Microfluidics support plate machined from acrylic using a DATRON high speed CNC milling machine with vacuum table workholding

Step Stencil Process


Why is the demand for step stencils increasing? Because electro-mechanical components including Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) are getting smaller and smaller. Step stencils provide added flexibility by helping to regulate solder paste height and volume for paste printing.


When manufacturing highly complex step stencils, the focus is on achieving the best production quality while saving time and obtaining a damage and residue-free stencil underside. The use of DATRON’s high speed machining technology augments laser and etching procedures to yield a perfectly reproducible quality, despite material tolerances. This is achieved by using DATRON’s special sensors and DATRON’s vacuum clamping technology with micro-perforations. Benefits of high speed machining in the step stencil process are as follows:


  • Excellent time-saving: Pockets do not need to be lasered in time-consuming processes
  • No variations in the removal rate and no thermal degradation of the material structure
  • Absolute and constant accuracy in rapid removal of the circuit board material
  • Development of a special DATRON vacuum clamping system with micro-perforations (damage and residue-free stencil underside)

DATRON high speed CNC machining centers offer the following advantages for the step stencil process:


  • High Speed Spindles (up to 60,000 RPM) - The high spindle speed reduces the chip load which reduces the forces between the tool and the material. High-speed/low-force machining yields less heat, reduces tool deflection, and allows machining of thinner walled work pieces. This all results in cooler machining, superior surface quality and better accuracy.
  • Spray-Mist Coolant System - The spray-mist coolant system minimizes the time consuming and expensive maintenance issues associated with flood-type coolant systems. It is a highly-effective method of cooling and can reduce or even eliminate degreasing and disposal costs.
  • Probing / Surface Scanning - scans surface, recognizes irregular work-piece topography and compensates for it dynamically
  • Automatic Tool Changer - up to 45 tool stations depending on machine model, includes tool-length and breakage detection
  • Vacuum Table Workholding - vacuum tables from 12" x 18" up to 24" x 36" provide quick setup of sheet material


LEARN MORE: View our Step Stencil Showcase (at the bottom of the page) and download our Step StencilCase Study (below):

DATRON Step Stencil Process brochure detailing the use of CNC milling machines for step stencil processStep Stencil Brochure



Milling machines for step stencil process - M10Pro and MLCube (see page bottom for reasons).


Do you have anstep stencil application?

Part of our sales process is to qualify our equipment for your application. We have a staff of product specialists and application engineers who can help to address your specific challenges.


Use the FORM (right) to initiate a conversation.


Or call us at 888.262.2833

Contact Us About Milling for the Step Stencil Process:

Step Stencil Process Showcase (Sample Photos):

Click on thumbnail to enlarge and then scroll through gallery:



Milling Machines for Step Stencil Process:
While all DATRON milling machines are capable of performing machining functions for step stencil production, one machine model has been specifically configured for step stencil milling applications. Due to accuracy aided by linear scales, the DATRON M10 Pro is the ideal machine for step stencil production.

The M10Pro is our fastest and most precise CNC machining center. It features a 41" x 35" bed. Its solid granite machining table adds rigidity and accuracy. HSK-25E tool holders yield less than 3 micron runout. All of this adds up to mirror-like surface finishes.

Now, if an extremely large work area is required, the MLCube features a 60" x 40" work area. This can also benefit manufacturers who require larger step stencils or batches of step stencils. Due to features like automatic tool change, batch machining can be run unattended or during lights-out production as a means of cost reduction.