Altium CircuitMaker was used to design the schematic & PCB. The files are open source and available here. The design uses four flashing 3mm orange LEDs on the points of the compass and a single 0603 SMT blue LED in the center. They’re all powered by a single 3V CR1225 coin cell battery.
In my previous post a few months back, I built my SMD manual parts picker using a fish tank air pump and a custom wood handle. There was one big oversight in that build that basically made the picker useless for most of the things I built it for. I failed to check before the build if the ball inflator needle I planned to use was actually small enough to pick up 0603 parts. Well, it wasn’t… So, that tool has mostly been collecting dust since the build. I’ve got a lot of 0603 parts to place in the next few weeks and it was time to get this baby working!
I’ve been working on designing a PCB using all 0603 SMD parts. Prior to this, the smallest SMD parts I’ve attempted were 0804. I ordered the PCBs and I’ve been trying to alleviate my concerns about not being able to actually work with these tiny parts once they arrive. They are almost too small to deal with using tweezers, so I’ve been shopping around for an inexpensive vacuum part picker. However, I’ve discovered that there are really expensive ones and there are really cheap ones with not much in between. I can’t justify a really expensive one ($1000+) and the cheap ones have terrible reviews.
So, I’ve been thinking like any maker would…why not make my own?
A few days ago, my daughter who is having her 5th birthday party this weekend comes up with her sweet little eyes and asks “Daddy, what special thing are we doing at my party like we did at [her brother’s].” Of course, she was referring to the Birthday Badges that I designed and they assembled. With less than a week until the party there certainly wasn’t time to design a PCB, have it fabbed and delivered in time without paying outrageously high costs.
So, it was time to scramble and see what I could come up with using parts that I had on hand and could get at local stores. Her party has a Cinderella theme. I had a stock of blinking RGB LEDs left over from the Red Bull Fish Detector project that are a lot of fun and require only a resistor and battery to make work. So, that sounded like a good basis for the project. When I think of the Cinderella story, the fairy godmother and her magic come to mind. So, the idea of a magical princess wand was born.