[sdiy] To SMT orNot to SMT.. that is my question

David G Dixon dixon at mail.ubc.ca
Fri Dec 20 09:02:55 CET 2013


Honestly, if you're going to sell kits with SMT, I think you'd be better off
just getting the pick-and-place done professionally.  It doesn't cost that
much in bulk, and if you are willing not to be too greedy, it wouldn't even
make the kit that much more expensive.  Plus, at the end of the day, it
would necessitate much less work on your part than trying to package all
those tiny little SMD parts in a way suitable for a newbie to build a kit.

So, the kit building would just involve installation of any through-hole
parts, module assembly, and any panel wiring.

My two cents.



> -----Original Message-----
> From: Olivier Gillet [mailto:ol.gillet at gmail.com] 
> Sent: Thursday, December 19, 2013 11:45 PM
> To: Dan Snazelle
> Cc: David G Dixon; Synth DIY
> Subject: Re: [sdiy] To SMT orNot to SMT.. that is my question
> 
> > I don't see any DIY kits out there in SMT.. they are all still TH.
> 
> I used to sell a SMT DIY kit and I discontinued it after 200 
> pcs for the following reasons:
> - The failure rate was higher than for the through-hole kits 
> (while the product was much simpler).
> - While it's easy to package PTH parts in small quantities 
> (strips, ammo pack, DIP chips inserted in foam), it's a PITA 
> do to so with SMT parts. I ended up having to leave 1 or 2 
> parts on each side of each piece of tape I cut (0805), and it 
> confused the hell of some builders.
> - Customers inevitably lost parts during the build process.
> - Some SMT parts are not labelled - so if you need to assist 
> a customer you can't just ask them to post a photo of their 
> board to figure out what they did.
> - I had to build a fancy flashing rig for pre-programming the 
> MCUs. I could not have done that with a finer pitch MCU for 
> which no ZIF adapter would have been available. The first 
> batch of 100 was sold with a "blank" MCU, this is something 
> I'll never do again :)
> 
> If your target community is the kind of DIYers on muff or 
> electro-music - who are used to building from bare PCBs, who 
> do not expect support, then it's probably fine... Didn't work 
> for me since my other kits set a standard for ease of 
> build/support that I could not match with a SMT kit.
> 
> Olivier
> 
> On Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 8:21 AM, Dan Snazelle 
> <subjectivity at hotmail.com> wrote:
> > ultimately if you are making a cool project,people Will build it!
> >
> > I think eventually most people will work in SMT at home, 
> especially those who are new to electronics and dont have 
> supplies of old parts.
> >
> > Why? because thru hole is disappearing. I dont mean 
> surplus. but in 2013 I watched scores of transistors and 
> capacitors disappear, only to be found in smt land. i think 
> the incentive is gone to keep making them.
> >
> >> According to my impeccable sources, doing SMD by hand is 
> easier than 
> >> through-hole.
> >
> > this all depends on what tools , what eyes and how steady 
> your hands 
> > are.( and of coursE WHICH smt form factor. some sizes are 
> easy-others 
> > impossible. i still sort of suck at SMT by hand  and i never look 
> > forward to doing it. maybe if i had a heat gun, a microscope, and a 
> > good magnifier i could enjoy it ( I guess i should put some 
> GOOD smt 
> > tools on my xmas list)
> >
> > i can solder a prototype very quickly ( and very sloppy) in 
> thru-hole 
> > SMT requires far more "dedication"
> > you cant watch movies ;)
> >
> > and another issue- even though all my modules are smt, I 
> HATE having 
> > to repair smt boards. why? I dont have the right tools. ( 
> hot air gun, etc) and ive ripped pads up before trying to 
> desolder. on super small parts, i feel like testing by eye 
> and a scope probe is much harder.
> >
> >
> >
> >> On Dec 20, 2013, at 12:41 AM, "David G Dixon" 
> <dixon at mail.ubc.ca> wrote:
> >>
> >> A lot of DIYers (and professional module makers) do SMD by hand.  
> >> Indeed, SMD prototype boards must be built by hand before 
> they are mass-produced.
> >>
> >>> -----Original Message-----
> >>> From: synth-diy-bounces at dropmix.xs4all.nl
> >>> [mailto:synth-diy-bounces at dropmix.xs4all.nl] On Behalf Of Michael 
> >>> Bachman
> >>> Sent: Thursday, December 19, 2013 6:35 PM
> >>> To: Synth DIY
> >>> Subject: [sdiy] To SMT orNot to SMT.. that is my question
> >>>
> >>> OK, I just spent the last year working on a analog sound card.
> >>>
> >>> It was at the point of needing a revision.. so I did it.. in SMT.
> >>>
> >>> Now I am wondering if this was a mistake..(and big waste of my 
> >>> Holiday
> >>> vacation)
> >>> Can your average DIYer build and SMT board?
> >>>
> >>> The smallest part is a SOT23, resistors and caps are 
> 1206, the ICs 
> >>> are all SOIC.. no fine pitch.
> >>>
> >>> I don't see any DIY kits out there in SMT.. they are all still TH.
> >>>
> >>> The size is nice, a 35% reduction  and SMT parts are more 
> >>> prevalent..stuffing houses love SMT...but I am about to 
> rip up the 
> >>> whole layout and go back to TH.
> >>>
> >>> Opinions?
> >>>
> >>> Mike
> >>> _______________________________________________
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> >>> Synth-diy at dropmix.xs4all.nl
> >>> http://dropmix.xs4all.nl/mailman/listinfo/synth-diy
> >>
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