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Red Robots and Drinks Coasters!

Having challenged myself to make my first robot I placed an order for 15 circuit boards. On the 29th of January I received my first batch of 15 'drink coasters'. If you would like to buy one feel free to get in touch! How did my robots turn into coasters?


Lesson Number 1: When downloading open hardware files make sure that ALL the files are the latest version. 

Check, double check and check again before you click on order, buy or get anywhere near the checkout. If you  the don't you may end up with circuit art. 

It is not that I didn't look at the files before I ordered them it's just that I hadn't realised I could open all the files simultaneously in my gerber viewer. 

Thankfully 3pcb.com have a hands on approach that goes beyond simply making what you ask for and extends to checking your files.


When I asked them to print a stencil that didn't match the board they explained the problem. 


Karen Lin got back to me with this picture showing me the difference between the solder mask layer .GTS and the top paste layer .GTP.  

Even when I found out my red boards were obsolete I still felt really attached to them. In fact I carried them around in my hand bag for more than a week. 

This served two purposes. I could show people what I was going to make and the cool thing I had already done; made my own circuit boards. That just wouldn't have been possible a few years ago, at a price I could afford.

By sharing I found out more information about the next stage of the process. I would need some more changes to the files, perhaps a bigger battery pad and to increase the solder mask layer around the DFN. Since I hadn't ordered a DFN I was a bit confused but when another colleague mentioned it too I looked it up and discovered that they were referring to fixing the motor driver component. Since I wasn't going to use a automated process or a 'pick and place' machine like they did in the original Harvard buildit made sense to amend the design to make it easier to build. I was planning something between cooking it up in my own kitchen and trying convince someone with a reflow machine to hold my hand whilst making the first board. 

Now I have all of the latest files and persuaded a friend to tweak the design so I am ready for another run! 

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