We developed an alternative method for making PCB vias through-hole using our robot.
As you probably know the traditional DIY method consists in threading a wire through the holes and then soldering it and then cutting it off. For example, if we have 100 vias in our PCB, we have to insert the thin wire on each hole, cut it and solder it 200 times. This is time-consuming, but also tedious, absurd, prone to failures and produces a melancholic state of mind.:-)
So we decide to innovate in this area developing a new method which consists in drilling blind vias instead of holes and filling them with conductive ink.
Tom Keddie writes, “On the last hacker camp I picked up a magnifier with HDMI output on Taobao (or more expensive but no airfare needed 14MP HDMI HD Microscope USB Industrial Camera 180X C mount Lens Stereo Stand)
I find myself needing to peer into and under packages a lot, I got sick of holding the pcb and trying to focus so I laser cut this little stand. It has two angles on it for different views. I find it is especially useful for USB connectors.”
The last part of “Passives aren’t really so passive” series app notes from Maxim Integrated discusses about PCB flaws that can lead to passive errors to IC performance. Link here (PDF)
Active components like transistors and integrated circuits change signals using energy from the power supply. However, passive components like resistors, capacitors, inductors, and connectors actually can, and do, change the signal in unexpected ways. This happens because all these passive components contain parasitic components. This application note, discusses printed circuit boards and the errors that can occur because passive components aren’t really so passive.
Still working with PCBs in 2D? Not [Yoav]. With some clever twists on the way we fab PCBs, he’s managed to create a state-aware foldable circuit board that responds to different configurations.
From his paper [PDF warning], [Yoav] discusses two techniques for developing foldable circuits that may be used repeatedly. The first method involves printing the circuit onto a flexible circuit board material and then bound front-and-back between two sheets of acrylic. Valid folded edges are distinguished by the edges of individual acrylic pieces. The second method involves laying out circuits manually via conductive copper tape and then exposing pads to determine an open or closed state.
Reconfigurable foldable objects may open the door for many creative avenues; in the video (after the break), [Yoav] demonstrates the project’s state-awareness with a simple onscreen rendering that echoes its physical counterpart.
While these circuits are fabbed from a custom solution, not FR1 or FR4, don’t let that note hold your imagination back. In fact, If you’re interested with using PCB FR4 as a structural element, check out [Voja’s] comprehensive guide on the subject.