Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to do your own PCB assembly? A printed circuit board (PCB) is basically a copper sheet layer made up of electronic components. It can be purchased in any electrical and computer centers. However, if you’re the type of person who is passionate about electronics and you intend to try doing things on your own, you might prefer to just build it yourself.
If you are planning to do PCB assembly, just follow this quick guide to get started:
The materials you’ll need for this process are metal stencil, solder paste, and metal squeegee. Solder paste is basically made from a combination of different metals such as tin, silver and copper. It is best to store the paste in a cool place.
Any cheap brand of leaded paste can be used. If you want to achieve a high quality result, then use the lead-free solder paste.
Prepare a metal stencil which you will use as a guide in the application of solder paste. You can opt to solder-paste each PCB board or a panel board of PCB. Lay your board and put the stencil on top, making sure that the stencil is properly positioned. Then, apply the paste over the stencil using the metal squeegee.
2.Placement of Components
You will need your electronic components and tweezers for this process. Also, it will require a lot of focus and patience to correctly place the components.
To do this, use the tweezers to manually place all the components on top of the soldered board.
To complete this stage of PCB assembly, a reflow oven or your own do-it-yourself toaster oven that can reach 250 degrees Celsius is needed.
Reflow is the process of exposing the board to alternating warm and cool temperatures. This will ensure that solder paste creates a solid finish. The reflow oven is set to 250 degrees Celsius. As the PCB panel moves through the oven in a varying temperature ranges, the solder paste will melt.
Once the paste is melted, the electronic components will automatically stick to the PCB. Examine the board and see if every component is neatly soldered.
Make sure to prepare the tools needed for this step: soldering iron, brass sponge, metal helping hands, PCB, and solder.
You will need to solder the plated through-hole (PTH) in your board by hand. Take your board and clip it with the use of metal helping hands. This is to ensure that your board is in place during the soldering process. While soldering, remember to heat both the solder pin and the board to avoid clumping.
To start the assessment, visual inspection should be done first to ensure that all electronic parts are appropriately placed on the board and that solders are neatly pasted.
If the board seems to have no issues, it’s time to test the PCB in terms of voltage output, pin voltages, and overall connection. Check that your own PCB assembly output is completely and electronically operational.
This part is highly necessary when you intend to sell your PCB. Usually, producing electronics in large numbers requires the use of machinery. If in any case you do not own a dishwasher for electronics, then all you need is a stainless steel pot and deionized water. You can just literally dunk your board in the water.
If you do not have these things, a q-tip and a sufficient amount of isopropyl alcohol will be a great alternative. To dry the water, simply use a fan or compressed air.
Now that you’ve learned about how to do your own PCB assembly, start creating one!