My evolution of building electronics went the same way like everyone's else...
Moving towards soldering on perfboards
Creating my own thou hole PCB
But the time comes when you need to put on big boy or girl pants and start experimenting with SMD components. There are 3 problems that stop people from throwing themselves into the great and wonderfull world of SMD.
- Scared of soldering the tiny SMD components.
- Having what to solder the components on.
- People don't like change...
Step 1: Soldering SMD Components
There are some great youtube videos on the mechanics of soldering components. Depending on the soldering skills here is the list of the components sizes that are suitable...
Here is one of the better videos made in 2007 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NN7UGWYmBY
SOIC - All kinds of goodies come in this package
SOT223 - power and other things
1206 and bigger - Resistors and capacitors
HC49 - Oscillator
0603 and 0803 - Resisots and capactors
I get a machine to do it
0201 capacitors and resistors
SC70 QFN and BGA
Step 2: Soldering SMD on Something
Now you watched the videos and chosen some new cool components but now you need something to experiment on. There are couple of options here...
You can solder tiny wires to the ends of the component....
Or etch your own PCBs
But there are some more civil ways of doing it, one is using SMD breakout boards they are nice little smd to through-hole converters or use SMD Prototyping board that gives you access to the most used SMD sizes.