PCB Assembly Services - Screaming Circuits: Mask Control


Mask Control

I wonder. Is solder mask difficult to control in most CAD packages? Or do we just not need to control it very often so we forget? Take this little footprint here. Oval pad It looks like someone just used a little flood fill to create the thermal pad rather than creating a new custom footprint. That would have been fine except that the flood fill area has solder mask on it.

In Eagle, if you want to keep the mask off of an area that would other wise have mask, you draw a polygon in layer 29, tStop (or 30 bStop for the bottom) over the are you want to keep mask off of. Not difficult, but not necessarily obvious either. With Sunstone PCB123, you pretty much do the same thing with the SS Top or SS Bottom layers. I don't know about any other packages, but I would guess it would be a similar approach.

Of course, just making the footprint with the library package editor would take care of it too, but sometimes it's just more expedient to take a footprint that's close and mod it up with a polygon or something similar.

Duane Benson
Is Oregon like a Polygon?
No, because it hasn't "gone" anywhere


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Altium designer (Protel) has explicit soldermask layers ("Top Solder" and "Bottom Solder").

The one thing to remember is most soldermask layers are negative, so your artwork on the layer reflects an *absence* of soldermask, rather than the presence of it.

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