliper measures the thickness as 5.5 mils vs. 5mil for a PCB Pool stencil I had but this is within the error margin of the caliper (it has 0.5 mil resolution, not 0.1).

One interesting point is that sitopway actually changed the design of my stencil. For example, I have a ~10mm square hole for the tab of a TO263 package and they changed it to have a grid of smaller holes. For the 1206 holes, they added a small notch and they opened holes for micro USB connectors tab I defined as TH pads rather than SMD pads. This is a very gutsy move on their part but it worked very well for me so I am actually appreciating their expertise.

Overall very good vendor and I am most likely to stick with them, except if I will find a cheaper SS vendor (with the same short turnaround and shipping time) with online ordering form and ability to specify margin around the holes (oshstencils satisfies all the points except for the SS).

Yeah, they did the same for me.    Lucky it worked.   Subsequently, i've asked them not to do this, and it was ok.     My delivery has been about 3 days from shipping, so all pretty good.

I'm working with some really fine pitched stuff, and using the plastic cut stencils just wasn't doing it.   

They will also let you stack up stencils on the same material , if you just merge your gerebers, and send as one. 


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Offline zapta

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2014, 12:24:16 am »
They will also let you stack up stencils on the same material , if you just merge your gerebers, and send as one.

That's a good idea. How do you merge gerbers?
 

Offline mrpacketheadTopic starter

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2014, 01:02:30 am »
I use altium to do it, inside camtastic.
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Offline VEGETA

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2014, 06:08:57 pm »
Hi, sorry for entering the thread so late. I'd like to ask about PCB assembly. Manufacturing the Stencil is the big initial cost right? how much can it take roughly? So If I ordered a stencil via services mentioned here, then I can just ship it to the manufacturer then he just program his machine...? Is this the best way to do it to save cost?

Then, he can re-ship me the stencil with the board so I can use it again with him or other manufacturers in the future... is that right?

I ask this because I am confused, some say SMT PCB manufacture and assembly cost low, other say it costs thousands of dollars.

I hope you can help inform me.

Offline alank2

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2015, 08:41:07 pm »
So has anyone ordered from elecrow?  It looks like they have a basic one for $16 that is SS which is about the same price as oshstencils for non metal...
 

Offline zapta

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2015, 12:15:31 am »
So has anyone ordered from elecrow?  It looks like they have a basic one for $16 that is SS which is about the same price as oshstencils for non metal...

I ordered from them a few times. They are better quality than oshstencils' Mylar ones and work for me well. Do they say they are SS? Not all metal stencils are SS, especially not the least expensive ones.
 

Offline kony

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2015, 04:19:56 pm »
Yes, they are.
 

Online Muxr

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2015, 03:36:06 am »
I just received a stainless steel stencil and a 10 board proto pack for a project I am working on from DirtyPCBs. $50 total with shipping. This is my 3rd order from them in the past 3 months. And I must say I am really impressed. PCB quality is excellent as well.

OshPark has been really slow for me for the past few orders. I keep thinking it should be faster than a service in China, but it really isn't. DirtyPCBs consistently ship out faster. I have an order with OshPark currently that I have placed 15 days ago and it's still being processed. I think I am going to stop using them.
 

Offline mrpacketheadTopic starter

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2015, 01:36:46 am »
Im buying my production Stencils from Sitopway now as well,    i have quikframe stencils, so they are frameless.      The are doign a great job. 

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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2015, 06:15:56 pm »
Im buying my production Stencils from Sitopway now as well,    i have quikframe stencils, so they are frameless.      The are doign a great job.

Is 'Quickframe' the name of the frame you put your foils on? I have been looking at frameless but don't know what to look for. Some of them are fairly expensive so I would not want to make a poor choice.

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Offline mrpacketheadTopic starter

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2015, 12:26:07 am »
QuikFrame makes the stencil holder..  I think its also known as a universal stencil.

http://www.quickstencil.com/proframe1217.aspx

Attached is a gerber file of the outline i use.  Its worked well for me.



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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Good and Low Cost Prototype Stencils.
« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2015, 01:20:55 am »
QuikFrame makes the stencil holder..  I think its also known as a universal stencil.

http://www.quickstencil.com/proframe1217.aspx

Attached is a gerber file of the outline i use.  Its worked well for me.

That is much lower cost than others I looked at. Glad to know it works.\
Thanks for the data!
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