sensor hub, prototype v02

sensor hub, prototype v02

The results of my homemade PCB experiment were extremely successful.  hub v02 features 4 USB female USB ports, with access to 3 pins, as well as the casing for ground.  In the images here, you can see I will be using rainbow wire to connect the hub to the Arduino.  The USB ports are surface mount, meaning they are meant to be soldered by a machine, not a human (the pins are tiny for space reasons).  Nevertheless, I was able to solder them myself, and quite successfully.  I think I can even make the boards smaller, but even at this size they will fit inside the enclosure. Success!

The process began with a copperplate fiber-glass board, which I spraypainted black. I then used the laser cutter at school to remove the negative space, leaving copper only where I did NOT want it. I took this board and let it sit in a bath of ferro chloride for about 20 minutes.  Finally, I removed the excess paint with paint remover, and voila, I had my boards.  I will post more about the process on my personal blog, it was fun, and I can’t wait to make v03.

In keeping with the opensource nature of this project, I wrote an Instructable about this process that I have somewhat perfected after creating 5 different versions of this board. It was featured on Instructables.com in January 2010, and there is a nice discussion about using a laser cutter to prototype printed circuit boards in the comment section.

A complete picture set of the process can be seen on this flickr album.