# PCB's

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#### Dr.killjoy

Joined Apr 28, 2013
1,196
I have been playing around with electronics again.. There are a couple tutorials around on building PCB but do you guys use smd parts or through hole parts?? Also when making a PCB do you cover the traces with something or leave them open ??

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,336
I have been playing around with electronics again.. There are a couple tutorials around on building PCB but do you guys use smd parts or through hole parts?? Also when making a PCB do you cover the traces with something or leave them open ??
Normally, I try to use SMT parts when they're not too small to handle and solder, such as 0805 caps and resistors, and chips with 0.05" spaced pins.
And after I've finished (and thoroughly tested) a circuit built on a PCB, I normally cover the traces with lacquer to protect them from corrosion as much as possible.

#### spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
I prefer through hole. Just easier to deal with. The down side is drilling all of the holes.

I use Liquid Tin. Works really well.

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,336
I prefer through hole. Just easier to deal with. The down side is drilling all of the holes.

I use Liquid Tin. Works really well.
Never heard about Liquid Tin before... thanks for the tip!

#### spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
I wash the PCB with soap and water, rinse and dry just before tinning.

#### ErnieM

Joined Apr 24, 2011
8,156
I prefer SMD. Just easier to deal with. The upside is no holes to drill plus no long leads keeping you from making a tight layout.

Either PCB or breadboard just build easier with SMD.

#### MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
23,144
I prefer through hole, but I have boards made so have through hole plating and silk screen etc.
If it is a one-off I then generally use Strip board where possible.
Max.

#### #12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,222
I've done a bit of SMT. My hands are still steady. It's the eyes that go weak first. If I can get enough light and magnification, my back is aching in 2 hours. I guess that's a job for young people.

Hang on...it's almost full daylight now. I have to go jack up a 5300 pound car when there is enough light to find the jacking points.
Just glad it has 16 inch wheels. I have to find my glasses before I can find the 14 inch wheels.

#### ISB123

Joined May 21, 2014
1,236
I'm probably going to switch to SMT and just use THT for expensive components like MCU's. My wrist and back hurt for hours after drilling.

#### nerdegutta

Joined Dec 15, 2009
2,681
I've done mostly TH, and some with both. Meaning I have TH regulator and electrolytic caps, and SMD uC. I use clear laquer from Wuerth to prevent corrosion.

#### WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,398
I haven't done any boardwork for a few years (miss it and hope to get back to it some time). I was doing as much SMT as I could. I have a decent MetCal set up with a decent binocular microscope which makes doing anything down to 0.5 mm pitch parts and 0402 decides pretty doable. Having to constantly flip the board over to do through hole gets annoying, plus the games you often have to play to keep the components from dropping too far out before you get them soldered is a time waster. I just find SMT to be a cleaner assembly process, even though I still do fine-pitch work one pin at a time.

#### Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,436
In the past I have left the traces bare. I've been meaning to experiment with Krylon Clear Coat before soldering, I've been told it will get out of the way of soldering and leave the rest of the board with a conformal coat. Been meaning to do this for years, when I do I'll post the results.

I have always used through hole.

#### dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
12,873
I prefer through hole. I make my boards with toner transfer and sometimes leave the toner on the traces, but copper oxidation doesn't concern me.

My hands are still steady enough to do SMT, but I need a magnifying glass to inspect the joints on the tiny stuff. I made several SMT to SIP adapters yesterday for some SOT-416 devices, which are about half the size of SOT-23. I didn't feel like etching the boards, so I used a Dremel tool with a 3/32" engraving cutter. I soldered with my soldering iron because I couldn't adjust the air low enough on my hot air tool to keep the parts from moving.

#### #12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,222
I've been using three coats Krylon Clear for decades to help preserve the wiring diagrams pasted inside new air conditioners. It's almost useless in 12 years...about when you really need a diagram. Maybe that's because I'm spraying paper and moisture gets in behind the coating. Still, it's better than the three or four years the drawings last when you don't spray them at all.

I guess I'm still recommending Krylon Clear. Most consumer goods aren't even designed to need a label after 10 years, and it probably works better on top of a waterproof surface than it does on a piece of paper.

#### MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
2,015
If you are mechanically inclined you should be able to do better than $2k. See CNCzone.com. Max. #### atferrari Joined Jan 6, 2004 4,331 We've got one of these at work, it's awesome. It's used for prototype PCB's, and cutting custom mechanical parts. I wish I could justify the price tag for home (just over$2k USD today):
Maybe 15++ years ago I fell in love with the idea of buying one after watching a demonstration by the local representative of LPKF. Few hours to have a PCB to try your circuit, hmm, I LIKE that.

One year ago, when in Europe, I failed by 12 hours to be in time at Iserlöhn for buying one. Google Stepcraft.

No hands on experience but I guess I would try to get one with a tool changer.

Otherwise, veroboard whenever possible or perfboard unless a real PCB which I order locally.

#### ISB123

Joined May 21, 2014
1,236
You can build a simple CNC for under 100$. I'm in process of building one. #### cmartinez Joined Jan 17, 2007 7,336 You can build a simple CNC for under 100$.
I'm in process of building one.
I would love to see how you build it. Why not post your progress in the projects forum?

#### spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
I would love to see how you build it. Why not post your progress in the projects forum?
+1

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