Ultimaker Micro Sd-Card extension

Posted: March 28, 2011 in Electronic, Mechanical
Tags: , , , ,

Today I thought it would be a good idea to make A  sd-card reader as an extension for my Ultimaker, I designed it for the newer electronics which can use the SPI pins because there is a break out to an expansion header. Because I printed a prusa mendel on my Ultimaker a few weeks ago and I’m aiming to use Ultimaker electronics for it the new printer.

The schematic and board layouts are down here, here’s the download.

About a week ago I found out a few things like:

The 15 euro 600w oven I bought some time ago is pretty good for a reflow oven, I now use it for baking PCB’s (in stead of bread:) It comes in about 3:48 seconds to a temperature of about 165 degrees Celsius, which is perfect since I’m using this dealextreme solder paste. The paste melts at about 155 degrees Celsius and gives me a real nice result with shiny solderings ( http://www.dealextreme.com/p/lodestar-soldering-paste-50g-4711)

I do not even have to use a temperature regulator because of the relative low temperature, perfect!

Another thing I found out was that is is pretty difficult on deposit the solder paste on small pads. About a few days later I found this site: http://www.millpcbs.com/ The site gives a lot of usefull information about milling PCB’s, but there is also an article about milling a solder stencil, which was perfect for me! (http://www.millpcbs.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=28&Itemid=49)

So here’s the result, first try:

The plastic I used is a bit to thick but for this small job it worked fine. Below are a few pictures, I used some tape to place the stencil on the PCB, then I filled the holes in the stencil with paste using  a little plastic card.

Then I baked the PCB in my mini oven and the result was pretty good:

I even soldered the Transflash micro sd socket in the oven and they didn’t melt 🙂 I bought these ones very cheap ($4,99) on ebay (search for: 10PCS TransFlash TF Micro SD Card Socket Adapter).

So there’s the result:

Now I can use this add-on for controlling the Ultimaker without a computer, but first there has to be code written for reading a sd card and use the data on it. The idea is that the Arduino mega reads the gcode file on the sd-card in stead of receiving the gcode from the computer (serial).

In the mean while I can use it for discovering the SPI function from my bus pirate and learn how to work with sd-cards without writing code!

  1. Erik says:

    JJ, a really awesome upgrade! Look forward to refine and automate the SMT soldering process for larger scale production of these kits!

  2. Alex says:

    Thanks for this blogpost, especially for the MicroSD slot lib. It helped me a lot with my current Project.

    However it would be better to use the tPlace layer for the outlines, as the Dimension layer does interrupt polygons on other layers.

    Here is an updated lbr: http://netload.in/dateijqvk72SOYy/Transflash-micro-sd-card-socket.lbr.htm

  3. So what does the SD card actually do?
    Can you upload a program to it using the arduino rs232-pc connection, or do you need to physically take out the card and write on it from the pc?

    • jjshortcut says:

      Normally you send Gcode over to the Arduino using a computer, with the SD-card you can read (with the arduino) the Gcode from the SD-card so you do not need a computer any more. This makes the 3D-printer stand alone. You just copy a Gcode file from your computer to the SD-card, (and yes jou put the SD-card in your computer first), then you put the SD card in the PCB I made ant print it without using the computer.

  4. Darcy says:


    I was just looking at your geneva wheel on thingverse.

    I have been using google sketchup for modeling things I make. I can’t load the file. What software should I use to open and modify the geneva wheel?


  5. Makka says:

    Hey, awesome job! id love to make one, but the schematics can’t be downloaded due to mega upload being taken offline. any chance you could provide a mirror please?
    Thanks for your work!

  6. Bellorphon says:

    Can I just buy an SD card kit like this on ebay:

    and connect it to a female SPI connector to insert it into the EXP slots on the Mega shield?

    • jjshortcut says:

      Hi, you can just use that kit indeed, but make sure the signals from the arduino are converted from 5v to 3.3v (I think this is done by the resistors on the pcb) Also you have to supply 3.3v, not 5 volts.

  7. Gege says:


    Anyone have the design PCB layout of a micro sd card. I am looking for recommended design layout to make my own sd card with eagle.

    Thanks a lot !


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