Copper text on front of PCB -- how to remove solder mask

This is a beginner’s question. I just received my first PCB from the fab. All is good except all the tracks and all copper text are covered with solder mask. This was unexpected.

I want all traces and “copper text” (~unreadable) to be without any masking. Is there a global setting for no mask on copper tracks and text? Thanks

Al (Santa Clara, ca)

Any graphical entity placed on the solder mask layer has the effect of removing mask. So to have copper (actually the chosen finish, e.g. HASL) show put the same text on the solder mask layer too thus creating a text shaped “hole”.

Why do you not want mask over traces though? It’s a godsend against solder bridges.

Thanks. Seems a lot of work to define the text twice – errors creep in. Wonder if there is a better way?

I get your point about keeping the mask on the traces. Good point.

You could put the text on top of a copper fill region then you only need the “hole” in the mask.

Apparently Oshpark offers transparent solder mask for people nostalgic about seeing tracks.

Looks cool as hell, too. Introducing our “After Dark” black FR-4 service – OSH Park

I liked to use text opening in solder-mask but I had to define it only once - I had copper fill under that text and not the same shape at copper.
But when we send our PCBs to second contract manufacturer who preferred to use wave soldering such text openings in solder-mask became problematic - solder likes to pour over small holes, for example like in the letter ‘e’.
The other problem is that such small pieces of solder mask and not connected with the rest of solder mask (like the eye in letter ‘e’) can peel off and find plaques elsewhere with unpredictable consequences.

Wish I had known that before I started! I used OSH Park for my fab…

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