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84 SMT Magazine • June 2014 by Rachel Miller-Short THe SHORT SCOOP CoLuMn Selecting a Stencil Frame If you have been following our Short Scoop series, you will recall that we have focused on different types of stencils and their applications and what to look for when selecting a stencil. We talked about the importance of the blade in the printing process, various stencil fabrication techniques, and specialty coatings that drive paste release, particularly for fine pitch compo- nents. Another part of stencil selection that is often overlooked, but that is also quite neces- sary, is the selection of the frame. This month's Short Scoop talks about the stencil frame and some of the options to consider when specify- ing the frame required for your printing process and needs. What is a Frame? For a stencil, the frame primarily provides a rigid support structure that allows the stencil to be used with your printing equipment. Without the frame, the stencil is no more than a thin foil with limited use due to the flexure of the sten- cil when left unsupported. The frame enables the foil to be stretched taut so that the stencil

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