Computing stuff tied to the physical world

JeeLink assembly line

In Hardware on Oct 3, 2009 at 00:01

Here’s a peek into the Jee Labs kitchen:

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This is my – tada! – JeeLink assembly line. A factory in-a-box, so to speak.

I keep this box stored away for when I need to make a new batch of JeeLink v1′s. Usually I assemble 1, 2, or 3 panels at a time – depending on how many parts I have available at that moment. Each panel has 4 JeeLinks.

From top left to bottom right, sort of:

  • Small containers with the parts required for the board. Many of the parts are so tiny that you could actually put thousands of them in these little boxes. Some parts, such as the USB plug and the ATmega chips are a bit larger.
  • The syringe with lead-free solder paste, as well as a few plastic syringe tips. Got this from Farnell – nowadays I use the stencil so these are no longer used really. The solder paste is in a jar, stored in our fridge in the garage.
  • Cotton dabs – used with a bit of alcohol to clean off the boards after use. Not needed for the solder paste, but if I have to wick off some excess solder, the wick leaves a very ugly residue. Alcohol stored elsewhere, I don’t want the bottle to leak in here!
  • The stencil and the little adapter I made to hold a panel of 4 JeeLinks.
  • Toothbrush, goes along with the cotton dabs to clean up.
  • On the right is the – ahem – “squeegee” I use to apply solder paste. At first I thought it’d be completely unsuited for this task, but it actually works surprisingly well.

The most important items are actually not in this box, because I use them for everything on a daily basis – an illuminated magnifying glass, very thin tweezers, a “third hand”, and a 15W (yes, 15!) soldering iron:

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Take away any of these and there would be no Jee Labs.

So if you ever get pre-assembled units from the shop with smd parts soldered onto them, you can now picture yours truly with something like this sitting next to me…

  1. We could picture you except that I don’t think that this blog has given any indication of what you look like.

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