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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Chuck Adams' Secret Recipe for Muppet PC Boards (and lots of other homebrew tips)

A few days ago I shared an e-mail from John N8RVE on his re-build of the SW-40.   John used a "Muppet" board, Muppet being a combination of Manhattan and Ugly techniques.  But there is nothing ugly about it really.  I joked in the title of the blog post that the beauty of this technique is almost enough to get a homebrewer to abandon the Manhattan technique.  Now, I was born on Manhattan island, and I went to Manhattan College, and I have been using the Manhattan technique for many years, so there is a lot of homebrew inertia at work here.   But that SW-40 looked good.  John mentioned that Chuck Adams K7QO has a series of YouTube videos on how to make Muppet boards.   This morning as I waited for the bands to open up, I  decided to take a look. 

Wow, they are really great.  I couldn't stop watching them. I kind of "binge watched" the whole series. Chuck Adams is a really great teacher.  There are lots of great homebrew tips in those videos, and not just about the boards. I NEED one of those new G3UUR crystal testers, the version that also gives you ESR!  I WANT a laminator, an infrared thermometer, some Krylon clear, and pool chemicals!  And a harmonica reed tuner!

I've been sort of planning my next rig.  It will be a version of the BITX.  But having recently built two BITXs using the Manhattan technique, I kind of feel the need to do something different.  I am planning to use some different circuitry (termination insensitive amplifiers) and MAYBE an Si5351.  Perhaps plug-in filters.  But now I want to also move forward in terms of building technique.  I want to Muppet!

Thanks Chuck! 

Here is the link to part one of Chuck's excellent video series:

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  1. Chuck has great success with a particular kind of paper.
    What works great for me is the very glossy paper that you get in travel agent brochures.

    The key with toner transfer is the right printer, a good laminator (though clothes irons work for some) and the right paper. Get those three in place and you get a high success rate every time.

    Tony G4WIF

  2. I agree with Tony, on all counts, just don't use inkjet paper or a paper that is good for both laser and inkjet. I made the mistake on using inkjet paper because the salesperson said it works equally well for both. Didn't happen. I also use a small iron that I used for building remote controlled airplanes. I never tried the laminator and have had great success with all my boards, even the oversized one like the sw 40. Start out with small circuits to get the feel for it, but if you mess up the toner transfer, just wipe it down with acetone and try again.

  3. Gave this approach to making boards a try. Using the Hammermill laser gloss as suggested I got stunning results. My first test board had .010” traces with no issues. Since the first board I’ve been trying more complicated units. Used a Dremel drill press with bits from drillbitcity.com for through hole construction. Even the light coat of Krylon clear does as it is supposed to. Acts as a sort of solder mask yet doesn't impede the soldering process at all. Give it a try.

    Hank K5HDE


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