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SMD Stencils

G'day One and All,

Just received my kit last night and all assembled and tested, Whoot!.

Before I start experimenting and instead of reinventing the wheel has anyone used the emblaser to cut smd stencils? Previously I send my files away to get cut, now would like to do myself.

I've yet to play around with the supplied software, however a little bit of research online looks like raster seems to give better results with traditional CO2 cutters, so would be interested to hear if anyones tried, having success / failures, what settings/workflow, materials tried etc?

I'm assuming that I need to use PicLaser-Lite to do raster? or does the Cut2D software do as well?

Regards,

Stephen..

Comments

  • Hi Stephen,

    Can you post a sample pic of what you are intending to cut. It will help us give you a better idea on how we would approach the task. An idea of the scale of detail will also help.

    Basically, if you are after absolute accuracy with stencil edges which include small/fine detail, then vector cutting is usually the way to go. This is because you are directing the laser to cut exactly where you want it to.

    Rasterising the stencil is passing it through another process of conversion. It is taking pixel information and determining laser power. I can see that there could be slight deviations at the pixel transitions, especially if the image contains some anti-aliased pixels.

  • I have been having some limited success last night with. Currently just using Cut2D and importing PDF printed from Kicads Gerber viewer of the paste layer, currently i'm trying to get correct right speeds/power/focus correct.

    I'm using overhead projection transparencies found at local Office Works, while I'm getting fairly clean cuts with test images, now trying to get the same with the SMD mask for some different footprints.

    Yes vector cutting does work to an extent, however leaves some raised edges and currently I've not got the power/speed levels dialled in so not their yet, but reading around on the blogs these been some success with rasterising the masks for CO2 such as outlined here.

    https://lowpowerlab.com/blog/2015/03/27/laser-etching-smt-stencils-tutorial/

    From my experiments last night with Cut2D the raster(fill) option only does per shape not across the whole cut area, and it also does a vector edge. I will have a play with the demo version of pic engrave lite to see how that goes just using it as on/off as don't need any grey scale. I make just write something in Python to convert the gerber directly to gcode do what I need but I don't want to re-invent the wheel just yet.

    Anyway have only played around with this last night using Cut2D and have plenty more options to try out and optimistic I'll get it up and running as there are plenty of others using these type of Laser heads to do what I need want, just need to get familiar with the Emblazer and what it can do and get power levels dialled in :) Will post my progress and findings here as I get time.

    Stephen...
  • Hi Stephen,

    With PicEdit Lite you can Dither an image B&W and PicLaser Lite will just generate on/off commands. PicFRC will add a percentage feedrate of full so in Black areas it will slow to burn and then in white areas speed up to full again. This rastering process is demonstrated in my thread here to engrave a line clip art image of a generator.

    http://forum.darklylabs.com/index.php?p=/discussion/241/free-picfrc-licenses-given-away#latest
  • Hi Stephen,

    I have been using a Cricut Explore to cut such material.

    Regards,

    Arne
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