From Ben James on the Hackaday blog:
There are few scenes in life more moving than the moment the solder paste melts as the component slides smoothly into place. We’re willing to bet the only reason you don’t have a reflow oven is the cost. Why wouldn’t you want one? Fortunately, the vastly cheaper DIY route has become a whole lot easier since the birth of the Reflowduino – an open source controller for reflow ovens.
This Hackaday Prize entry by [Timothy Woo] provides a super quick way to create your own reflow setup, using any cheap means of heating you have lying around. [Tim] uses a toaster oven he paid $21 for, but anything with a suitable thermal mass will do. The hardware of the Reflowduino is all open source and has been very well documented – both on the main hackaday.io page and over on the project’s GitHub.
The board itself is built around the ATMega32u4 and sports an integrated MAX31855 thermocouple interface (for the all-important PID control), LiPo battery charging, a buzzer for alerting you when input is needed, and Bluetooth. Why Bluetooth? An Android app has been developed for easy control of the Reflowduino, and will even graph the temperature profile.
When it comes to controlling the toaster oven/miscellaneous heat source, a “sidekick” board is available, with a solid state relay hooked up to a mains plug. This makes it a breeze to setup any mains appliance for Arduino control.
Dan Maloney on the Hackaday blog:
Simple Mechanism Gives Support for SMT Assembly
To fight the shakes, you can do one of two things: remove the human, or improve the human. Unable to justify a pick and place robot for the former, [Tom] opted to build a quick hand support for surface-mount work, and the results are impressive considering it’s built entirely of scrap.
It’s just a three-piece arm with standard butt hinges for joints; mounted so the hinge pins are perpendicular to the work surface and fitted with a horizontal hand rest, it constrains movement to a plane above the PCB. A hole in the hand rest for a small vacuum tip allows [Tom] to pick up a part and place it on the board — he reports that the tackiness of the solder paste is enough to remove the SMD from the tip.
Everyone needs a helping hand in the shop once in a while, and most of us have gone the traditional route and bought one of those little doohickies with the cast iron base and adjustable arms terminated in alligator clips.
via Coolant Hoses Retasked to Lend a Helping Hand — Hackaday
Timothy Woo has launched a Indiegogo campaign to manufacture his open-source, Arduino-compatible, wireless PCB reflow oven controller:
Reflowduino is the first completely open-source, Arduino-compatible reflow oven controller of its kind that enables practically anyone to assemble their own beautiful circuit boards at home!
Reflowduino comes loaded with features, all in a compact Arduino-compatible package, with full documentation, example code, demo app, and comprehensive wiki on Github.
Reflowduino is designed to be extremely easy to use! The general concept is to switch the power of the appliance on or off with a solid-state relay as shown below, measuring the temperature by placing the thermocouple tip inside the oven during the whole process.
If nothing else, please share this campaign to your friends, family, and anyone who might be interested on social media! Remember that every view counts for me, and I’m depending on you to make this happen!
Dan Maloney writes on Hackaday about Timothy Woo’s Reflowduino:
Face it — you want a reflow oven. Even the steadiest hands and best eyes only yield “meh” results with a manual iron on SMD boards, and forget about being able to scale up to production. But what controller should you use when you build your oven, and what features should it support? Don’t worry…
Dubbed the Reflowduino for obvious reasons, Timothy Woo’s Hackaday Prize entry has everything you need in a reflow oven controller, and a few things you never knew you needed.
Sean Hodgins has a great tutorial on surface mount soldering:
I feel like surface mount soldering has a bad reputation. It can seem daunting to someone who has never tried it. Since a lot of my project involve using surface mount components, I thought it would be a good idea to make something to inspire people to try it out (without risking expensive components or their custom project).
Decide how you want to assemble your SMD Challenge Kit (re, the video) you can choose to use a soldering iron, or a reflow oven. They take about the same amount of time but using the soldering iron can be a little more challenging and doesn’t require a cheap toaster oven.