Given that I knew I would be out of town for most of this week on a field assignment, I wanted to get started right away with electronics production, something I have never done before. After the walkthrough on how to use the Modelo, I found the process to be relatively straightforward, as long as I followed the step by step instructions, which I have listed below. Even the sautering turned out much easier than I thought, as I first practiced many times on scrap PCB boards before working on my final. Though I have yet to finish troubleshooting my board, this is a good first step in designing my own electronics.
I began by following the instructions on Rob's website, and loaded the image of the board I wanted to fabricate
Once I had a complete board, I cleaned it off with sandpaper and began setting up the tools I needed to sauter. I used Rob's suggestion to write down all the components needed on an index card. Then, I placed a piece of double stick tape down, and taped on any components I needed, so I didn't have to worry about losing tiny pieces as I sautered. This greatly improved my workflow as I had enough to think about when sautering!
I have never sautered before, so I was definitely surprised at how quickly the process goes once you get into a groove. The only real trouble I had was with the tiny legs of the USB port and the microchip. I sautered a huge glob of sauter and learned to use the braid to remove excess sauter. Since I didn't get the timing right at first, I kept sautering the braid to the board, so that took a few tries before I got the rhythm down.
If I had more time, I would improve the shape of the X so that student work could be tacked onto each piece easily, or I would build the entire divider out of sturdier material so that it can last multiple uses.
There was nothing wrong with the voltage and the board and the microchip did not grow hot, but I need to do much more testing this week to figure out exactly why it didn't load the program.