What is it?
This Instructable will give you all the files and information you need to make your own Arduino Compatible in small surface mount package.
It requires a board manufactured to about 9mil precision. I recommend having the board manufactured at BatchPCB.com, Sunstone.com or your favorite board house.
We will be using a hot plate reflow method. It's pretty easy and the components in this project tolerate the heat pretty well. I have not used a solder mask. Surface tension is your friend, but I did get some speckles on the boards and had to fix up one bridge. So feel free to make one if you know how. Solder masks won't be covered here. Note: The fine commentators over at Hack A Day noted that you can actually do this project with a regular soldering iron using a method called "Tack and Drag." So, if you don't want to get a hot plate and solder paste, you have choices. That's the magic of DIY.
Is this Instructable for you?
If you like Arduino and think you might like to learn how to do surface mount soldering, this is a great project to start with. If you don't know about Arduino, you should get a development board and try it out. This isn't a great beginner's Arduino Compatible. It needs an external voltage regulator and it's small form factor isn't as friendly as the full sized boards. If you ever built a breadboard Arduino you will feel right at home here.
Can I modify this Instructable to do something custom?
You could make an Arduino with an on board compass, or on board robot controls. If you know how to make something work with Atmega328 you can move it on board with these files as a jumping off place.
What good is an Arduino anyway?
Just search Instructables for "Arduino". This clone is really good for adding cores to existing projects or embedding in projects where space is at a premium.
What should I already know?
You should know your way around the Arduino IDE well enough to "burn the blink program" and have some practice wiring up an Arduino with simple circuits. It helps if you can already solder some. If you know how to make PCB's or have ever build a "boarduino" you will be fine.
You will need the ability to open a command prompt in windows (or Linux), change directories and run programs as directed. The directions assume you are running Windows. If you run Linux I have faith you will figure it out.
Is this physically demanding at all?
You will need decent eye sight, a fair amount of hand eye co-ordination and good fine motor control. The griddle is also hot, so parts of this are sweaty work despite being physically easy
Open source goodies
The board is open source with a Creative Commons non-commercial license. You can get the eagle files from GitHub if you want to modify the board or use it as a jumping off point for your own clone.
This looks hard but I want one, can I just buy one?
Yep, for sale from Rugged Circuits. Follow @dustin1970