Going Snowboarding Extra

I’m heading west to do some snowboarding, so I thought I’d clean out the stuff I’ve been saving for you guys.

[Nagi Punyamurthula] sent his notes on making PCBs. It’s a nice introduction if you’re new to it.

[Monster] sent in his how to on making a solder mask
He suggests using mcmaster-carr p/n 9709K61 (4 mil) or 9709K55 (3 mil) copper sheet.

[monster] and [uchobby] sent in using a scanner to take measurements on a PCB

[MoneyOx] sent in a DIY Wii sensor bar

[Tom] sent in Water cooling via swimming pool. This made slashdot, but worth a look if you missed it.

Meta is another DIY segway, similar to [Trevor Blackwells]. (I’ve actually ridden that one) Thanks [Peter]

[Zack] sent along details on using a Nintendo DS for VoIP.

[Bruce] sent in his shuffle in a hockey helmet hack. I like the pseudo-dock he created for it.

This was on engadget a while back, but we’ve been getting lots of tips. Check out the iPod in a gameboy mod.

Finally, [everyone on the planet] sent in this Xbox 360 tilt controller hack.

Thanks to everyone for their tips!

14 thoughts on “Going Snowboarding Extra

  1. i’m a paintballing man myself, but I hear snowboarding can be a real laugh; my sister’s going in a few weeks.

    anyhoo, about that watercooling loop; do NOT do it! the chlorine from the water will eat away at your loop and water blocks – mot to mention debris, bacteria and other oassorted crud that accumulates in pool water. Also, his pump will most likely fail, setup the way it is. A smarter thing to do would have been get professional (plumber, electrician etc.) advice.

    my opinion, a heat-exchanger based system would be far better (you put your radiators/heater cores into the pool water). but still, pool chemicals = a big no no.

  2. woohoo, thought he forgot about me

    i had another idea for solder masks, (but they might be too thick for the uber fine smd work) what about those vinyl stickers you rub on to windows and they stick without adhesives? slice one of those out with an exacto knife and it would prevent the paste from sliding out underneath the mask and making bridges.

    or maybe window tint (i’ve never handled this stuff, i don’t know ow sticky it is in real life) would work for a little finer pitch stuff

  3. The mask doesn’t need to stick at all, an overhead transparency would make a great substrate if you were cutting it by hand.

    As to the watercooling, what type of pipe does your pool equipment use? Mine uses (what do you know…) pvc, and a little copper. What did he used, pvc and gold plated (even more corrosion resistant…) copper. And I don’t know about you, but I keep my pool pretty well chlorinated (way higher than the tap water used in computers). I don’t see any strainers to keep pine needles out, but that would be an easy fix.

    And when you do that you can leave you computers running 24/7 with all of the inefficient processors crunching away for 44851 :p

  4. You can click on the pictures for a full explanation…

    He made the stencil by taking a piece of copper foil, and using a toner transfer method to put on a resist. Then he taped over the back of the copper, and let it etch like a normal board. The end result is a mask used for applying solder paste for reflow soldering.

  5. it was pretty self-explanitory for me akmixdown, i’ve done it by completely covering one side in sharpie marker (sharpie magnums work and smell great)

    on the reverse side i toner transfered a negative of the solder pads of the board i was going to mask. this means the image i was transferring had the pads inkless and everything else blacked.

    after i ironed and scrubbed the board i used a fine sharpie (the felt tipped one about the thickness of a nipple, not the needle thin one) to blacken in completely any spots that might have been a little thin on the transfer.

    then i dunked it in an acid bath until the exposed spots were completely eaten through, just be careful you don’t leave it in too long or the acid could eat sideways and widen your holes (hehe, goatse solder pads…)

  6. Eric’s pool cooling is neat. Be even better if you can get the A/C unit tied into it you suggest near the bottom. While you’re at it, how about the refrigerator? :)

    I guess you live in an area which allows you to maintain the pool yearround… No draining or “winterizing” or such nonsense?

  7. wicked pool cooling.

    I did this exact same setup, only with 1 computer, an air conditioner and my fridge. Replaced the external fans with simple water cooling. Also, it was my large fish pond….and I used a couple of water filters.

  8. I have a question.. I havn’t used the toner transfer method to set up the etching mask on a PCB.. but the ones I have seen are plastic. Now, after ‘printing’ and transfering one board, they are useless right? (or at least that section of transfer)
    So, why cant that plastic sheet now be used to make the solder mask?

  9. the toner transfer method involves a laser printer and glossy paper. don’t use an overhead transparency because it wll melt onto the board and not work at all.

    the glossy paper is a plasticized sheet of fairly heavy stock, the toner is basically a plastic and it does not seep into the paper because the coating seals the sheet. you put the sheet inkside down on the board and iron it on until it is very well laminated (make sure you do all the correct mirroring on the print so it is oriented right)

    i ironed a 3×5″ pcb for about ten minutes and still needed to sharpie in some blank spots, while it is possible to heat the board to the point of the copper coming off it generally is better to overheat than underheat.

    then you immerse the board/paper amalgamation into a container of water and dish soap for a few minutes, let the water completely soak into the paper. then peel the paper off as best as you can then use a nail brush to scrub off the stuck paper bits (in a perfect world the traces would be a pure black, but don’t stress about a few bits of paper left on unless they are in an inopportune space like across traces or pins)

    then dip it in ferric chloride (or whatever you use to etch)

    take it out once bare fiberglass is showing, the entire layer of copper should be removed, save for the covered copper.

    i personally cover the board in baking soda after taking it out of the acid, then go for water, but ymmv.

    then clean and solder!

  10. just a note on the masking with eagle — why not print the tcream or bcream layers, instead of the solder mask layers? I’ve just done an 8-layer board (my first BGA board) and Eagle’s got cream layers specifically for stenciling.

    (now wish me luck that I didn’t screw up the design!)

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