[sdiy] What is DIY? (was Re: Digital delay memory)

Jason Tribbeck jason at tribbeck.com
Fri Apr 29 22:59:57 CEST 2016

"A manual pick and place machine?"

I got my first PCB made using Eagle at Eurocircuits a couple of years ago,
and while perusing their site, I loved some of their kit. I went to a trade
show, and saw it first hand, and decided that it was the equipment we

When my new role was officially announced, I basically went on a spending
spree with them, so got pretty much everything from
http://www.eurocircuits.com/new-smd-reflow-equipment - it's the eC-placer.

The only thing I haven't bought yet is the eC-tester. It's in my approved
budget, so it's just a matter of ordering it when I need one (or if I need

There is no way that I would expect DIY people to have that kind of
equipment though - what I built up (at home) over the years was:

- Inkjet printer for printing transparencies
- UV box (it's probably 18 years old, and I'm hoping the bulbs never go in
- PCB etch tank (this is relatively new - probably 8 years old. Also not
essential for DIY, because you can use a tray, like I did beforehand)
- PCB software (Eagle is what I used - I did have the professional version
so I wasn't limited in any way, but that's also not essential for DIY. I'm
sure other software is also very capable).
- BitScope logic analyser and 2-channel oscilloscope
- Various FPGA development kits (and FPGA programmer)
- Various MCU programmers (starting with PicKit, then PicKit2, PicKit3,
ICD3, STM-Link)

I certainly wouldn't want to try to do the accuracy of the boards I can
make using laser+magazine approach, and I never had any luck with the laser
transfer stuff (iron-on blue, IIRC).

I did get better and better at making the PCBs - I still get the occasional
short where a hair got onto the transparency that causes a short, or a bit
of a blob from nowhere in particular. The first FPGA board was also my
first double-sided (with wires between the layers instead of PTH). That was
exciting to do! Tinning the boards also helps a lot.

With Eagle, I use one of Eurocircuits' DRC checks slightly modified with a
larger restring and it works well.

The last error I had was in my first Altium board where I'd left it at the
default clearance of 8mil - I didn't realise it until I'd done the
transparency, and thought "well, let's give it a go and see what happens".

I do want to do a demonstration of SMT soldering to some DIY electronics
people I know - but, unfortunately, the Meetup group that I belong to
doesn't meet that often (once in the past two years). I don't think SMT is
that difficult - although my eyesight is good which helps tremendously.

On Fri, 29 Apr 2016 at 21:00 Rob Spencer <rob at gmsn.co.uk> wrote:

> A manual pick and place machine?
> Tell me more!
> We've been thinking about doing a pick and place along the same lines as
> the CNC kits you can get from places like Oozenest.
> I'm not sure what DIY means for me tbh. I'm enjoying applying a lot of the
> hackerspace type stuff to SDIY and finding you can do a lot of personal
> manufacturing without paying tens of thousands of pounds. We've come a very
> long way in the past few years in terms of doing the types of things at
> home, which R&D teams struggled to do 10 years ago.
> Panels for example... I can order aluminum sheet online, take it round to
> my silkscreen pal, who prints a design made in Illustrator (the
> subscription version). These are then cut on a CNC made from a £700 kit.
> It's a manufacturing process that costs about £1k end to end. It's been a
> struggle to get the process down, but I guess the challenge is solving
> those little problems.
> Hmm, maybe that's what DIY is for me: solving the "next" problem without
> the resources available to big businesses :)
> Kind regards
> Rob
> 07590 267835
> > On 29 Apr 2016, at 20:24, Tom Wiltshire <tom at electricdruid.net> wrote:
> >
> >
> >> On 29 Apr 2016, at 19:46, Jason Tribbeck <jason at tribbeck.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> Maybe that could be the topic of another thread - what is DIY? What can
> be expected of people?
> >
> >
> > I think it varies hugely. Or put another way, we're not all Jürgen
> Haible.
> >
> > My own DIY has improved enormously over the years as my knowledge and
> experience have grown. One of the things that's important to me now is
> trying to design projects that will inspire people to try something a bit
> further on from what they might have otherwise tried. I've been using PICs
> to try and reduce the number of components in classic circuits and make
> them easier to manage. Basically, I'm trying to design the stuff that I
> would have wished for when I was starting out.
> >
> > Personally, I don't have access to anything like your lab resources,
> Jason, and I doubt that people I'm designing for do either, so through-hole
> is pretty much essential. I try to avoid needing an oscilloscope to trim a
> circuit, since although I've got one, many people don't. The scope is to
> help the *designer*, not the *builder*. I assume only that they can solder
> reasonably well (although I design boards with *far* wider tolerances than
> you're doing) and that they have a multimeter. I've started doing stomp box
> stuff recently, and the people who build that are…well, they're
> *guitarists*! They know which end of the soldering iron to hold, mostly.
> I'm joking, but the point is serious - some of the people involved in music
> DIY aren't technical people at all. And this is a good thing. Perhaps some
> of them will become interested and take it further. After all, I did.
> >
> > Tom
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Synth-diy mailing list
> > Synth-diy at dropmix.xs4all.nl
> > http://dropmix.xs4all.nl/mailman/listinfo/synth-diy
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