First, this started out as a gift, and not an instructable. So please excuse some hand waving here and there as I do not have any pictures of the etching and drilling portions.
Second, this is for my dear dear wife. Yep, I got lucky enough to have a wife who likes to solder. We found out this summer when out of the blue she asked me if she could solder my RockSat PC board. We also are huge fans of snow flakes. We even had a snow flake themed wedding! Finally, this our 6th year of marriage, so what could be better than a 6 pointed snow flake!
Ok, so get ready, get set, Lets make one together!
Step 1: Get ready!
- Eagle CAD (if you design your own)
- Paint.Net (Photoshop or Gimp will work)
- Arduino IDE
- Windows Paint
- Arduino or Arduino clone
- LED’s. I was quite pleased with Microtivity LED’s.
- 0.1 male headers
- Soldering iron
- Clothes iron
- Something to cut the PCB (I used a bandsaw)
- Something to drill the PCB (I used a drill press)
Step 2: Design snowflake
If you like my original design you can skip this step and go straight to etching. I would like to guilt trip you a tad and remind you that every snow flake is unique. Copying violates that, but if you can live with it, so can I
Ok, so this process is more something that a graphics artist would be familiar with. For simplicity sake I spliced together a video that shows the process.
- Export PCB in eagle to clipboard
- Open paint.net and insert
- Find and open snowflake in Paint.Net
- Resize snow flake appropriately
- Create a new image with 3 layers, the black flake, traces in black, traces in white.
- Layers should go flake, white traces, black traces.
- Use a blur function to widen the white layer.
- Use magic wand to select widened traces.
- Use paint bucket to thicken up those traces.
- Save as bitmap!
Step 3: Etch the Board.
This is the first time I have etched a PCB, so rather than lead you down the wrong path, let me refer you to a GOOD instructable on this.
There are many good ones online.
- Clean board with steel wool.
- Print on special paper (Used avery label paper worked for me).
- Iron the design onto the board. Consult this video if you want to see it in action http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQupRXEqOz4
- Soak in water to remove the paper.
- Clean board again with acetone (I actually had to use steel wool again!)
- Place board in etchant
- Wait patiently.