By understanding the manufacturing process you will be able design PCBs that can made more easily and cheaply. Designing boards that fit within industry standard specifications gives you two advantages: you keep down the cost of your end product, so that it will sell better; and you improve its long-term reliability, so that your customers will keep on coming back to you. And when you want to push the boundaries of technology (and who doesn’t?) you can sit down with your chosen board manufacturer and discuss your requirements knowing where he is coming from.
Eurocircuits – how to make a 4-layer PCB (full version) - [Link]
Dave tests the myth that plugging a PCB VIA with solder does nothing (or not much) to improve the current handling capability. Is manual wire feed-through any better?
EEVBlog #543 – PCB VIA Current Investigation - [Link]
DIY Goodies show us a way to make flat vias for your PCB projects. diygoodies.org.ua writes:
Catching up the development of printed circuit boards at home i often faced with the problem of “the bulbous” vias. Usually homemade double-layer boards soldering from both sides with the thin wire, the result usually satisfied but if you need to make VIA under the chip TQFP48, SOIC16 and that’s is a real problem, if contact is very bulbous it will be simply impossible cleanly solder chip as its legs will hang in the air.
DIY PCB with flat VIA’s - [Link]
cpeniche @ instructables.com writes:
This Instructable is about dry film solder mask, in other words, is the green stuff that is on top of the circuit board.
I like to use smd components in my circuits board because I don’t have a computerized drill machine and do in it by hand for a big
boards are really tedious.
Soldering smd components in a copper board without dry solder mask, especially for those little capacitors and resistor of 402 in size, becomes a tough challenge and of course those micro controllers with almost zero space between pins.
Dry Film Solder Mask - [Link]
cmiyc @ instructables.com writes:
Creating a solder paste stencil for a toaster reflow oven or hot plate is simple when you have access to a laser cutter. I used the Laser Cutter at my local TechShop to create this and other PCB stencils.
This Instructable assumes you have created a PCB and are able to generate the Gerber Files for it. Specific directions will be given for EAGLE, but other PCB software can be used. The board used in this example is an Arduino RTC Shield based on the DS3231. Follow the link for the EAGLE design files if you want to follow along.
Polyimide (Kapton) PCB Solder Paste Stencil - [Link]
alexglow @ instructables.com writes:
Note: By “beginner’s guide”, I mean a guide written by a beginner. (I made it at TechShop SF, during my first weeks!) I have some technique tips to share, but for more in-depth questions, Google is your friend.
Solder paste allows you to populate a board with many tiny components, without straining your eyes and fingers. Using minuscule components saves space, and you can dramatically cut down the space between them when you don’t have to solder every connection by hand.
Beginner’s Guide to Solder Paste - [Link]
steveastrouk @ instructables.com writes:
This is useful tip for anyone making or using surface mount components on PCBs. It relies on access to a laser cutter, so if you don’t have one, look away now….. I cut a plastic stencil on the laser, align it with the PCB pads and then squeegee a thin layer of solder paste through the holes. Peeling away the stencil will leave a perfect pattern of pads with the correct amount of solder on each one. I have just successfully used this process on components with a 0.025″ pitch (0.65mm) – that’s VERY small,
Soldering stencils for DIY circuit boards - [Link]
Jesus Echavarria @ jechavarria.com writes:
I develop this MCP23017 Brekout Board to interface a 2×16 LCD display with any microcontroller using a standard I2C bus. Typical 2×16 displays needs at least 6 lines to work (when working in 4-byte mode); in some cases, this will be prohibited for some microcontrollers. With this board, you can control it with only two lines (I2C bus) and, by the same price, obtain a few more IO’s. I use the MCP23017 I2C expander as a bridge. This integrated circuit provides 16 IO’s over a standard I2C bus. All the pins can configure as inputs or outputs independently, and supports high speed I2C (up to 1,7MHz). Also, this device has three hardware address pins that allow connecting up to 8 devices in the same bus. The rest of the features can be seen in the datasheet.
MCP23017 Brekout Board - [Link]
By: Alex Danovich,President San Francisco Circuits
We live in an exciting time where we see a resurgence in electronics as a hobby. Mass production has wiped out a generation or two of kids learning to build radios from scratch with their mom or dad. In the good old days, not sure when, you had companies like Heathkit walk you through building a full size color TV at home, for example. “Yes, I made that!” you’d proudly exclaim to yourself after hours of work.
What’s causing this hobbyist resurgence?
- Television shows such as How it’s Made, Mythbusters and other programming on TLC.
- Websites such as instructables.com, hackaday.com, and specialized hobbyist blogs.
- Interest in RC cars, robotics, gaming, computers etc.
- Advent of Arduino boards, modules and free software.
- Open source software/hardware.
- The whole maker movement in general.
So what does this have to do with making circuit boards? Read the rest of this entry »