poor man’s surface mount prototyping

Don’t want to send out for a PCB when you just have a couple surface mount parts that need prototyping? Make your own surface mount PCB. Dremel a copper-clad board into regions, cover them with solder, and then drop in components. You could only add solder under the exact component locations, but shellacking the whole board is more fun and gives you more flexibility.

  • First, sketch a quick diagram showing component locations and connected regions–the regions will be nodes in your circuit.


  • Next, transfer lines over to the copper with a sharpie and lightly dremel off the top copper layer.


  • Brush on some flux. If you use a thick enough solder, it may contain enough flux in the core already.


  • Now coat the regions with solder. The higher wattage the iron, the better, since you’re essentially soldering to a giant heat sink. A 30W will do the job, but it’ll take a while.


  • Add components:


One thought on “poor man’s surface mount prototyping

  • The idea itself is good but realization is a bit “rough around the edges”… What I’m trying to say is that it can be done much more precise and with a better use of space. Instead of drawing circuit on paper I use pencil to draw it strait on board. To make lines thiner i use handheld mill. Method is good enough to produce pads for SOIC-8, SOT23. Mixing SMD and DIL elements also isn’t a problem. Obviously it will always look like done by a mad scientist but still its a quick method.

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