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PCB Prototype the Easy Way

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PCB Silkscreen

The silkscreen layer is the top layer of the PCB and serves as a reference indicator for placing components on the PCB. The graphics and text on PCB a circuit board is usually printed with a permanent non-conductive epoxy ink. The color is typically white, although other colors are also available. 

Screen printing is used to specify useful information on the PCB board, which can help users during the assembly. It is used to mark component values, part numbers, test points, polarity, etc.

The problems related to the material of silkscreen are rarely occurred, except maybe some discoloration after high PCB reflow temperatures for RoHS compliant soldering. Silkscreen problems are always caused by the design of the PCB. So the following part will take some time to mention a few guidelines of the silkscreen design.

silkscreen.jpg

If silkscreen epoxy is printed over lands PCB or pads that will be soldered, it will melt into the solder joint during reflow and weaken the attachment. Therefore, silkscreen should always be printed on top of the mask material and never over solderable surfaces. Many CAD systems can clip the silkscreen away from exposed metal, but when creating library components be sure to keep the component outlines and polarity marks away from the pins (0.25mm) by default, and pay attention when moving or rotating reference designators or when adding text to PCB the final board design.

The width of silkscreen graphics can also be a problem. If too thin, we will have problems in the screening or printing process and skips can occur. If too thick, the text may be too blurry to read. As components get smaller in size and circuit density continues to increase, it is sometimes very difficult to print silkscreen at all, but try to use line widths not less than 0.15 mm (6 mils), 0.18 mm to 0.20 mm is preferred PCB.

Solder pads should never be overprinted, because this may lead to problems during soldering, assembly, and with the E-Test. If we should detect an overprinted solder pad (spacing < 150μm), then Multi-CB reserves the right to remove the marking print at this location. Relevant for the definition of the solder pads is the solder pad exemption. The marking print is usually automatically clipped with a spacing of 100μm to the solder-stop edge.

pcb_marking_print_right.jpg

The spacing between solder pad and marking print should be at least 150μm.

Always avoid overprinting solder pads!

Silk screen printing method
silk_screen.pngproductivityFor high / mass production
Material costCheap
Coating thicknessIt is relatively thick, but it gets scattered
ResolutionBleeding occurred
Silk colorWhite, black, yellow

It is a printing method using a plate material with chemical fibers in a mesh form. By rubbing ink with a squeegee, ink is pushed out between the meshes and printed on the board. For silk printing of printed circuit boards, it is a general construction method.


Inkjet method
silk_inc.pngproductivityLow
Material costExpensive
Coating thicknessIt is thicker but different
Resolutiongood
Silk colorWhite / Black

This is a printing method that absorbs ink by directly spraying onto a substrate. This is an environmentally friendly method because no sheets or films are used. The print resolution is higher than "screen printing". Inkjet white inks may have a slightly milky "milky" appearance.


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