Maker Project Lab
September 15, 2017 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: Tips, Tools Tags: , , , , , , ,

How to Make Beautiful Solder Joints

[Editors’ note: This same tutorial was originally published as an Instructable. I’m publishing it here for posterity.]

The quality and design of project boards has become so good in recent years, that I almost feel bad putting them together. In this guide, I’m going to show you a simple soldering technique that can make the back of your boards look as nice as the front. You’ll learn how to make perfectly smooth, consistent solder joints that look impossibly tidy.

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July 28, 2016 0 Comments AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: Kits, News, Project Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tap Sensor Kit Blends Vintage Circuit With Fresh Design

Tap Sensor PCB with backlight
The Tap Sensor from Boldport. Photo by Donald Bell.

Boldport’s Tap Sensor project is a beautiful refresh of a project that first appeared in the premier issue of 1974’s Elektor magazine. The organic lines of the circuit board traces — a hallmark of Boldport’s design aesthetic — look right at home on this retro project, which is largely unchanged from the original ‘70s design.

The kit includes the bare board, a few stickers, a printed link to project information, and all of the electronic components you’ll need to complete the board. In order to functionally demonstrate the project you will also need three LEDs, a breadboard, some hookup wire, female-male header wires, and a 5v power supply. If you’ve completed Boldport’s Cordwood Puzzle project, you can also hook the Tap Sensor directly to it with some header wires and skip the breadboard and LEDs.

Boldport Tap Sensor Kit Contents
The Boldport Tap Sensor Kit comes with the beautiful custom PCB and all of the components you’ll need to complete the project. Photo courtesy of Boldport.

Because Boldport’s boards are so thoughtfully labeled on the underside with component outlines and reference numbers, the project basically revolves around correctly placing and soldering things, with bonus points for clean, tight work that can complement the beauty of the board.

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