iTead Chemical Etch Stencil

Hi All,

Just wanted to report on my latest iTead/iMall acquisition, a stainless stencil to accompany two boards I was ordering also. The stencil came mounted on a (welded!) sturdy Al frame and nicely sealed against the edges (white rubber cement and Al-Tape on the other side). I simultaneously ordered two 10x10cm boards and asked them to merge the two top pad layer Gerbers into one stencil, as the allowable area is 20x10cm, i.e. perfect for this application.

I am very grateful to iTead, which did the merge and also sent me a confirmation PDF. The stencil came with the boards, all are beautiful. The stencil is the ‘chemical etch’ kind, i.e. the one advertised for products that do not require a fine pitch, while the laser stencil is advertised for high-precision applications. FWIW, one of the parts on the stencil is a 28-pin TSSOP, and the holes are perfect (0.65mm pitch).

While this service is not nearly as quick as Pololu can be with its laser-cut Mylar stencils, the price (if you buy a 20x30cm stencil for two 10x10cm parts at a time) is virtually the same. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy with Pololu and its stencil service - I recommend it to everyone - but iTead has just given me a very good reason to send them my stencil as well as my PCB business.

FWIW, packaging was a sturdy cardboard box and shipping to NA using DHL was $28, IIRC.