The entire process is messy and time consuming, and you can't
reasonably do double-sided boards. If your time is worth anything,
order a proper plated-through, solder-masked, 2 or 4 layer board from
a quick-turn proto house, and work on something else until it arrives.
That's when I make sure my CM has everything they need to do the job
and order any last minute parts that may have fallen through the
cracks (sometimes literally).
I have three six layer boards (mother, daughter, and a simple
oscillator test board - didn't take two decades to design) going out
Monday or Tuesday. I'll probably take a trip up to see the CM
Wednesday or Thursday to bring up most of the remainder of the parts.
I am glad the resistors and capacitors are only a few cents. If I need
only one or several, I always get atleast 10 of them. Don't usually
loose any if I do. If I don't or the part is several dollars or more
and I get just the required ammount I usually drop one and spend lots of
time looking for it.
I think he is just referring to a light that goes over your head, not a
I am sure the Mantis is very nice,but just for my hobby they are out of
the price range. I did get an Amscope SE 400 for about 10% of the
Mantis cost that works well for my hobby.
I keep spares of most of the values I use in anti-static bags. I
never put fewer than a hundred in them. If one leaves the playing
field, I don't spend a second on it. I don't want it back because
I'll probably get the one I lost last year, instead. I don't want
I have a pair of them, too, but they don't work very well on 0402s,
which account for >90% of the passives on my boards. To be a little
more clear, they work to measure the widget but aren't worth a damn
placing them. Too many motions to use both. The cleaning service
will get the spillage. Eventually.
I bought one of the China component checkers. Then modified some of the
normally closed tweezers. I glued a small piece of printed circuit
board to the inside of each 'prong' of the tweezer. Then soldered a
foot or so of some small wire to them. Good for holding and checking
resisors and capacitors of over a few hundred pico farads.
Those $ 15 component testers seem to work very well if the value of the
device under test is high of enough value the leads don't upset the
I had a contract where they insisted that I fabricate some boards using
an Othermill <https://othermachine.co/ . While it might have been
possible to do a small, single-sided, board with no fine pitch
components, it really did not work for what we were doing. Producing a
single, small, board took many, many hours of very noisy grinding. At
the time it only supported Macs, so I needed to borrow a Mac to hook up
to it. The system hung somewhere during the process and I gave up on it.
You used to be able to buy rubber stamps with DIP patterns which you
could use to stamp etch-resistant patterns onto copper. These worked
pretty well. But still, doing two sided boards would be tough, and there
were no plated through holes so even if you did do double sided, you
needed to solder both sides of components, and solder thin wires into
Ugh, that looks like a makerbot cupcake 3D printer refitted as a mill.
Quite a joke, I suspect.
Almost 20 years ago i built a laser photoplotter, and wrote the software to
make raster files from Gerber files. I recently replaced the ancient
Windows 3.1 computer with a Beagle Bone. It generates artwork that is
accurate to a few thousandths of an inch per foot or better, so good I
really have no tools to measure it. The plotting is at a resolution of 1000
DPI. I mostly use it to make solder stencils for commercially-fabricated PC
boards, but occasionally make a one-off. It prints to red-sensitive litho
film that then becomes the master for dry film PCB etch resist.
By having such accurate films, you can easily do double-sided boards, but
you do have to hand-solder the vias.
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