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 Post subject: How do i make certain tracks soldered rather than painted
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2010, 00:32 
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Joined: 16 Jul 2010, 00:56
Posts: 39
Hi,
I am wondering, I have a pcb I made up and while most of the tracks turned out fine, on the sample boards I got, the thickest tracks i had planned to solder (so they can carry more current), but on th boards I got its painted over with that green stuff that covers the tracks and so I have to scrape it off to solder to the track.

How do i make the pcb so that the tracks have solder on them rather than painted over?

Thanks for any help or advice!


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 Post subject: Re: How do i make certain tracks soldered rather than painte
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2010, 00:54 
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Joined: 19 Jul 2010, 16:33
Posts: 126
I think you want to make a pattern in the top mask to cover the area you don't want solder mask on if the trace is on the top. It's bottom mask for a bottom trace.


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 Post subject: Re: How do i make certain tracks soldered rather than painte
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2010, 02:22 
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Joined: 16 Jul 2010, 00:56
Posts: 39
Yes, but how? Do I use the place shape and follow the pcb track intricately? or can i just create a larger mask shape that covers the tracks and hope the rest of the applied solder falls off that isn't on the copper?


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 Post subject: Re: How do i make certain tracks soldered rather than painte
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2010, 02:37 
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Joined: 19 Jul 2010, 16:33
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bytraper wrote:
Yes, but how? Do I use the place shape?


I would use the tools on the drawing toolbar. To see where that is, you can toggle it on and off with F8 in PCB Layout. You may be able to use the thing on the Objects>Place Shape, but the toolbar is handy. Plus it has the drop down list to let you specify what layer you are working on.


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 Post subject: Re: How do i make certain tracks soldered rather than painte
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2010, 03:14 
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Joined: 16 Jul 2010, 00:56
Posts: 39
Thanks Tinker, I think I've got it, just apply the mask to cover everything except the pads!


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 Post subject: Re: How do i make certain tracks soldered rather than painte
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2010, 08:29 
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Joined: 22 Jul 2010, 13:43
Posts: 41
In general..adding solder to a trace is not a good reliable way to increase the current carrying ability. You should simply use a wider trace or use a laminate with a thicker copper cladding. Your application of solder will not be precise and repeatable enough in my opinion.
Having said that....Will it work?..sure for a home/one off project...Would I do it for a commercial product?..no way
I have seen a product where an additional strip of copper was soldered to a trace to increase capacity though.


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 Post subject: Re: How do i make certain tracks soldered rather than painte
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2010, 12:05 
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Joined: 19 Jul 2010, 16:33
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bytraper wrote:
Thanks Tinker, I think I've got it, just apply the mask to cover everything except the pads!


Pads are by default automatically entered into the mask layers to prevent them from being covered with solder mask, but it should not matter if your masking shapes cover some pads. In other words, you should not have to worry about being precise with the margins of your shapes at the pads.


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 Post subject: Re: How do i make certain tracks soldered rather than painte
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2010, 17:20 
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Joined: 16 Jul 2010, 00:56
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Thanks guys, that helps a lot.

The reason i want it solder masked is because I want to run a length of tinned copper wire down the traces to increase the current load so as not to stress the board. The tracks are already quite thick, but I figured an additional piece of wire wouldn't hurt when it came to carrying the large currents.


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 Post subject: Re: How do i make certain tracks soldered rather than painte
PostPosted: 04 Aug 2010, 08:44 
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Joined: 14 Jun 2010, 06:43
Posts: 2760
Create filled shapes on solder mask layer over traces, that you want to open from mask.
Do not create shapes for pads, solder mask openings will be created automatically when you export Gerber files.


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 Post subject: Re: How do i make certain tracks soldered rather than painte
PostPosted: 05 Aug 2010, 15:58 
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Joined: 16 Jun 2010, 15:44
Posts: 39
Hi Bytraper,

I think a good, and relatively easy, solution would be to place thru-hole pads at both ends of the trace and simply insert a wire jumper of what-ever gauge wire you think necessary. You do not need to solder the entire length of the wire to the trace.


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