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Remoticon 2021 // Debra Ansell Connects PCB In Ways You Didn’t Expect

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“LEDs enhance the whole lot.” Phrases to stay by. Most the whole lot that Debra Ansell of [GeekMomProjects] makes is vibrant, daring, and blinky. However when you’re on the lookout for a easy string of WS2812s, you’re barking up the incorrect tree. In the previous few years, Debra has been making bigger and extra sophisticated assemblies, and that has meant diving into the mechanical design of modular PCBs. Within the course of Debra has give you some nice methods that you just’ll be capable to use in your individual builds, which she shared with us in a presentation during the 2021 Hackaday Remoticon.

She begins off with a fast overview of the state of play in PCB artwork, particularly of the fashion that she’s into nowadays: three dimensional constructions the place the bodily PCB itself is a sculptural factor of the mission. She’s crossing that with the favored triangle-style wall hanging sculpture, and her personal fascination with “internal glow” — side-illuminated acrylic diffusers. Then she begins taking us down the trail of creating her own wall art intimately, and that is the place it is advisable to hear up.

As an illustration, getting a PCB made with white soldermask — maybe since you like its reflective qualities — is dearer than commonplace inexperienced and even black. Debra’s hack? Silkscreen is free. Stable white silk over a black masks appears identical to a white PCB to us! She breaks down the retail costs of her supplies for us, evaluating PCB with acrylic. PCBs find yourself being about 50% dearer per sq. cm than uncooked acrylic inventory, however until chopping and shaping that acrylic is free, it’s in all probability a wash. Plus when you have any electronics that wants mounting, you would possibly as properly simply go along with the PCB.

The center of this discuss, although, is about one thing that’s not so high-tech, however is make-or-break for any mission that includes a number of working components: connectors. (Take a look at her tackle why looking for the right connector is like online dating!) After working by means of all of the design trade-offs, she comes up together with her personal.

Spoiler alert: the customized PCBs are related along with extra customized PCBs! The sandwich of acrylic standoffs, stress connectors, and PCB materials ticks all of the packing containers: mechanical stability, price range friendliness, and beauty.

Debra closes out with an summary of her more moderen work. You’ll be taught why to not use dollhouse hinges as connectors on a wearable bracelet, the professionals and cons of soldering PCBs collectively versus utilizing customized connectors, tips on how to make a snake out of boards related by customized slip rings, and even see a model new design: her Mild Tiles 2.0. When you’re not impressed to make one thing blink, or to make a modular development from a number of PCBs, we don’t know what it’ll take!

Debra has additionally posted up the talk’s slides if you wish to observe alongside at residence.

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