■ FIGURE 8. Jig oriented for soldering.
Note leaded components held in place
Surface-mount technology (SMT) has slowly replaced
traditional through-hole designs for many components. It
offers the advantage a of reduced footprint resulting in
higher circuit density, and is more conducive to automated
assembly and soldering. Through-hole technology remains
in use mainly for higher powered components and those
which require mechanical stability through the solder joint.
It also lends itself well to hand soldering and prototyping.
The jig described in this article can be used in several
different orientations and streamlines PCB assembly with
either type of component.
won’t need. If, for example, the
jig frame was reduced to
approximately 6” x 8” overall, then
only one two-foot piece of
aluminum extrusion would be
required, and two toggle clamps
would likely be sufficient to hold
the foam plate in place. The foam
could even be eliminated if you
work mainly with surface-mount parts or have other ways
to hold through-hole components in place.
The versatility of the T-slot system offers many
possibilities. Perhaps a miniature gooseneck lamp or
magnifier mounted to the soldering side of the jig? One
nice feature I noticed on the expensive professional units
was a pivoting system — the entire jig could be set on an
angle to face the user during soldering or assembly.
Even without all the bells and whistles, I can assure
you that having a proper PCB assembly jig goes a long
way toward making electronics a more enjoyable hobby.
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Noritake Co., Inc.
2635 Clearbrook Drive Arlington Heights, IL 60005