In Part 1 of this project, I talked about the PCB and schematic layout and pretty much how it works. Now it’s time to turn this project into reality ! 😀
PCBs and Stencil
I got the PCBs made with PCBWay which is a well know professional circuit board manufacturer based in China, you can learn more about them over at http://pcbway.com. The turnaround time was about 3-4 days because of the red soldermask and 10 days for the shipping, about 2 weeks which is not bad during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PCBs and Stencil I ordered came in a box that kinda provided enough protection during shipping. The PCBs were packed in this bubble shrink wrap thing and the stencil was sandwiched in between two pieces of wood which seem to have been used in the PCB drilling process.
Overall the PCB quality is pretty good and I didn’t find any mistakes. For the stencil, it had nice rounded edges and looked alright. So yeah I would definitely recommend them if you need to prototype a PCB design or get a stencil made.
Assembling the board
Now that I had all the parts it was time to assemble the board !
1. Applying the solder paste
I used this Realife lead-free solder paste that I got for about $6 or $7 from Banggood.
Since I don’t have a stencil frame holder, I made this jig using the extra PCBs and some masking/paper tape. Not a perfect solution but it does get the job done 😛
I then used an old bus pass to apply the paste.
To get better results I would suggest you use a metal spatula or something similar.
2. Placing the parts and soldering them
Using my trusty tweezers I carefully placed the SMD components on the board and soldered them using my 858D hot air station as you can see in the video.
3. Cleaning the board
I just dumped the board in the ultrasonic cleaner ( the liquid inside is alcohol, not IPA but that’s what I could get my hands on since IPA is rare here ) and let it do its thing.
After assembling the through-hole parts, I put it back in the ultrasonic cleaner to remove the flux residue. I was pretty satisfied with the results and tested whether it was working or not. As expected it worked. Now I just gotta find a project where this can be useful.
Feel free to send me a mail at [email protected] if you have any questions 🙂
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