SMD Solder Paste Stencil Creation with Silhouette Cameo

I made some additional details in a long YouTube movie:

This is far from the first blog post on this, but I wanted to write down exactly what I did to get this working on Windows 7, 64-bit with as little fussing as possible.

1. Buy Silhouette Cameo [NOTE: The v1 I used is no longer available. I’ve heard the V2 with latest firmware does work OK]

2. Decide on material. I originally used the Transparency Film but it’s a little thick, so instead ended up finding that you can buy 3 Mil drafting file individually from art stores.

3. Install USB drivers from CD that came with system – this seems to be required, as installing the software from the website alone wasn’t enough. If you need them I’ve mirrored a copy here.

4. Plug in Cameo device. Check if it appears as a printer:

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If it DOES NOT, screw around with drivers. For me it appeared as “USB Printer Support” for a while, you’ve got to try updating the drivers and forcing it to use the ones from the CD it seems. Eventually you should have success.

5. Share the Cameo device under “Printer Properties”:

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6. Install gerbv

7. Install pstoedit 64-bit or pstoedit 32-bit as appropriate

8. Install Ghostscript 64-bit or Ghostscript 32-bit as appropriate

9. Download copy of gerber2graphtec repo, unzip it somewhere. I’ve linked to my fork of the repo which contains some extra stuff, so if you want the original check the gerber2graphtec pmonta repo

10. Run the GUI. You’ll need to modify paths probably, or at least version numbers. Set the folder share option to match your computer name / printer share:

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11. If you haven’t loaded the Cameo before, basically check out the booklet that came with it. Set the cutting depth to ‘1’ on the blade and shove it into the machine. Peel back the blue sheet off the ‘cutting mat’, and stick the transparency to the mat.

12. Load a test gerber, convert it (check the output of the command line doesn’t have errors), and send onward! For me things ‘just worked’.

13. You can use the generate test square feature I added to generated the test pattern. Forces increase from 1 to 30 as it draws the squares.

Rigol DP832 Review

The majority of the review is available in movie format:

I purchased a Rigol DP832 power supply from RAE Electronics (local supplier). I had a chance to play around with it and wanted to leave a bit of a review.

To begin, I also bought some useful accessories. I got them from Digikey, and here are the part numbers:

  • Test Leads: Ponoma B-24-x, where x changes for color
  • Aligator Clips: Digikey 461-1208-ND
  • Minigrabbers: Ponoma 4723-0 / 4723-2

I think those are the most useful accessories to get. Buy at least 4 supply cables, maybe more as if you want to have +/- supplies it’s nice to have a colour for ‘0v’.

I ended up making a GUI, which is available at: https://github.com/colinoflynn/dp832-gui :
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Hackaday Project and Latest Circuit Cellar Columns

I had entered my side channel analysis project called ChipWhisperer into the Hackaday Prize. I’m honoured to have been selected as one of five finalists! This means lots more work getting everything ready, but should be exciting.

Since my last post, I’ve also published a few more columns in Circuit Cellar. If you aren’t familiar with my Programmable Logic in Practice column, I post some details of it on my dedicated website. I just posted a video for the Dec 2014 column which includes some experiments with metastability on the Xilinx FPGA. Fun times!

PicoScope 2204A Review

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I’ve been spending some time with a low-cost PicoScope device, and wanted to give a review in case you’re looking at one. To begin with, you can check out my Circuit Cellar Articles about selecting a scope.

There’s also a video version of this:

Introducing the 2200 Range

PicoTech’s 2200 range is a compact oscilloscope, if you want all the details check out The PicoTech Website. Presumably you’re interested in my hands-on experience instead though, so I won’t duplicate everything there.

Continue reading PicoScope 2204A Review

EELive! (ESC) Conference Slides + Programs

See my presentation at EELive? If so you can download the slides from:
http://www.newae.com/files/ThinkFastFPGADesignUsing_OFlynn.pdf

And the ISE + Vivado HLS Project from:
http://www.newae.com/files/ThinkFast_FPGA_Files.zip.

You can also check out additional details at the Programmable Logic in Practice post, which includes videos + examples of other uses of HLS.

Splitting of NewAE & ColinOflynn.com

Since 2001 I’ve used NewAE.com as my personal domain. I’ve decided to instead move my personal content (blog, various wiki articles, etc) to ColinOFlynn.com. Any old links to NewAE.com will work by simply replacing ‘newae.com’ with ‘colinoflynn.com’, as I’ve mirrored all (I think) the content.

In the mean-time there will be a redirection page to inform you that NewAE.com will contain mostly some products I’m involved with, and instead you should head to ColinOFlynn.com for the old content.

PicoScope 5000 (5444) Review

If you check out my older blog post, you’ll see a very detailed review of the PicoScope 6000 series device. I also had a chance to use a 5000 series device, specifically the 5444.

The 5444 is a 4-channel scope with a built-in AWG. The sample rate is up to 1 GS/s in ‘normal’ mode, but you can use something called Equivalent Time Sampling (ETS) to boost that up to 10 GS/s in specific cases.

Continue reading PicoScope 5000 (5444) Review