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76 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2022 I was recently asked to participate in a video interview to discuss the topic, "Who defines the solder mask clearance for a PCB design?" ough I'm not certain if the interview will be published, it is a fair topic to cover here as there are a few designer opinions I've come across which could use a little masking them- selves, as they appear to be uninformed and can come across as downright dictatorial. Aer spending a few years now as a captive PCB designer working within the walls of PCB fabrication and assembly, I am qualified to say that it takes exhaustive communication efforts to work with our manufacturing stake- Mandatory Masking Guidelines holders when a design does not allow for a manufacturer's unique manufacturing process capability. Solder Mask Printed board designs which move on to the component assembly phase include a coating of solder mask. It is oen referred to as solder resist. Many know it as "the green coating," though it can be procured in a variety of col- ors. is material serves a dual purpose. It pro- vides a coating which seals the exposed out- erlayer copper conductors, preventing them from becoming oxidized or contaminated. But Target Condition by Kelly Dack, CIT, CID+ Figure 1: Example of solder mask.

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