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I am designing a PCB where I expect to have a certain part assembled at the edge of each board (blue in the picture below).

However, this part needs to be at connected/soldered at a height of about 6 mm above my PCB. Therefore, I'm considering using some conductive object/part to create the vertical displacement (green in the picture below).

enter image description here

So far I have considered

  • right-angle header pin; but may be too thin/flimsy.

enter image description here

  • zero-ohm resistors (0402-sized or 0603-sized); but I'd need to stack too many of them to get the 6 mm height.

enter image description here

I am interested in ideas for some object/part I could use for the 6mm height-creation; anything as long as it would be:

  • inexpensive
  • widely available
  • conductive
  • preferably NOT through-hole (soldered on PCB top surface)

What would be ideal is if it were just a 6mm cube of conductive material, but no such normally-sold object seems to be readily available!

(Note: This height-creator needs to be strong in its soldering to the board, just as any standard part soldered on a PCB, but it does NOT need to be strong in its soldering to my blue part.)

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Use an inverted brass flat head machine screw. These will solder easily and depending the mechanical strength you want the part can be selected from a range with various head sizes.

brass flat head machine screw spacer

Some possible candidate machine screws would be these part numbers from McMaster-Carr.

Length of 6mm

99658A524 M3 $9.68/100

96686A150 M2 $10.58/50

96686A210 M3 $7.94/50

Lower Cost with length of 6.35mm

92451A092 #3-48 $4.21/100

92451A106 #4-40 $4.29/100

92451A124 #5-40 $5.27/100

92451A144 #6-32 $5.90/100

92480A106 #4-40 $4.72/100

92480A144 #6-32 $5.85/100

This would certainly meet your criteria of being inexpensive, widely available, conductive and NOT through-hole. See the search page here.

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This solves the problem! Great idea; was so focused on common PCB parts that I hadn't considered screws. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas E Oct 15 '12 at 11:45
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Zierick manufacture a range of surface mount PCB spacers. Part number 1258-236-0 is 6mm long.

PCB standoffs

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They key problem that yo will have is that anything large will have have large thermal mass and will be difficult to solder to the board. What you are looking for is a solder in buss bar, or bus bar which is normally used to carry large currents. Height accuracy will be limited. And in some cases the bus bars are not soldered down but are press fit (which requires special through hole plating requirements. Here is but one solution. enter image description here

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My local home store sells square brass tubing in a variety of sizes, or they also sell copper sheet blanks. Depending on your production volume, it should be pretty easy to fabricate something suitable.

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How about BuckyBalls or Cubes. They are conductive and 4 or 5mm in height, but magnetic. I dont know if magnetic is a good or bad thing in your case

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You don't think magnets will fix to the PCB, do you? \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Oct 15 '12 at 14:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ lol no. Maybe if there is some thin metal plate soldered on, the magnet can stick to it. \$\endgroup\$ – Midhat Oct 15 '12 at 15:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't count on it. As metals copper, aluminium and brass (tinned) are much more used than steel, or any other magnetic material. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Oct 15 '12 at 15:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Anyway, I thought buckyballs got discontinued? \$\endgroup\$ – Rocketmagnet Mar 1 '13 at 18:30

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