Surface mount soldering challenge

Ken from MakersBox created the SMD Challenge excellent project a few years back to test surface mount soldering skills, starting with a 1206 package all the way down to 0201. You can get the kit on Tindie and try yourself:

SMD Challenge

In trying to design a beginning surface mount kit, I began to wonder just how small a surface mount part you could hand solder. This project, as titled on, “An Unfortunate SMD Project“, is ultimately designed to make you fail.

In case you didn’t read the above description, let me reiterate: I can almost guarantee you will fail, even though I provide extra components so you can take more than one try.

Should you succeed, and that, as stated above, is unlikely, you are eligible for inclusion for the exclusive 0201 Club and a digital copy of a Certificate of Membership.

The Misery Edition starts with 0805 packages and a QFN20 chip which is much harder to hand solder. Since I haven’t found a 01005 LED yet to match the 01005 resistor, you get another 0201 LED, but this one is diffuse so you can’t tell the orientation visually. On the plus side, it has a switch to save battery power, and will indicate if a LED is installed backwards.

And new for 2020, the Bodge Edition uses 0603 parts, but is primarily designed to test your trouble shooting skills. The circuit board contains a number of common layout errors which must be fixed before the LEDs will flash in the correct sequence. A small section of 30 AWG “bodge” wire is included to help your will repairs. More details at

Surface mount soldering challenge

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