WORD OF WARNING, THIS IS LONG.
Anyway, Electronics, as stated before by many of my comrades around the globe, have all become the most important things in our daily lives. Cell phones, computers, TV's, keyboards, mice, speakers, everything all uses electricity and of course, SEMICONDUCTORS.
You could easily try and open up your phone, or your xbox, and there's hundreds of big, small, tiny, and huge black things lurking inside them. Those things have silicon, among other metals mashed together inside of them.
Asking around, and getting some odd looks, almost no one knows how a transistor works, a mosfet, or anything except for the most basic of electronic components, and even then that's a stretch.
This guide/bible to the almighty semiconductor will serve you well, hopefully.
Yeah, I wanna win a 3-D printer...(and maybe the laser pointer, but i won't be greedy or lie) I'd like to make encasements and parts for electronics, and not just make 3-D bunnies and boxes all day long like some other guy probably would. I'd like to actually put the thing to work, and make some decent cases out of it! Although my instructable isn't as great as Grenadiers one on HV, I hope that we'll both be able to interest the average person back into electronics and bring back the electrical curiosity that nearly everyone had back then, even if he didn't win. We'll hopefully find a way to do it. And, yes, I do know him, and he was okay with me doing this guide.
All I can really say is thank you for taking your time to read this, if you do. I put quite a bit of time into this instructable guide.
Please try and spread this guide around as much as you can!
And, I know fairly well that many of you instructable users won't be too interested in this because it's not ..."cool". And, I understand your point, to an extent. But, learning all of this allows you to DO cool stuff! It allows you to DESIGN your own cool stuff! Think about it; wouldn't you feel fantastic if you just discovered a new type of semiconductor, or a new way to use an existing one? What are semiconductors used for? Everything. High voltage is just one flashy thing, but seriously, you could make a new ...anything. A new transistor. And believe me when I say this ; anything new and amazing in the electronics world will be here to stay for a long. long. time.
That's why this guide is here. ^^
Step 1: Packages An' Stuff
Before I begin explaining all that silicon, I must say a word about packages.
Every semiconductor that I know of out there exists with several types of packages. These packages are what hold the little chip inside, and serve to allow us with our fat fingers to be able to use them in everything, and plus it makes it a heck of a lot easier, soldering wise.
Some packages have different pinouts. Usually it is wise to look up the datasheet of a particular semiconductor, to check the pins and see what leads where.
Smaller, unheat-sinkable diodes are usually in DO-xx packages. They look like little pills.
Larger diodes are in regular packages used by just about everything else, and are heatsinkable with the addition of the hole in the package.
MOSFET's, transistors, IGBT's, Voltage regulators, and certain diodes can all use the same exact package, for cost saving and ease of use, as most pinouts for a specific package are the same across the board, no matter the semiconductor.
The rule of thumb, heat sink wise, is the physically larger the package, the more heat it can dissipate. A small TO-220 package can usually dissipate around 50 watts, while larger TO-247's and TO-3 packages can dissipate upwards of 150 watts, or even 200 watts!
Whenever you heat sink something, be generous. It is much better to have an oversized heatsink, and a nice cool semiconductor, than a small undersized heat sink and a now melted blob of plastic stuck to it.
Fans also increase the power dissipation of everything. Use them if necessary.
Heat sink goop is very important, along with insulators, if you plan on using more than one semiconductor on one plate.
When applying heat sink stuff, be sure to use a small amount, usually about maybe 3/4's the size of a grain of rice, and screw on the semiconductor tightly. Using an insulator, like a Sil Pad (silicone pad), or a mica wafer, you need to apply roughly the same amount of stuff to BOTH sides, as this helps transfer heat better.
Insulators prevent semiconductors from being electrically connected, when they aren't supposed to. Most packages, at least most MOSFET, IGBT, and voltage reg packages have a metal backing to them; this increases heat transference, but they are often connected to some lead of the semiconductor. Therefore, use insulators to protect things from touching in bad ways.
First package is a TO-3PN package. Always has a metal backing, needs insulator if using more than one on a single heat-sink.
Second Package is a TO-220 package. This one happens to have a metal backing, so needs an insulator.
The package after that one, is a TO-92 package, for small signal transistors. They use no heatsink therefore require no insulators.
Package after that is a SOT-32 package. It has a small metal backing, and require an insulator.
5th Package is a TO-220 package, and has 4 leads. These types of packages can have a number of leads, actually. Plastic backing, needs no insulators, but can not dissipate as much heat as other types due to this.
6th package is a special variation of the TO-247 package, it just has longer leads than standard ones. They all have metal backings, and these can dissipate a good quantity of heat. These are also the more preferred package, because of their low inductance design when compared to the TO-3PN (whcih has that big metal flange on the back). Needs an insulator.
7th Package is a TO-264 package. This is the largest size out of none brick packages. These house the more power capable semiconductors, and can dissipate the largest amount of heat when compared to other packages. These have a metal backing, and from my experience, somewhat thin/weak leads. Be careful when handling these. Insulator is needed, as usual.
8t-9th package is a Dual Inline Package, or DIP for short. These are used all over for IC's and the like, and are easy to handle, easy to solder, and easy to kill, (they can't handle alot of power, or dissipate any power!). They come in two flavours, plastic, and ceramic. Ceramic IC packages are usually older, and can dissipate a little more heat, if any is generated, than the plastic variation. They can have as few as 6 pins, and range all the way up to 40+ pins, in microcontrollers.
The 10th and final package is a SOIC package. This is a Surface mount package, and these are an absolute pain to use, due to their size. A dollar bill is shown in the picture to give you a rough idea of just HOW small these suckers are. You can use them, but you need to usually either 1. Make a PCB specifically for them, or, if you're going to use them on a breadboard/perfboard, then 2. create a DIP package yourself. This can be done with a fine tip soldering iron, and a LOT of patience. There are quite a few instructables out there how to do this yourself in more detail.
There are more surface mount packages, and they all range in size, pin count, and pin spacing. Generally, the one with the largest size and largest pin spacing are the easiest to use. (still hard though).
There is another type of package, called a Ball grid array. These IC's are absolutely near impossible to work with, if you don't have the tools necessary to use them. Generally, avoid them, unless you KNOW what you're doing with them.
Thanks for fixing the notes by the way!