In the past week an addition has been made to the equipment we use here at MeArm. Say hello to Gregg, our own specially hacked Argos value-range toaster oven.
With the aid of an Arduino Uno, Gregg's role has changed from being just a simple toaster oven to being our handy little re-flow oven for our MeArm Brains Boards. With some tweaks and some really burnt PCB's the Arduino has been programmed to set a target temperature for Gregg to heat up to.
The temperature is then regulated by current temperature readings taken from the thermocouple so that our PCB's are baked to perfection! We found that the most important factor to getting perfectly baked PCBs was in making sure that the thermocouple is in contact with the PCB.
If you're after a reflow oven and don't have bundles of cash this should be something to consider if you don't mind doing some tinkering. Its was fairly easy to build, according to Ben, so if you need a re-flow oven at a low low price, why not have a go at building one yourself? It was based on a project by RepRap 3D Printer pioneer Adrian Bowyer which can be found here
With a little bit of time and effort, you too could be making hand baked artisanal PCBs!