FEATURE REQUEST: Transparent solder mask or no solder mask

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FEATURE REQUEST: Transparent solder mask or no solder mask

Postby GroovyDrifter » Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:46 am

I've seen that there are already some chinese PCB houses offering the no solder mask option, but a transparent solder mask will be much better if is possible, as the no solder mask option can cause problems on SMD boards. This will not only give the boards a "vintage" look but also will be very helpful for early prototypes.
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Re: FEATURE REQUEST: Transparent solder mask or no solder ma

Postby Sjaak » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:36 pm

If you send in an empty soldermask you got what you want..

Dunno how you do this in Kicad, but in Eagle it is a matter of not selecting any layer in the gerber generation process.
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Re: FEATURE REQUEST: Transparent solder mask or no solder ma

Postby eauth » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:10 am

GroovyDrifter wrote:I've seen that there are already some chinese PCB houses offering the no solder mask option, but a transparent solder mask will be much better if is possible, as the no solder mask option can cause problems on SMD boards. This will not only give the boards a "vintage" look but also will be very helpful for early prototypes.


I can't get your point. Technically, there is no difference between a "normal" solder mask and a transparent solder mask, some board houses offer transparent solder resist on black PCBs. Why should that be more helpful for prototypes?
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Re: FEATURE REQUEST: Transparent solder mask or no solder ma

Postby GroovyDrifter » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:11 pm

Oh, it's just easier to see through transparent solder mask than any colour one, almost impossible on white or black solder mask. Transparent solder mask can add an extra visibility for trying fixes to bad designs. No solder mask at all makes it even easier, but can make very difficult to hand solder SMD chips. But my main interest is for the vintage look, helpfulness of a transparent solder mask for early prototypes is just an idea of why others may want it.

Anyway it is an option that some pcb houses offer, if the PCB manufacturer can do it I can't see why not have it, and if they can't there is no more space to discussion, I can live without it :-).

No solder mask is easy to do in Kicad, you just draw a filled box or shape over the complete board on the solder mask layer(s) you want to remove. This way you can afterwards panelize no solder mask boards with solder mask ones.
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Re: FEATURE REQUEST: Transparent solder mask or no solder ma

Postby eauth » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:48 pm

Oh, it's just easier to see through transparent solder mask than any colour one, almost impossible on white or black solder mask. Transparent solder mask can add an extra visibility for trying fixes to bad designs.

Aaah, I understand. I have never had the pleasure to try transparent solder mask, but I still found it rather easy to figure out the traces with "normal" (green or red) solder mask.

No solder mask is easy to do in Kicad, you just draw a filled box or shape over the complete board on the solder mask layer(s) you want to remove. This way you can afterwards panelize no solder mask boards with solder mask ones.

In Eagle, you can draw a rectangle in the tStop/bStop layer over the complete board to keep it free from solder resist. If you just leave out the solder mask layer from the gerber data, it might not be clear for the board house that you want no solder mask, and you might get it completely covered with solder resist instead.
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