SMD?

I'm thinking about basically making a PCB Arduino final product for something I'm doing. I noticed how the SMD version was a lot smaller (not to mention extremely difficult to use) and supposedly cheaper so I researched SMD soldering. After finding an excellent video tutorial on SMD soldering, I decided maybe I could actually try using the SMD ATMega328. He makes it look so easy! It probably isn't, but if I try hard enough and be optimistic, I think I could do it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NN7UGWYmBY

So, I looked at the descriptions of the Uno SMD, and I couldn't find a part number for the microcontroller. So I look on DigiKey and I see 18 bazillion different SMD microcontrollers. D: Which one do I need?

And provided I get the SMD chip I need, will a human being (me) be able to solder it? I have some experience soldering but nothing this small. I mean, I know the 328 I'm getting won't be this small but I want to know what I'm up against and whether I could do it myself.

PS: How does the Arduino Foundation get their boards built? Did they hire some electronics mass-producer corporation or something?

Digi-Key can be confusing...

I think you're looking for the ATMEGA328-AU.

http://search.digikey.com/us/en/products/ATMEGA328-AU/ATMEGA328-AU-ND/2271029

In general, Digi-Key will give you a lot of options you (probably) won't need. For example you probably only want to see Cut Tape and Tray options on chips; unless you're buying 3,000 chips you won't need Tape & Reel or their custom Digi-Tape options. Clicking In Stock also helps eliminate more esoteric choices.

Another thing you should look at is using a toaster oven to bake your PCBs to perfection. Google "toaster oven reflow soldering" and you'll see a lot of examples. Some of them seem to go into more detail than is needed...building reflow temperature monitoring systems etc...I haven't made a ton of boards this way but so far haven't needed anything so precise. I'm basically following this:

http://alternet.us.com/?p=118

Good luck!

it seems a lot more intimidating then it actually is, i had never done any smd soldering before and i just recently did an atmega328p-au and trust me it was a breeze, you will most definitely want to buy some desoldering wick, that is what makes it all easy. at least in my case.

CrossRoads has some $2 bare boards that use the 328 SMD and components. It is a relatively cheap way to learn SMD soldering and you can have a useful device when are done. Around page 6 or 7 most things begin to be sorted out in this thread.

http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,69622.90.html

How does the Arduino Foundation get their boards built? Did they hire some electronics mass-producer corporation or something?

Yes they contract out the construction of the boards.

SMD soldering is not hard at all. It just takes a little bit of practice but that’s about it.

There is a series of very nice soldering tutorials from David L. Jones. On part one he goes through basic soldering material, on part two he covers through hole soldering and on part three he covers SMD soldering.

The videos are nicely done and he makes them very easy to follow, great stuff there from Dave:
Part 1: http://www.eevblog.com/2011/06/19/eevblog-180-soldering-tutorial-part-1-tools/
Part 2: http://www.eevblog.com/2011/07/02/eevblog-183-soldering-tutorial-part-2/
Part 3: http://www.eevblog.com/2011/07/18/eevblog-186-soldering-tutorial-part-3-surface-mount/

Start off practicing with 1206, SOIC, larger thing pitch chips that you can see well with our bare eyes and work your way down. From my experience 0603 is what I can hand solder without much trouble.

Here is an image of some hand soldered boards that I have done, they are not the first is class buy they are reasonably done.