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  • Solder Reflow Oven (for Less Than $100)

    I think you have misunderstood me! The use of an Arduino is a very good idea. What I was saying was that you could have got so much more out of it than you have. Rather than just switching on, heating up and cooling down, it would be very easy to program the Arduino to follow the correct heating and cooling profile recommended by the manufacturers for surface mount components.

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  • Solder Reflow Oven (for Less Than $100)

    A couple of things spring to mind.First, I'm not sure that a thermistor is the best thing to use here. Although they are probably OK up to around 300°C, putting it directly in the path of infra-red radiation from the elements may well be too much for it. I used a thermocouple for my version of this project - safe up to 1000°C!Second, the wire connecting the thermistor to the unit will need to be capable of withstanding that temperature as well - this is another advantage of using a thermocouple as they are usually connected via glass-fibre covered wire.Third, it seems a terrible waste to use an Arduino to control this and yet not to use it to follow a typical recommended profile for SMD components. Just heating from cold to melting temperature may well work in many cases, but it is t...

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    A couple of things spring to mind.First, I'm not sure that a thermistor is the best thing to use here. Although they are probably OK up to around 300°C, putting it directly in the path of infra-red radiation from the elements may well be too much for it. I used a thermocouple for my version of this project - safe up to 1000°C!Second, the wire connecting the thermistor to the unit will need to be capable of withstanding that temperature as well - this is another advantage of using a thermocouple as they are usually connected via glass-fibre covered wire.Third, it seems a terrible waste to use an Arduino to control this and yet not to use it to follow a typical recommended profile for SMD components. Just heating from cold to melting temperature may well work in many cases, but it is trivially simple to program the Arduino so that it heats fairly rapidly to 120°C, pre-heats for 60 seconds, allowing the solvent to evaporate, heats slowly to 180°C, to allow for flux activation, then heats to quickly to (say) 220°C for 10 - 30 seconds before switching off. For my unit, I then open the door about 2cm at the top which allows a cool-down rate of around 3 - 5 °C per second, as recommended to control the grain size. I think leaving the door shut might keep the devices at too high a temperature for too long which could adversely affect the joint reliability.Just some thoughts!

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  • Printing Custom Circuit Boards With a 3D Printer

    Ican't believe I have not thought of this before! I have tried making PCBs by fitting a laser to the 3D printer and using it to expose photo-resist. It works quite well, but you need to get the speeds right. I have also mounted a Dremel-type drill and tried milling the copper, but it's difficult to get the repeatability right (due to backlash, I suspect) and bed-levelling is a pain. I must try this metjhod, though I have come across the 'leaching' problem before when using permanent marker to infill large areas. And you're rifght - going over it again actually makes it worse as it seems to dissolve what's alreadt there!

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  • PhilTilson commented on sbkirby's instructable Drill Press Laser Guide4 months ago
    Drill Press Laser Guide

    Why? You have failed to read the calibrfation instructions correctly (as did I originally!). If you follow theswe, then the system is right for any thickness of target.Or are you colmplaining about something else?

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  • PhilTilson commented on Johan Link's instructable Ball Balancing PID System4 months ago
    Ball Balancing PID System

    I don't usually comment on Instructables, but this is a beautiful piece of work. Very impressive and should, perhaps, be used in schools to help teach robotics, mathematics, statics, dynamics, AI etc. Well done!

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  • PhilTilson commented on gibetto's instructable (UNS)TABLE Wooden Coffee Table6 months ago
    (UNS)TABLE Wooden Coffee Table

    Despite the author's confident statement at the beginning, I can't believe this is REALLY stable! It is also VERY heavy, so if it were to fall over - if a child bumped into it, for example, it could cause some serious damage!One thought that occurs to me is that it could be a lot cheaper - and a lot lighter - if some of the smaller panels were to be cut out of the larger panels - in other words, cut each layer, except for the top and bottom, of course, as a 'frame', maybe a couple of inches wide. The inside of the table would therefore be hollow, which would allow the location of a very heavy lump of iron, lead or concrete to be placed in the base. Now that would be REALLY stable!

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  • How to CORRECTLY Braze (SILVER SOLDER) a Copper Pipe

    Rubbish! The author got it absolutely right. This from Wikipedia:Brazing is a metal-joining process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal into the joint, the filler metal having a lower melting point than the adjoining metal.Brazing differs from welding in that it does not involve melting the work pieces and from soldering in using higher temperatures for a similar processYou were confusing brazing and welding. If you are going to criticise, at least get your facts right!

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  • DIY Grid Tied Inverter (doesn't Feed the Grid) UPS Alternative

    Blocking diodes? In an AC circuit? Erm...

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  • Poor Man's Google Glass/Aid for Those With Tunnel Vision

    My copyright rates are very reasonable! :-)

    When I saw the first picture, it put me in mind of an old photo of me with the "original iPod" - taken around 1957! However, having read the purpose of the project, it seems a very interesting way of helping to alleviate a difficult problem for elderly people. Well described.

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  • How to Surface Mount Solder Using Solder Paste

    I'm not sure I would agree with the last two comments. You can just about get away with it for SOIC-8 chips, if you have a VERY fine soldering tip and a steady hand, but when it comes down to SSOPs, where the inter-lead spacing is barely half a millimetre, I'd go for the solder paste solution every time!The only thing I would say is to be very careful with the hot air gun. It's easy to go WAY over the maximum temperature of the chip with those. I still prefer the oven approach. I modified a £17 toaster oven very easily and can now make perfect SMD boards virtually every time.

    No John, I've read lots of 'ibles, but never created one yet!Maybe it's time....Phil

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