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Stencils - Ding and Dent

When you turn out as many widgets as we do, it isn't long before you end up with piles of worn out solder paste stencils. And when you're surrounded by used metal stencils, you start to find creative uses for them. After all, even after they've been rendered useless as a stencil, they're still perfectly good scraps of sheet metal. Some uses are practical: like using them as thermal shielding for hot air rework or using them to mask around smaller stencils; Some are less practical like polishing it up to use as a mirror... a really bad mirror, or trying to fold them into sheet-metal origami.

Aside from the various utilitarian ways in which these can be re-purposed, they also make cool design pieces for various kinds of art. Paint through them for geeky patterns, make them into lampshades or just frame them for some nerdy interior decorating. We have some of our favorites back-lit in a shadowbox and it definitely has a unique vibe.

Note: Because these are just scrap material we can't control what size stencil you're going to get. Some are as small as 2x2" while others are bigger than a sheet of copy paper. You will get ONE stencil. What size you get is just the luck of the draw. If you don't feel lucky, move along.


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  • These would make for some sweet lamp shades (tosses planetarium lamp in the trash). Just sayin'

  • Has anyone looked at the price of Stainless lately? Scrap or new , this is a good price for the material alone.

  • Re-use is better than re-cycle.

    • Depends on the metric.. e.g. for the 'green' bit dragonet mentioned;
      Not if recyling means it travels a few miles at most to the nearest scrap metal place, where it gets lumped in with tons of other scrap metal for processing - as opposed to individual handling of the sheets, boxing, mailing (being deliver by van or van + plane + van), etc. required for re-use within this context.
      Of course if the metric is making people happy with random solder masks, then recyling would make very few people, if any, happy indeed - so re-use wins out there.

  • What's the thickness of those stencils? I'm thinking about ordering some for a project where I need flat mechanical parts and I was wondering if I would get a constant thickness or not.

  • $1.95 for scrap you don't even know what you're gonna gate?? worst product ever. it's almost insulting.

    • Eh.. I placed a $150-odd order a few days ago.. if this had been available at the time, I might have thrown one in and see what I could do with it.. perhaps figure out what product it goes with, grab the eagle files, print that out, stick this behind, wrap them around a lamp (old bicycle lamp if it ended up being a small sheet) and voila - very nerdy lampshade.

    • Yeah, really! "Oh, I have some garbage that's worthless to me, so let's sell it for MONEY to our customers!" I appreciate the fact that some people may have a use for these, but the way Sparkfun charges you to take their garbage is just... I don't have a word for it. It is somewhat insulting in a way.

      • the way Sparkfun charges you to take their garbage is just
        They only charge you if you actually add it to your order, y'know :) I'm sure that if they don't sell, they'll just send (most of) 'm out for scrap metal. But then I'm sure people would complain that they wouldn't just have made these available for $0. SFE is a commercial business, after all.
        Besides, where would you draw the line? What other ding-and-dent products shouldn't have seen the light of day?

  • I just ordered a couple of these, to see what they are like. I was really surprised at how much I learned from the Scrap PCB's that are also available in this category. Just seeing how V-Scoring was actually done and how useful it could be influenced how I lay out my own Circuit boards. Who know what additional insight I'll get from these.

  • I WANTS DIS!!!

  • just did my first hot air smd solder with one of these guys, pretty cool.

  • Really surprised that no one has jumped on this yet.

  • I use to have a lamp when I was younger that someone made from them. Easy to make just bend them into a cylinder or put two back to back and rivet them and then bend into a cylinder. You need to make a cap for the top or leave it open. Put a blub on the inside and watch the awesome patterns it makes on the walls. I think it would be awesome to make some hanging/swag lamps like that for a local hackerspace lounge.

  • If that's metal sheet, why do not send to a recycling factory? I like to see Sparkfun on "open source" but also on "green". Let's recycle!

  • Is this a joke or who ever is suppose to take the garbage out decided to make some extra money?! Also, ASCII version? Yeah, you guys are making the new web standards...

    • I think you're misunderstanding the point of the 'Dings and Dents' category of products. This is where they put things that would have otherwise ended up in the garbage. Maybe it's not useful to you, but it could be useful to someone else.

    • One man's garbage is another man's treasure!

      • I agree, it is all a matter of opinion. There are plenty of products that are sold by Sparkfun that are better than others, in my opinion. If I truly think one is better I buy it, if I can't find any use for it I don't buy it. But I definitely don't cry about it like a little girl.

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