Monday, 1 August 2011

Miniature guitar PCBs

Our range of miniature playable instruments - guitars in this case - is coming along nicely, thanks to the new laser cutter which makes an amazing job of cutting out the enclosures from a mixture of 3mm and 5mm acrylic.

So now it's time to add some electronics to actually make them work!
We've designed a PCB that can be hand soldered (no tricky SMT type soldering here) although using soldering paste instead of regular solder will help making fixing the connecting ribbon cables in place a little easier.

We deliberately chose a design that uses through hole components, but it's important to keep the profile (height) as low as possible - after all, the cavity inside each instrument is only 10mm high. We used a layout that would allow us to shape the board to fit every shape and size of guitar, so a single board can be used for every design (it would be a nightmare to have to create a different board for, say, the Flying-V and another for the BC Rich Warlock style guitars)

By using the same board for all guitar shapes, we've also got to be sure that the bridge and string holes are in a similar position on every guitar. Note how the row of six holes on the PCB line up with the six holes at the neck and bridge on the guitar body. This will allow us to push the strings through the body and solder them to the underside of the PCB