Soldering through hole components onto printed circuit boards (PCBs) is a very useful skill to have and needed for many DIY projects. However, there are some components that do not have through hole versions and are only available as surface mount versions. Or, a project may need a smaller footprint using smaller components. In these cases, you will need to put aside your solder iron and use a reflow oven.
A reflow oven is used for soldering of surface mount electronic components onto PCBs. In the past, reflow ovens were large, expensive and limited to commercial units. With the popularity of the DIY movement, reflow ovens have come down in size and price to make them affordable to hobbyists. Some of these are available in kit form. Unfortunately, these kits require modifying a toaster oven's high voltage wiring and can take time to assemble.
The EZ Make Oven is just that: it's an easy to make reflow oven that requires no high voltage wiring and does not require any disassembly of the oven. The reflow oven can be put together in just a few hours with just some minimal soldering required. Other features of the EZ Make Oven include:
- Graphical display of solder profile graph
- Display of current stage and overlay of oven temperature with solder profile
- Beep notifications for each reflow stage
- Beep notification when reflow is complete and oven door can be opened.
Since the EZ Make Oven is using CircuitPython, these features are also available:
- Install new code easily with drag and drop updates
- JSON based solder profile files
- New solder profiles can be created using a text editor
- Drag and drop new solder profiles
- On-the-fly code customization (no compiling needed)
With the exception of the toaster oven itself, all the parts for this project are available at the Adafruit store. The PyPortal is used as the controller for the EZ Make Oven. It is an excellent choice for this project, as it provides a nice display with touch screen, ports for I2C and digital pins, and sound for notifications. The optional desktop stand provides a nice professional look for the PyPortal.