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0603, 0402, 0201, Go!

Posted on June 02, 2015.

Milled PCB featuring 0201 resistors

In our last post we answered the question if Cirqoid can be used to prototype boards with 0402 components. We didn't have to wait long before we got the next logical question - is that the limit or can 0201 components be considered for use on Cirqoid? If in the case of 0402 we were expecting them to be handled without any noticeable issues, this time we weren't sure. So we quickly sketched a little PCB with a couple of 0201 resistors to find this out. We didn't have time for a board with some meaningful functionality, but to add an additional purpose to this little project we decided to answer another question, which we get occasionally - how small board can be made on Cirqoid.

The board that we made for this experiment measures 9x10mm. We feel like we could've gone even smaller with that. As to the 0201 resistors - milling of the landing pads didn't present any problems. Dispensing of the paste was also pretty straight-forward. When it came to the placement, we cheated and used a prototype of the microscope add-on for Cirqoid, providing an assistance in alignment of the components with the pads. The add-on is currently in development and is expected to be available soon. Using 27GA (transparent) needle the resistors didn't feel very stable when moving along the Z axis, prompting more angle correction then we anticipated. Other than that, the resistors were placed on their pads and after a while in the oven, the multimeter told us it's 20 kOhms between the pins (the resistors were 10k in series). If we were to place 0201s once again, we'd probably try a different needle to see if the process can be improved.

Mechanically etched PCB featuring 0201 resistors
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