I’m ready to make a permanent version of my DTMF detector. I’m only going to build 2, maybe 3, of these so it’s not worth it to me to design and manufacture a PCB for the project.
Instead, I decided to build the project on stripboard, like this, using VeeCad to layout the components.
I’ve used stripboard on a few small projects in the past and documented my process here, which includes instructions on making a reaming tool:
As I reviewed my old process, I recalled that it was quite tedious to correctly ream the stripboard and then get the components into the correct position.
After doing the design, I printed it out to make sure all of the components fit the footprints I had specified:
This is when I had my ‘EUREKA’ moment. Yesterday I was cleaning out all of my photo paper and noticed I had 8×11.5 vinyl stickers I had never used. I could print the design on the vinyl, stick it on the board and use it for component placement:
Further, I could print a template for the back of the board to use to ream out the copper strips. Here, I’ve attached the template to the back of the stripboard and started reaming out the X’s:
The completed board came up on the first try!
Here are some additional notes:
- Place X marks at the corners of the design.
- Print front of board to vinyl sticker. Cut sticker to just beyond the X marks.
- Holding sticker to board, align X marks to board, then create a hinge using tape.
- Flip sticker up on hinges, remove backing, then flip back down into position – I start applying pressure at center and work out.
- Print the back of the board on normal copy paper, and tape it to the back. Punch a paper clip thru several holes to verify both templates are aligned.
- Take reaming tool and begin reaming out X’s on the back of the board. Pull off mask, check reams visually. Then check with continuity tester to be sure they were all reamed properly.
- Use a paper clip to punch out holes where all leads will be placed AND the X’s to make sure residue is removed from hole. I find it easier to go down columns rather than across rows.
- Any drilling required should be done now before adding components.
- Solder wires, resisters, diodes, caps, other stuff… essentially in order from shortest to tallest.
Now to get it all to fit into a little box…