It happens that you find interesting pieces at local fairies. In this case I bought some LCD displays for 1€ each. 
Since I wanted to connect them to a breadboard to make prototypes or test some features or codes, I needed to solder many wires to the tiny LCD contacts, or making a PCB to connect those contacts to larger pins. I went for the second way and I managed to be very accurate to avoid short circuits between the thin pads, I'll show you the entire process.

Step 1: references

With a fast research I discovered that the LCDs are very common 16 characters 2 lines MC1602X serie display. They are also compatible with the Hitachi HD44780 driver, so I can easily control them with Arduino libraries.
The 15 pins have a spacing of 1/20 inch, half the distance between common through-hole components and breadboards holes. To know the pins labels I've found this datasheet by Everbouchet/Wayton in internet, which is more likely referring this exact display module.
You can buy specialized drill bits for drilling PCBs; they really don't cost that much, either, under $1 each.
I didn't knew that... thanks!
I recently purchased a set of ten 0.8-mm re-pointed carbide bits from Drill Bit City for $8.65. I've been very happy with the performance, they are 'Made in USA' if that makes a difference to anyone (i.e., not drop-shipped from China), they offer new bits as well as a lot of other carbide drilling/routing tools, and shipped the same day as ordered. I use them in my Dremel tool, and use Dremel's plunge router as a drill press (it's what I have/don't want to buy the drill press). I have had trouble with dulling of HSS bits followed by ripping-out my etched pads. <br>And no - I don't work there - I'm just saying... drillcity.stores.yahoo.net/
NOOO! That's ALL WRONG! That type of drill bits should never, ever be used with a hand tool. They need to be held very steady, and need to be almost exactly perpendicular to the surface drilled. A drill press is needed in order to use that type of bit correctly. I am surprised they haven't snapped yet from the abuse; if you continue doing it that way I guarantee that they will.
<p>A year later - two bits have broken, just returned 8 for re-tipping after around 1,000 holes drilled... Notice that I indicated I'm using a plunge router as a simple press, secure the work appropriately, and run the Dremel at a suitable rotation rate. </p><p>As with any fine machine work, it's important to learn the &quot;feel&quot; of your tools and how they respond to the work. I typically drill holes freehand these days, against your best advice:</p><blockquote>I am surprised they haven't snapped yet from the abuse <br></blockquote><p>A craftsman does not abuse his/her tools or work.</p>
What program opens your .dip file that was in the Zip archive? I've been using Eagle CAD for my pwb work.
I also tested Eagle, but then I tried <a href="http://www.diptrace.com" rel="nofollow">DipTrace</a>, after a good review by <a href="http://www.eevblog.com" rel="nofollow">www.eevblog.com</a>&nbsp;and I like it more, so I've used that software.
Whoa! <br>Great ible! <br>Congratulations!
That, Sir, is excellent workmanship. I wish my hands were that steady. <br>
Hi Andrea <br> <br>I am really impressed about your instructable <br>This will help me very much with my projects. I just try the iron technique with a lot of different papers -as you suggested too- and experienced that siliconized paper works best to transform the toner to copper. You can find this paper at the backside of self adhesive paper labels e. g. parcel labels <br> <br>Yours Aeon Junophor
Aeon, I will never get tired to repeating how much your steampunk projects are AWESOME! I really <u>LOVE</u> the plasmabeam lamp, the plasmabeam generator, the nixie tube cryptographer, the plasma bulbs... and many others! Being helpful to your works is an huge gratification, and thanks for the hint, I will try that paper.
very cool! my problem goes one stage beyond that. I have to make a controller board. Yikes!
Bravo Andrea!
An essential trick to solder trough-hole components: <u>heat the pin and the trace, not the tin!</u> Push hard the soldering iron head against the pin and the pad, then approach with tin wire from the opposite side, try to wait the right time to heat both pin and pad, and be fast to cover them with welded tin. It's not essential you cover the pad all around, only one side is good, it's essential that tin is glossy and it adheres on both pin and pad.<br> <br> Another trick: use a flux core tin wire and apply soldering paste on old or dirty pins, this will help you a lot!
Can you do an instructable on how you solder those tiny connections so perfectly? I've never been able to get that part right, no matter how many hours I spend practicing...it always ends up shorting across when the connections are so close.
Granted that I don't think to have made a perfect work, and I'm sure I could have done better, yes I can certainly write an ible about the technique I learnt from other instructables members and from many video on internet. I'll pm you meantime, so to make practice for the ible ;-)
that is cool, like it. for better result of iron step, u can use some oily thinner.
Thanks! Can you explain how to use oily thinner? Between toner and copper?
yes, oily thinner make copper to better hold ink.
That's great, I'll try certainly! Thanks!

About This Instructable


187 favorites


Bio: I'm an Italian freelance structural engineer, graphic designer and photographer. I'm also investigating electronics, robotics and science in general. I enjoy hacking and ... More »
More by andrea biffi: engrave personalized stamps deckchair with baby version small folding table [UPDATED]
Add instructable to: