As we didn’t want to wait for professional PCB assembly, we assembled the first batch of 35 OpenPCR boards ourselves. It took some time but came out decently. The biggest difficulty was soldering the H-Bridge IC, which has three large power connections on the bottom of the package, plus fine pins all around it. We managed that by effectively doing reflow soldering with solder paste and a toaster oven, and then soldering the through-hole components afterwards.
The OpenPCR PCB
That's one large Arduino shield
As much fun as that was, I’ll let a pick and place robot do it next time. I’ve been looking at Screaming Circuits for PCB assembly in the ~100 unit range, though please feel free to suggest any other companies in the comments.
Many thanks to Eri Gentry and Will Reinhardt for helping pack the first batch of OpenPCR kits. We counted, double counted, bagged, and labeled thousands of parts, everything from the shoulder bolts in OpenPCR’s heated lid, laser cut cases from Ponoko, and individual screws and nuts.
Eri and Will
Working late into the night
It’s no secret that we’re fast approaching the shipment of our Kickstarter and pre-order OpenPCR kits. But today marked a new milestone: the first assembly of an OpenPCR by someone other than Tito or myself. Eri Gentry was kind enough to spend the day assembling an OpenPCR and giving feedback on our instructions, which we’ll role into the final printing. Here she shows off the completed unit, which will be housed at the BioCurious hackerspace:
The boxes you see in the background are OpenPCR components for the first kits. We’re just awaiting one more shipment from China (expected next week), and making some final software changes, and then these boxes are out the door.