josh ingram

mas.863 how to make


making the pcb consisted of 3 main mains

milling back to top

the milling process was quick and easy using the Modella. i used a 1/64" bit to mill the paths followed with a 1/32" to cut out the board. as long as the board is fixed securely and level, the bit is sharp and you don't try to cut too deep it should be a quick 15 minute process.

soldering back to top

soldering is something that requires practice. once you learn the tricks, this part becomes quite simple as well. soldering surface mount components is still quite tough so here is a list of quick tips that i find helpful

  • secure the board down with double stick tap
    • you will be turning the board around, several times so don't "lock it down". you just want it to be lightly tacked down
  • tin the soldering iron
    • it transfers the heat so much better, you'll notice a difference
  • always add a little solder to the pad first
    • then you don't need 3 hands, you can set the chip in the solder and align it quickly

programming back to top

now this is the part that scares people away from making their own pcb and why boards like arduino are so popular. why is this process so convoluted and confusing, i don't know, but there are several factors that i see as turn offs.

  • open source
    • open source is great in theory, but unless you are an expert you will not know everything that is going on and when something goes wrong (and it will) you will have to traverse a world full of trolls and mules ( trying to get a simple answer.
  • os confusion
    • unless you are familiar with and have install every os you will be left out. if the utility is not designed for your os, you have 2 options: give up or switch operating systems.
  • software meets hardware
    • this is literally the point were software meets hardware. unless everything works perfectly, you run into a very rare problem. there is no real way to debug the problem. it is a trial and error (literally) until it just works.

in the end, if you are lucky, you get a working board.


After i had my board working i decided to try to make the design Andy Bardagjy created. it gets rid of the mini usb and instead plugs directly into a usb port.