I've had a bit of spare time these last two days and decided to tackle the Makerbot I ordered back in April. The kit comes completely disassembled down to the parts on the circuit boards.
The first part was to spray paint the body of the bot black. I'm planning to do green accents before final assembly. I can't have my mini cnc looking like everyone elses now can I?
Next was the large task of soldering together the 11 circuit boards.
Here are the three stepper motor driver boards parts.
This was way more surface mount soldering than I was willing to do! The makerbot instructions page recommends using the "hotplate reflow technique". The short of it involves squirting paste onto the circuit board carefully placing the components and cooking the board until the paste lightly sizzles. I was skeptical at first but $25 worth of hot plate and solder paste later it would seem this was the way to go.
The soldering went well until I lost a single surface mount capacitor which aren't things you can just run down to your local 5 and dime to pickup. I had some electronics laying around to gut looking for an identical one. In this case an XBox 360 HD-DVD drive was scalped for the replacement part. While I was there I pulled out a few limit switches and the laaaazor! I'll play with those another day.
Thus on I went with my reflowing. What happened late in the night I can't even begin to calculate the odds of. I lost this part
On this floor.
When I finally got all 11 boards assembled I dropped one on the floor. And the missing cap jumped up at me having been shaken loose by the gods!
I quickly snatched up the cap and my board! I don't know how much karma I burned but I'll take my cap back!
With all the boards ready to go I'm moving on to the software testing then assembling the main unit