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Solder mask solvent?

Discussion in 'Misc Electronics' started by Neil Preston, Nov 28, 2003.

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  1. Neil Preston

    Neil Preston Guest

    Is there any suitable method of dissolving the green solder mask found on
    most PC boards?

    A cc: would be appreciated: npreston at swbell dot net

    Thank you....
  2. Acetone will do.

  3. Ross Mac

    Ross Mac Guest

    Hi Neil,
    To my knowledge, there is nothing chemical that will remove soldermask and
    leave the board usable....I am assuming it is epoxy based???
    If you have a number of expensive circuit boards that need it removed, your
    only recourse would be to find a circuit board company with a laser drill.
    They would be able to remove it cleanly. Hope that helps....Ross
  4. Ross,

    Think we're talking about different things. Never get a board in my hands
    having a green soldermask that did not solve with acetone. Never saw the
    acetone affecting the epoxy either. Some component plastics or printing may
    be affected however.

  5. Ross Mac

    Ross Mac Guest

    This comes from my 30 years around the PCB biz.....Ross
  6. Well Ross,

    You should have had more PCBs in your hands then I had. I remember too well
    the times I tried to clean PCBs with acetone and got the green laquer along
    with the dirt I want to remove. So I did not use acetone but ethanol (or
    WS11) ever since. Nevertheless, the next piece of PCB I got in my hands -
    some minutes ago - did *not* let its solder mask solve in acetone. So I
    think you are right and my response was based on the wrong experience. (Old
    experience although <30 years.) So sorry for the mistake and thanks for your

  7. Ross Mac

    Ross Mac Guest

    Hi Petrus....
    I have never used acetone to remove what they call soldermask on PCB's and
    it might remove it somewhat. In my experience in that biz was if we
    accidentally got it on the wrong area it could not be removed adequately to
    make the customer happy. When the laser drills showed up, someone came up
    with the idea to ablate soldermask. You just set the machine up to burn down
    to the foil. The C02 laser typically won't burn through copper so it's the
    perfect tool. They use these machines for drilling blind holes .004 and
    smaller at extremely high speeds. First they use a yag laser to drill
    through the copper, then they follow up with a C02 laser to cook the glass
    down to the next layer of copper. Then they fill the impression with
    electroless copper for a connection...
    In any event, this message got way off topic!!!....take care, Ross
  8. Neil Preston

    Neil Preston Guest

    Thanks for the replies, guys.

    I use acetone all the time to remove flux residue after soldering. Won't
    touch the soldermask they use nowadays.

    I do repair of pro audio equipment and often have to repair burnt or broken
    foil traces. So far the only thing I've been able to do is scrape it off or
    otherwise abrade it off. But I'd prefer not to abrade the copper. And
    sometimes the foils are difficult to get access to.

    Keep looking!

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