Tuesday, February 24, 2009

RepStrap: SMT without a hot plate...

I have had the electronic components and connectors needed to build three stepper motor driver boards for two weeks now and have been waiting on the printed circuit boards from RRRF. Again, patience is a virtue, and in this case it is deserved. Zack has been abroad as of late spreading RepRap. His contributions do not go unnoticed. Anyways, the boards came last night and I had my soldering iron out momentarily. The boards are surface mount or SMT and with me never working with SMT I did not know to purchase a hot plate and some flux. I decided to make what I had work.

As you can see the joints are solid but do not look pretty. Also, this job took me an hour or more and I missed the directional pin, requiring troubleshooting and resoldering. I would not suggest others working with SMT boards without a hot plate. Still, I plan on soldering up the other two boards the same way.

Thanks, Zack, for a solid design and a working tutorial, even if I did not follow it. I am thankful that I get to bypass the PIC phase of the RepRap design.

Update: December 29, 2009

I recently soldered up the same board with a hot plate and got much better results. Observe:

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