After receiving at least 5 requests for the IO card, I finally got some time to sit down and design the prototype. I'm using mostly SMT parts on this board, so it took me a couple of nights in front of the layout software to get what I wanted, but I think it turned out quite nice.
This was also the first board that I etched using my new (ebay) magnetic stirrer/hot plate and the results were fantastic. I haven't received the stir bars that I ordered yet, but using heat alone, I'm guessing that the board etched in 1/3 as much time as it would have taken if I were to use the FeCl at room temp only.
Here you can see the board right after the swim; of course it is more of a hot-tub soak now than a swim. I was a bit nervous that I had the FeCl too hot and the toner would just melt and wash away, but even with the FeCl hot enough to steam, the toner remained intact.
The back side of the board.
Sweet! Now on to stuffing the board.
I haven't shown how I built the sweet new hot-air rework pen, but hopefully I'll get a chance soon to post pics on how I built this thing. It is kind of rough, but works great for SMT parts. Here you can see how I'm soldering down the SMT trasistors to the IO card.
Most of the parts are attached and you can really do some fine work on 0805 SMT packages with the hot-air pen.
Slightly different angle showing the parts laid out.
I found a couple of bugs in the layout, so my nice clean board is going to have a few blue wires on it. I guess that comes with the territority on these kinds of projects.