The Four Best Techniques for Solder Mask Removal

Based on an original publication by CircuitMedic.

What steps should you take when test points, ground pads or a component footprint has been accidentally covered with solder mask? Grinding, scraping, milling, micro blasting and chemical stripping are all viable and safe alternatives. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and several factors must be considered in determining the best technique.

Grinding and Scraping

The most basic removal method, grinding and scraping involves the use of a scraper, knife or pick and a bit of elbow grease from a skilled technician who can control the technique. While special setup is unnecessary, the potential for fatigue can impact large projects and the use of mechanical erasers may be necessary to expedite the process. Generally employed when removing a thin layer of solder mask, this is a controlled technique which may be used together with other methods.

 

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