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Easy-To-Make Metal Stencils At Home

By Don Wong

Soldering your PCB may be a bit of a problem if you don’t have a stencil on hand. It might be because you didn’t expect your PCB to go wonky or your neigborhood electronics store don’t have it. Fortunately, you could make one now from common household items. Read on to find out how you could go about it.

Get a piece of aluminum from an empty soda can. While it does have good shape memory, it is usually malleable, allowing you to unbend it and pound it flat. Sand the interior and external coating to a shiny, mirrorized appearance. Now prepare the pads and render it using CAD and a line of blueprint and document software that you’re comfortable to use. Save the file in the highest resolution then print it on a transparent paper, film or vinyl.

Now for the tricky part: transferring the outline to the stencil. Place the transparency film over the aluminum using a masking tape or sticky note. Switch on your cooktop and set it at medium temperature. Meanwhile, turn on the clothing iron at maximum temp. Now grab the assembled components, place it over the cook top and apply force on it using an iron for a minute. Dip it in cold water afterwards then peel off the outline. The transfer is good now and could be etched.

This stencil is comparable to those created by the LPKF company. It can also withstand the heat generated by your rework station without fail. While it does present some challenges, this could be fixed with enough soldering paste and you could be done with your soldering in 30 minutes tops.

Keep in mind though: spread a lot of soldering paste over the stencil to make it efficient during the reflow. Or else, expect bridges to form between pins. But, if you think about it, creating this metal stencil is surely worth the trouble. It gives impressive results just like laser-cut stainless ones without the heavy price tag.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Wong, Don "Easy-To-Make Metal Stencils At Home." Easy-To-Make Metal Stencils At Home. 9 Apr. 2013. 10 Mar 2015 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Wong, D (2013, April 9). Easy-To-Make Metal Stencils At Home. Retrieved March 10, 2015, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Wong, Don "Easy-To-Make Metal Stencils At Home"

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