Soda pop can DIY solder paste stencil

Posted on Friday, February 8th, 2013 in DIY, Videos by DP

How to make solder paste stencils out of old soda pop cans. Applying the toner transfer method of etching and you can end up with a usable stencil.

Via Adafruit.

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14 Responses to “Soda pop can DIY solder paste stencil”

  1. Paul says:

    I always wondered – what’s this frenzy of paying dozens of dollars for stencils, if everyone already etches PCBs – just get a copper foil and etch it instead. Realworld-proofing this idea, I found that it’s easier to get brass or bronze “foil” than pure copper, both etch ok in FeCl3. My first try didn’t produce perfect stencil, but worked well enough, and there’s clearly room for improvement.

  2. Garrett says:

    Lol stencils aren’t used to etch boards, their used to apply solder paste in a very controlled way for SMT soldering…

  3. Garrett says:

    Besides copper’s expensive, especially compared to aluminum and stuff.

  4. Don’t knock can stock, Outside of aluminum for aviation it has some of the highest quality controls in the industry and the thinner the material is without inconsistencies the more money the manufacturer makes. I spent a little over a year working on a project to document the programs controlling the machines that made that material for Kaiser Aluminum.

  5. erdabyz says:

    I tried this, but for some reason spanish soda cans are made of steel D:

  6. Winston says:

    I just tried this using FeCl3 etchant instead of his HCl based one and it didn’t work. I investigated my hunch and confirmed that aluminum soda cans have a very, very thin plastic coating on their inside surface, at least in the US. His HCl etchant apparently eats through it.

  7. Winston says:

    US Pepsi One can walls are supposedly the thinnest. It’s easy to see when you’ve completely sanded through the internal transparent coating because the surface goes from slightly dull to shiny. The outside paint is obviously easy to determine when adequately removed. Sanded wall is 0.08 mm thick. Default masks are usually 0.1mm thick, so 0.08mm is close enough I’d guess.

    I will trying other bands shortly. Need to go buy them. ;-)

  8. Alistair Dickie says:

    I described a similar method to this on my blog last year. My preferred etchant is a mix of Phosphoric and Hydrochloric acids. I do toner transfer by printing on magazine paper and using a laminator (10 runs through it to really heat up the aluminium).

  9. Winston says:

    Yesterday, I successfully made a soda can stencil using saturated FeCl3 etchant and toner transfer. The stencil to be etched was taped to a disposable white foam food plate allowing light to shine from behind the stencil to show the etching progress, fully and partially etched-through holes showing up very clearly. I used the foam paintbrush wiping method of etching and needed to use only an amazingly tiny amount of etchant. FeCl3 is very aggressive on aluminum, so the etch took only a matter of minutes using room temperature etchant.

    Next time, rather than using continuous wipes as is necessary when etching copper, I’ll wipe once, wait for the bubbling on exposed aluminum to end, wipe again and so forth. This might reduced over-etching of holes. I might try a diluted FeCl3 solution, too.

  10. Winston says:

    Pepsi One is indeed the thinnest can material I found at 0.8mm. Others were 0.9mm.

  11. Winston says:

    I use the US$80 Apache AL13P Professional 13″ Wide 4 Roller Hot Laminator and love it. Perfect results every time.

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