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I want to design an Arduino shield with stackable headers, so it will allow other shields to be mounted on top of it.

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I was wondering if these could be soldered automatically. Neither wave nor reflow soldering seems to be an option. Wave soldering would leave solder on the pins so they won't fit in sockets, and for reflow (pin-in-paste) the long pins will completely pull the paste from the holes. Is hand-soldering the only way (making the board more expensive), or is there still another way? Would it be a good idea to supply the shield with the headers not mounted to save cost? Or shouldn't I assume the average Arduino user has a soldering iron?

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    Depends on where you have them manufactured. Chineese labor isn't as expensive. A lot of boards have a a few parts that go in manually. There are, by the way, robotic soldering machines, though you'd probably still have to manually insert the headers, and have some way to fixture the headers while the board is upside down. I've seen a few shield for sale, that don't have the headers inserted. Note that this also makes shipping easier. No real clear answer. – Gerben Feb 1 '15 at 13:19
  • @Gerben: good point about shipping. Thanks for your comment. – Joris Groosman Feb 1 '15 at 17:37
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I would suggest using SMD headers on one side and through hole on the other side. One side with this: http://www.tracepartsonline.net/(S(30y0dp21y1rd0u3erv1mrrbw))/partdetails.aspx?Class=ASSMANN&ClsID=/F_ASSMANN/ASSMANN.010/ASSMANN.010.170/&PartID=10-18062010-079808 and one side with this: http://www.tracepartsonline.net/(S(30y0dp21y1rd0u3erv1mrrbw))/PartDetails.aspx?Class=ASSMANN&clsid=/F_ASSMANN/ASSMANN.010/ASSMANN.010.170/&ManID=ASSMANN&PartFamilyID=10-23062010-067691&PartID=10-23062010-067691&SrchRsltId=1&SrchRsltType=0

You will shift upper side a few mm from bottom side, and use glue to have upper side set in place and then reflow for soldering on both sides.

  • I'm not a production engineer, but would SMD both sides work and not need the offset? – Pete Kirkham Feb 1 '15 at 23:37
  • I would work but may need special equipment as these are tall SMD that may be difficult to maintain while you manipulate the board. In this case you will probably want to work with two solder pastes that have different fusion temperatures. – MAC Feb 2 '15 at 7:09
  • The proper way to work with SMT on both sides is to glue the parts if they're too heavy to stay in the solder paste capilarilly. – Joris Groosman Feb 2 '15 at 13:21
  • An SMD header this tall could be extremely prone to breaking off and quite possibly peeling tracks with it. The idea is workable for unique lower profile board- board stacking headers, but probably not for the Arduino's high stacking height tradition. – Chris Stratton Feb 2 '15 at 17:54
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You might look at getting a solder stencil. It is still hand soldering, but significantly faster than doing it completely by hand. Another option would be a pick and place machine; there would be a significant upfront cost but it would be more automatic.

  • Like I said in my question neither wave nor reflow soldering seems to be an option. For both automatic pick and place exist. And how does a stencil help here? It's used for reflow anyway. – Joris Groosman Feb 5 '15 at 9:46

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