With a few pieces of machinery, you can make your very own solder paste stencils to aid in surface-mount soldering.
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In case you haven't noticed, we love to promote soldering here at SparkFun. Whether you're a complete newbie or a seasoned vet, we enjoy giving people the tools and know-how to solder whatever their heart desires. With that said, we have a new tutorial to help encourage even more people to pick up soldering, in this case, surface-mount soldering, as a new skill or hobby. Paul, our mechanical engineer, has taken a shining to creating his own electronics projects.
Along the way, he has dabbled with many methods for creating such projects. He also has used his knowledge of mechanics to aid him in pursuing the unknown. In this tutorial, he shows you how to make your own stencil for surface-mount soldering with a vinyl plotting cutter using only the Eagle files for your board. He takes you through the entire process, from creating a board to building it with your newly created stencil. If you're looking to do small scale production runs of your own printed circuit boards, this is one tutorial you don't want to miss.