I dont think its a real problem, at least yet. yes, more and more soldering is done with a hot air fan, rather than iron tip, but even SMD IC's usually have relatively "big" and "small" variations to choose. "bigger" ones, like SOT case, are solderable even by iron. Personally, i prefer BGA paste soldering of smd - there's no need to precise position components and solder each pin, its enough to apply paste , place component roughly on its place, and - miracle - when you apply hoot air, it gets self-aligned and soldered!
that's just what i found on first page in Google...
also, i believe its not a problem to order custom adapters like that (e.g. PCB manufacturing ad SMT soldering) in some company which manages pcb production. it should not cost much, if you do large orders.
it's not a big problem even here, in stone age Russia
Last Edit: Jul 11, 2013 8:09:06 GMT -8 by lamazoid
This might seem counter intuitive, but I find surface mount (1206 size especially) easier to use than wire components. I will admit, I cannot solder using solder wire worth a ____, but with good quality solder paste, everything is easy.
I dab on the solder paste, place the parts with a tweezers (and it doesn't have to be perfect), and then just heat the board up in a frying pan. The parts tend to self align so precision placement isn't needed (on 1206 stuff). Of course there are limits on the really small stuff.
I tried to make my own boards, but I was not very successful. Perhaps I will try again in the future. Interestingly, I also tried using an acid + battery electrolysis to etch one, but I think that I attempted this too early in my learning process. My background is chemical engineering, so using electro - etching just make sense to me, and I ruin clothes too quickly with ferric chloride.
For larger quantities, I tend to use Advanced Circuits ( www.4pcb.com/ ), but that really only makes sense when you need 1000 boards, as their price is more or less the same for 1 board or 1000.
For smaller quantities, I have them cnc machined in Australia believe it or not. Super nice couple runs it. I need to look up their web info and will post it here.
BTW, I live in Pleasanton, CA - not far from San Jose.
Really marvelous people there. For instance, their normal boards are 1/2 oz, but I really needed a special board for an LED driver and power LED project. They made a special layup for me by bonding up a blank: - 2 oz copper on one face - A very thin FR4 insulation / separator - Thick (like 1.5 mm) copper sheet on the bottom for heat spreading
The circuit was designed to use the 2 oz side for most electrical uses. The thick copper bottom sheet was heat spreader and ground. They machined out the circuit boards (2 in round) and created thermal paths through the FR-4 so that the parts that needed heat removal could have the bottom side heat slug soldered directly attached to the thick copper sheet side.
Post by Gary Lecomte on Aug 4, 2016 14:59:51 GMT -8
I just etch all my own boards. No Waiting times for delivery.
I Electro-Etch some times and use HCL +H2O2 for final finishing. If I want them Quicker, I just use the HCL + H2O2.
I Pre-coat my own Raw PCB Material with Shipleys Auto-positive Resist. I have 0.5, 1 and 2 Ounce PCB material. Photo Graphic Transfer to the copper takes me about 5 Minutes, Etching possibly another 5 Minutes, Drilling Depend on How Many Holes.
Yes Ferric Chloride is Too STAINING to Everything.
I know what you mean about being able to see the surface mount parts though. The smallest I will work with is 1206, the 0603 are just too small for me to see and handle well with a tweezers. Having as many of the parts the same size helps me with design as well. I don't have the software, but I found a semi-retired EE that does and he takes my hand sketches + data sheets and turns them into real drawings and circuits.
You might try playing with 2010 size parts, they aren't quite as cheap, but they are about 5mm long x 2.5 wide.
Let me know if you want to try out some of the larger SMT parts and I will send some to you.
The method I spent the most time on was to use a sticky tape type material, and small art cutting tools to scrape away openings to the copper. I then etched them, but the sticky tape de - laminated.
How do you pattern the resist? I am familiar with Shipley resist from its use in the semiconductor industry, but I don't have any exposure method at home. Do you just cut the pattern in with art tools?