How to Run Soldering Seminar CPW 2011

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Important Reminders

  • You will need to submit a bill of materials to Rush Chairs or CPW chairs prior to your event. This will need to include any parts from Digi-Key, the PCBs from Advanced Circuits, and any sketchy parts you get from Ebay, or ??
  • You will need to acquire soldering irons at least a week in advanced, or at least schedule borrowing them
  • Actually start early, because things can get rough in the last few days if you don't plan ahead.
  • Try to get some help even for the organizing stage. It will be more fun and easier for everyone.

Steps

Brainstorm ideas for a project

  • Projects should cost $10-$15 dollars. Some past ideas can be seen on the Soldering Seminar page.

Usually projects involve a micro-controller running some simple code that does something cool. PICs are cheap and have a lot of built in peripherals that make them good for these kinds of projects. Contact previous organizers to get help with ideas. Add ideas to the bottom of this page.

  • In the past, turnout has varied from ~20 people to well over 60. We generally order about 40 to 50 projects.

Design the circuit and test it on a breadboard.

  • This is very important to see if the design if feasible. RF circuits and high frequency circuits might not work well on a breadboard.

Draw up the schematic in eagle. Design the PCB artwork (also in Eagle)

Sparkfun has a great tutorial on learning Eagle. It can be viewed here: [1]

Try Etching a Board [Optional]

  • If you have the ability to make a board, go ahead. This might be a pain...

Panelize the Boards for Manufacturing

  • This involves using a open source program known as GerbMerge. I will document using it once I know how to.
  • You should fit as many boards as you can onto a 60 square inch board.

Send Bill of Materials as Rush/CPW proposal

  • This needs to be done fairly early, so prior steps must be completed probably a month and a half before the event.
  • the BOM will typically include parts from at least one source, the PCBs, and probably some solder and random items
  • The event has cost around $500 in the past. Keep it around there.
  • Plan for about 40-50 people to show up. If more show up on a regular basis, we should consider scaling up this event for future years. Talk to CPW/Rush Chairs afterwards.

Order Parts

  • Parts should generally be ordered from Digi-Key. MIT affiliates get free two day shipping and a discount from Digi-Key. You should create an account and use the live chat features to ask for your account to be associated with MIT. Try to sound professional. You are part of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department.
  • * Ask around hall, someone might have a Digi-Key account.
  • Some parts are best purchased from Ebay to save money. LEDs are a perfect example. Make sure to account for the long shipping time. (often at least two weeks)

and PCBs

  • PCBs can be purchased from Advanced Circuits at [2] Use the $33 each deal. Since we are paneling them, they will charge a $50 surcharge. GRRRH. Use the Step and Repeat option when ordering)
  • Order at least two weeks before you plan on testing the board. You should probably order about a month before CPW/RUSH

Tips on making Gerber files

  • Careful selecting each layer. We usually print an East Campus logo, and or a 4E logo,event name (eg Rush 2010) as well as the names of the board designer. A revision number is helpful in case we rebuild the board in the future to correct any mistakes)
  • Check design with GC-prevue
  • Read this [3]
  • Send an email to igutekunst@gmail.com if this link is broken.

Test circuit on actual PCBs. Document any mistakes and determine workarounds necessary.

  • Make multiple instances of this page ( eg How to Run Soldering Seminar Rush 2008, and make the main page link to the most current.

Document the building process

  • Take photos of the board during key steps
  • Include parts of the guide: Helpful soldering tips by Isaac Gutekunst

Prepare for the Event

  • Print out copies of the building guide, or at least key reference photos.
  • Gather people with soldering experience to help out. If there is a large turnout it will be impossible for one person to each everyone how to solder correctly and there will be some nasty boards that don't work.
  • Gather soldering irons. In the past, Jim Bales from the Edgereton Center has been kind enough to loan irons. He usually loans us around 10. Email him at [bales@mit.edu] at least a week in advanced. Also, he likes seeing what we're up to, so send him a finished board as a thank you.
  • * You should bring a large box/cart when you visit the Edgerton Center in 4-409 to carry the irons.
  • You should also ask around for more soldering irons. If 50 people show up... :D
  • Gather power strips
  • Gather any other supplies. Double check for items you forgot. I've forgotten string for POV spinner boards before.
  • Get about 5 people who can help you throughout the event and know how to solder.


Previous Organizers

Send an email to one of these organizers if you have questions. Try to only email Iisaac, as he is the most recent organizer. However, if you know Boyd, go ahead and email him too.

Recent/Current Organizers

  • Isaac Gutekunst igutekunst@gmail.com

Cruftier organizers

  • Eric Marion
  • Michael Scarito
  • Walker Chan