This project involves a lot of teaching an old company some new tricks, but there are a million things that could go wrong with this stunt! My goal was to keep costs low as we flush out a new process for doing things. Toaster Oven re-flow is just what it sounds like. Instead to spending $10K on a re-flow oven I did some reading and convinced my boss, Larry Skutchan, that we should at least try this. My yield stands at about 80%. We have prototyped this whole product in-house, the only thing we sent out were the board spins.
Here is the prototype fresh off the 3D printer! It was a real pleasure to work with Industrial Designer / Modeler Andrew Dakin and Industrial Engineer / 3D printer guru Andrew Moulton, they took some very primitive ideas and turned them into something awesome! It’s hard to see but the 26 keys across the top have the Braille letters of the alphabet on them.
This is the second board spin. I designed this board and product from scratch. I started with the data-sheets for the ST Micro chip, took some tips form the Olmex boards that featured a similar chip, crossed my fingers and it worked! I have used Eagle (very popular), and Altium (very complicated), and I even tried PCB (too primitive) but my favorite is kiCad (just right). I suspect Verilog can be used for PCB layout, it’s really for “programming” logic gates, but I have my suspicions that it could be a good choice for really complex PCBs.