How to Setup an SMD Workstation for Less Than $180

A project log for A Wearable, IoT+ANN Dev Board for Body Sensing

An integrated wearable IoT, Cloud, and Machine Learning Platform for Human Computer Interfaces

Dave NghiemDave Nghiem 02/27/2018 at 23:370 Comments

I got back this afternoon from a trip to see my folks to celebrate the Lunar/Chinese New Year, and guess what I found at my doorstep! The wonderful people at OshPark sent me my bright, new, and shiny printed circuit boards!

Next thing I'm going to do, is I'm going to follow this great "what to do after you get your PCB's," by Bhavesh Kakwani. 

While I was waiting for the PCB's to come in, I also went ahead and made the order at Mouser. And for a whole bunch of equipment from ebay. What I wanted to do was to put together a cheap, SMD/SMT soldering workstation for less than $180. To do that, you need the following.

Total cost of everything off of Ebay? About $161. You can go more or less depending on what you've got already available and what you think you can get away with. Remember, at the core of SMD soldering, you need to have close up viewing, rock solid steady holding of the circuit board, the ability to precisely apply heat whether by air or by iron, a way to have the solder slow smoothly, a way to hold the components and not lose them, a non static work area, and most importantly, good tunes.

Well, I need good tunes.

While waiting for the parts and gear to come in, I've been speccing out machine learning frameworks for use in the back end part of the system. This part gets a little hairy. One of things that's anticipated with Internet of Things devices is a deluge of data. And a lot of times, sifting through that data can get really crazy, which is why you'd want good pattern recognition systems in place. Other wise, what you're looking for could end up being the proverbial needle in hay stack. Speaking of a needle in a hay stack, something that I always wondered about whenever I heard that statement is, well, why not just use a magnet?

Deep Learning and Pattern Recognition is that magnet.

Next up, assembly of the boards, and becoming a Born Again Technologist!