May 19, 2016

Prototyping

solder paste microscope SMT prototyping

Placing a high power LED on freshly stenciled solder paste under a microscope

Prototyping Deliverables

For a hardware prototyping project, you can expect to receive a working prototype set, with an operating manual for reference. Any hardware modifications will be done during debug, and documented. The prototype may be an experimentation platform containing multiple options, parts selections etc. It could also be a close model of the final product, with correct sizes and placements.

This is up to you – we’re happy to provide multiple prototype iterations¬†as the specification matures.

The deliverables for this stage are totally dependent upon the plan from the engineering stage.

Deliverables would also include a preliminary bill-of-materials, initial supplier list, with multiple sources and part alternatives. Ultimately your choice of board assembler and supply chain will be the deciding factor, but we can certainly give you a head start on the route to manufacturing.

 

 

assembled prototype SMT through hole

Early customer prototype, hand assembled, with debug features fitted

Construction Methods

Prototypes can be hand made, both traditional through-hole design, or doubled-sided surface mount designs. Laser cut solder paste stencils will be made. This allows oven-based and hand held hot-air reflow soldering to be undertaken.

For more complex needs, we can work with your preferred board assembly house to assist them where needed.

PCB manufacturers will be chosen with RoHS compliance as a requirement. Additionally components and assembly materials will be RoHS compliant. Lead-Free solder will be used as standard.

After assembly, boards are cleaned ultrasonically with solvent to remove solder flux marks. This gives them a clean, presentable finish.

 

Next Steps

After the bugs are corrected and any further customer changes are implemented, a final version fit for production prototyping can be produced.

It is wise to make a production prototype to check the mechanical parts fit correctly, and to create prototypes for further internal development reasons, such as reliability testing and CE compliance verification.

production_rear_50pc

Pre-production prototype close to final product, debug features removed and replaced with surface test pads

 

production_front_50pc

Top surface showing detailed thermal design