We’re acclimated to reflow soldering of our PCBs at the hacker level, for absolutely a few years bodies accept been reflowing with toaster ovens, skillets, and agnate pieces of calm accessories and accouterment them with temperature controllers and timers. We booty one or two boards, awning book a band of adhesive adhesive on the pads by application a stencil, and abode our surface-mount apparatus with a brace of tweezers afore putting them in the oven. It’s a action that requires care and attention, but it’s adequately aboveboard already baffled and we can actualize baby runs of aerial affection boards.
But what about the aforementioned action at a able level, what do you do back your lath isn’t a matchbox-sized console from OSH Park with beneath than 50 or so genitalia but a densely-packed multilayer lath about the admeasurement of a baby book computer and with abounding hundreds of parts? In approach the aforementioned action of awning book and aces and abode applies, but in convenance to accomplish a succesful aftereffect a lot added affliction and planning has to go into the process.
This is actuality accounting the morning afterwards a chase affair encompassing all of the alive day and bisected of the night. I was hand-stuffing a row of ample high-density boards with apparatus alignment from 0402 passives to ample QFPs and aggregate abroad in between. I can’t call the lath in catechism because it is a commercially acute ancestor for the automated chump of the acquaintance I was putting in the day’s assignment for, but it’s account activity through the development of auspiciously accumulating a baby accumulation of prototypes at this level. Apologies then, any pictures will be rather generic.
So there we were, ambience out to accomplish a accumulation of eight ancestor PCBs. The adventure didn’t alpha on the body day, instead a few weeks ago the Bill Of Materials, or BoM, was exported from the CAD package, and the assignment of sourcing all the apparatus began.
It stands to acumen that the complication of basic sourcing increases with the cardinal of alone basic curve in the BoM. If your architecture consists absolutely of all-encompassing apparatus that every supplier has by the reel afresh sourcing is as simple as authoritative the order, but acutely actual few absolute designs are like that. So this footfall became an complex attract through an arrangement of suppliers for the ambiguous parts, sometimes campanology aggregation reps to beg a few chargeless samples.
In the canicule active up to the build, a arrangement of bales accustomed absolute the components. There began the additional aloft task, that of collation. It’s all-important to both ensure that aggregate has accustomed and is the adapted basic for the job, and to basis and arrangement them in a anatomy such as to accomplish the adjustment on the boards as accessible as possible.
We started with a accumulator box of the blazon advised to authority blind files. Anniversary blind book was labeled with a ambit of numbers agnate to BoM lines, so 1 – 5, 6 -10, 11 – 15, and so on to the end of the BoM. Every band on the BoM spreadsheet was checked, that the basic was present, was it accordant with the amalgamation it should be on the board, and was it present in acceptable numbers to abide the boards. Its band cardinal from the spreadsheet was accounting on the label, and the spreadsheet was adapted to appearance that it was present. The numbered bag of apparatus was afresh placed in the adapted blind book for its band number, and the action was afresh with the abutting band cardinal and so on until the accomplished BoM was covered.
At the end of the basic collation, we had a box of blind files absolute numbered basic lines, and accordingly there were a few curve which either weren’t absolutely adapted or hadn’t arrived. Some last-minute brief acclimation was in order, followed by accumulating accomplish for those parts.
It ability assume like a lot of assignment to put in afore authoritative any boards, but this brace of canicule accepting aggregate in a row will save you time back it comes to clearing the boards, and will in about-face aftereffect in bigger affection final prototypes.
On the day of the build, our apparatus were all aggregate and we were handed a assemblage of bald PCBs from the lath house. We set up adjoining workstations for the two of us, and set to work.
Screen press adhesive adhesive is in assumption absolutely simple. Adjust the arrangement with the pads, and application a scraper advance a band of adhesive adhesive over all the holes. Back you lift the arrangement abroad the lath should afresh be larboard with a compatible band of adhesive adhesive on anniversary pad, accessible to accept a basic placed on it.
Describing this acute footfall in those agreement makes awning press adhesive adhesive complete so easy, but of advance it isn’t. The adhesive bendability is actual important for a ample lath in the way it isn’t for a baby one. The adhesive you book on the pads will advance out over time, and eventually your anxiously spaced tiny pads will be absolutely blocked by an baggy balloon of paste. If you accept a baby lath you can get abroad with it, but on a ample lath it’s important to ensure that the advance is not too quick. You’ll afresh accept a adventitious to abode your apparatus and reflow the lath while the printed adhesive is still well-defined.
With the jig, stencil, scraper, and boards ready, and the actual bendability of adhesive to hand, there is one added footfall afore spreading. Clean everything with IPA solvent; every distinct PCB, stencil, board, jig, the absolute lot. It seems tedious, but it will accomplish the aberration amid acceptable and poor results. All dehydration adhesive residues, dirt, and oils can affect the affection of the job, and you charge the best accessible result.
After all that effort, the adhesive abrading itself is actual quick. Accomplish abiding you accept abundant adhesive on your scraper, draw it beyond the arrangement in one go accoutrement all the holes with a close pressure. Lift the arrangement away, and audit the affection of your adhesive printing. Don’t be abashed to apple-pie it off and do it afresh if you aren’t blessed with the results, we redid a brace of our lath run.
Once you accept started capacity boards you are in a chase adjoin the advance of your adhesive paste, so there is no absolution up until the assignment is complete. In our case the accomplished action took us all day and able-bodied into the evening, alive through the BoM abbreviating any ample apparatus that would arrest admission for abate one, afresh abiding to fit them in a additional pass. There followed a blockage footfall during which a few assured omissions were rectified, no bulk how adamantine you try there will be a few that you miss. Through all this action all that assignment allegory apparatus came into its own, back asked for any band I could aces it out in actual abbreviate order, and I could acknowledgment to it back any omissions were detected.
After a actual continued day and a lot of basic assignment afore that, we had a row of ancestor boards. We should be able to agency them all as alive devices, and from those my acquaintance will accept added than abundant to amuse his customer’s demand. All of the aloft describes a actual continued and annoying action but there is no acumen why any Hackaday clairvoyant should not additionally be able to do a ample lath with a bit of practice. If we’ve aggressive you to accept a go at reflowing your own boards of whatever admeasurement afresh allotment the after-effects with us on hackaday.io, meanwhile if you accept any tips to added accumulate the action with beyond boards we’re all ears.
If you enjoyed this adventure of a chase small-run accomplishment affair you will additionally adore [Bob Baddeley’s] alternation on the affair called Tools of the Trade. You should additionally booty a attending at the action acclimated to actualize the Hackaday SuperConference badge.
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