After looking into some articles about embedded linux, I came across a blog by Henrik Forsten, which I found really interesting and I thought it would be a good way to get into building, assembling and one day, designing some boards by myself.
I grabbed the design files from Henrick’s github, uploaded them to OSH Park, and ordered a set of 3. I also ordered a solder paste stencil from OSH stencils for the top layer (as I thought it would have been pretty tricky to apply paste via a stencil after the top layer had been populated.)
Setting up the stencil, by taping it to the desk
Line up the stencil, tape only one side, and add some paste
Spread the paste into the holes. Be careful not to lift up the stencil while spreading, otherwise the paste can spread over too much.
Carefully remove the stencil, and place the components with tweezers
Place the board into the re-flow oven. I taped down a thermal couple onto another PCB I used to prop up the board I want to re-flow
Try to get the board as level as you can, so the components stay in the middle when the solder re-flows.
I used Henrik’s re-flow board, running a python script to handle the PID control loop. A AU$30 oven from Kmart works pretty well.
The top layer, with all the SMD components in place. I decided to do the USB-A connector later by hand, to make adding the components to the bottom layer easier.
Applying the paste to the bottom layer by hand.