An Unanswered Question
I've been reading through my Virtual-PCB chat session transcript from yesterday. It was a fun session and I have a much better idea of how the virtual shows work now. I think I may just be getting it.
The chat session had a lot of interesting questions and dialog. I did notice, however, that I missed one question and thus didn't answer it. Oops.
Owen asked if I am of the opinion that all footprints should have rounded pads (probably stencil cutouts too) to help with paste release. Sorry I missed your question.
I'm not of that opinion. There are a lot of factors that come out of stencil decisions. Paste release is one of them. There are others, some more important. For example, the shape of a pad and stencil cut out can either encourage or discourage solder balls. The size of the opening can put too much or too little paste on the pad. Wide open cut-outs over heat slugs can cause float.
The pads themselves, should follow the part manufacturers recommendation for shape and size. Most are rectangular. BGAs have round pads. Unless you have a very good and very specific reason, I would not deviate far from the part manufacturer's recommended footprint.
Some of the factors that influence paste release are the stencil thickness, whether it's polished or not, the angle of the cut, ratio of thickness to width and paste properties. How long the paste has been exposed to air as well as the room's temperature and humidity can also have an impact. Lot's of permutations.
If you're reading this Owen, Sorry I missed your question in the chat. I hope this answers it for you.
If it's going to the EU, make sure it's peanut butter free.