Ordering and Assembly

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The happiest place on earth

Uploading to OSH Park

We're finally ready to send the board out to be manufactured! This is maybe the best and worst part of the process; the best because you're finally going to be seeing the board in the real world and the worst because once you order, there will be a lot of sitting around waiting for the mail to arrive.

I'm going to show how to order your board from OSH Park because I think they make the process as easy as possible, they have excellent customer service, their boards are high quality, their prices are very reasonable, they have free shipping, and they arrive relatively quickly for the price. There are other options that you can investigate, but OSH Park does such a good job on smaller scale projects that I personally have yet to have a reason to get boards from anywhere else.

The first step is to go to the OSH Park login page and create an account. After submitting the form you will be send an email to the address you gave to verify your address. Follow the instructions in the email and you will be returned to the login page. Once you log in you will be taken to an account profile page. From here you can click on the OSHPARK logo at the top right of the page to go back to the OSH Park home page.

Once at The OSH Park home page, click the big Browse for Files button. This will open a window to select a file, and you'll want to navigate to where you saved your schematic and board file and select the board file.

After taking a bit of time to analyze the board file, you will be shown a summary of what the board will look like as well as the cost for having the board manufactured, including free shipping!

A name for the board will be automatically generated from the filename which you can change as well as giving a description of the board. Both of these fields are for your own use and often times I just leave them as they are.

Lastly you will be given a summary of the information extracted from the board file including the size and number of layers. Additionally if OSH Park detects any issues with your board it will give you warnings. A common (non-critical) warning is that you don't have a silk screen on one side of your board.

Unless there are any glaring errors at this point, click Continue and you'll be given a chance to review the board in more detail before ordering.

Verify the Layers


The next page will allow you to verify your design. Here OSH Park will show you images of different parts of the board along with some very useful instructions on how to assess each image that is shows you.

The main things that I will look at is that the silk screen looks how I would like it to look and that the copper layers don't look like there are any short circuits where copper is touching where it should not be. This is your last chance to review the design so it's worth taking a few minutes to double check everything.

Once you're happy with how things look, click the Order button.

Finalizing Your Order

The next page is where you'll decide how many copies of the board you want to order and if you want any optional services. For your first board, the only one I would consider is the Super Swift Service option that will double the price to reduce the time at the fab to about five days. Getting your boards back sooner is always nice and for smaller boards the price difference is minimal.

On the final two pages, you will provide your shipping information and provide payment. After that is complete, all you have to do is wait!  OSH Park will email you status updates about your order as it progresses onto a panel, to the fab and back, and when it's shipped.

Eventually after what will seem like forever, a beautiful purple package will arrive!

Inside you will find your boards! Take a moment to revel in your accomplishment. You made a thing!

Now we have to do a bit of work to make this thing you made do something. Time to put it together.

Assembly

We're almost to being able to put all the work we've done so far to use. The one last thing that we need to do is assemble the breakout board.

Because they were cut from a larger panel, your boards will likely have a few pieces of extra board still attached. If you have a file or sand paper you can put it on a flat surface and rub the board against it to remove the edges. 

 

Doing it this way rather than holding the abrasive and board in your hands will make it easier to not accidentally file off something you don't intend because you're not juggling two things at once.

If like me you've already assembled your Trinket with male headers, you can simply cut a larger female header into two pieces, one for each side of the Trinket's pins.

You will always lose one pin while cutting headers so make sure to cut on the pin one past the last one you need. Since we need five pins for each side of the Trinket, cut at the sixth pin from the end.

It can some times be tough to align headers correctly when soldering so you can use the Trinket to hold the headers in place while soldering. Simply flip the Trinket on its back and place the headers on the pins.

With the headers in place you can then place the board on the headers and solder the pins sticking through.

That trick won't work for the header for the INA219 breakout so you can instead use a sizable piece of Blue Tac or other similar reusable adhesive to hold the header in place while soldering.

Once you've soldered on your headers all that's left to do is to plug in the Trinket and INA219 Adapter, using the labels on the silk screen to align them correctly.

An interesting feature of a board like this is that it can be mounted either above or below the Trinket. To mount it above the Trinket, you'll need your Trinket to have stacking headers so that there are female headers on top of the Trinket for the adapter to plug into. If that's your intention you'll probably want to design your board slightly differently, lest you end up with and unwieldy beast:

If you're trying to keep it as small as possible, you can always just solder the breakout and board directly to the adapter:

This guide was first published on Feb 05, 2019. It was last updated on Feb 05, 2019.
This page (Ordering and Assembly) was last updated on Aug 09, 2020.