Introduction: Perfboard Solder Pads

About: Retired Aircraft Maintenance Manager/Technition.

Like all Electronic hobbyists and tinkerers I use Perfboard for that important step between Breadboard and PCB. In fact most of my projects don't make it to the PCB stage.

Perfboard is just great but one drawback that I have found is that any electronic components with short contacts are challenging to solder to. I usually carefully solder thin wires onto the contact and then make any further hookup onto that wire. Unless the wire is long, even using a heat-sink, the solder can melt and the wire will come off. A couple of retries usually results in melted perfboard contaminating the joint.

This Instructable shows how to make little solder pads which give a nice large area to solder to and gives excellent results.

Step 1: What You Need

  1. - Plastic Lid from Dairy Product Container.
  2. - Copper Foil - 36 gauge .005" obtainable from craft shops.
  3. - PCB Assist Tool or any pointed tool, scriber, Ice-pick..... etc.
  4. - Flux Core Solder - fine.
  5. - Scrap of Perfboard.
  6. - Tweezers.
  7. - Rotary Leather Punch.
  8. - Soldering Iron - Fine Tip.

Step 2: Prepare Foil & Plastic Punch Backing

  • Using a pair of scissors, cut a 2" square out of the plastic lid. This will act as backing for the Rotary Leather Punch.
  • Scuff up the Copper Foil with fine steel wool just enough to remove the patine.

Step 3: Punch Out a Copper Pad

  • Select the desired size of punch by rotating the punch head until the correct size mates with the anvil of the tool. Use the largest practical for your application as it is easier to work with larger pads than smaller. Without the work in place squeeze the punch to make sure that the punch die mates perpendicular to the anvil.
  • Release the squeeze and place the copper foil backed with the plastic pad between the punch jaws.
  • Firmly squeeze the handles until you feel the punch cut through the pad. Relax the squeeze slightly just enough to turn the work through 90 degrees without deforming the copper foil. Squeeze again and repeat another 90 degrees. This will ensure that the punch cuts through all the way around the pad if your punch is old like mine.
  • Release the handles and remove the foil/pad work from the punch
  • The copper disk (pad) should now be inside the punch die - Poke a short length of wire through the oposite die and through the used die. Remove the copper pad with a pair of tweezers and place it on the perfboard scrap.

Step 4: Punch the Hole and Place on Contact

  • Using the PCB Assist tool carefully center the pad over a Perfboard hole and stab it.
  • Remove the skewered pad and transfer it to the contact pin using the tweezers.
  • press down with the pointed tool to seat the pad nicely.

Step 5: Solder Pad in Place

  • CAUTION - Use normal precautions for soldering - eye, respritory and skin protection and adequate ventilation.
  • With a steady hand touch the Soldering Iron to the pad and contact while adding the flux cored solder - 1 sec is enough. If it displaces when you remove the iron use the pointed tool and another touch with the iron. Remove the iron and wait a second before removing the point (it wont stick to it).
  • Repeat for all other contacts which will be used for your project.

Step 6: Completed Project

  • The first picture above shows all 8 pads soldered into place for this demo relay.
  • The second pic shows an actual project where I have used the solder pads.
  • Also notice that I use Copper Foil for positive and ground buses on my projects.

    I hope that you find this Instructable of help - Please don't tell me that you can buy ready made pads for $2 a thousand on eBay :-)