Manhattan Style

After blogging for over four years now, I've covered a lot of topics that have piqued my interest in the ham radio world. I'm going to (once in awhile) select some previous blogs for reposting since they are every bit as valid as they were a few years ago and many new readers will have never found them without going way back! This one is from June, 2014.


I haven't yet decided to rebuild the little 630m CW transmitter using Manhattan style or the newer Muppet style being promoted by Chuck, K7QO.
K7QO Muppet Style
The Muppet style seems to be PCB without holes, with parts being mounted on the copper pads directly. Like Manhattan or Ugly construction, changing components is very convenient. I pretty much split final construction methods between Manhattan style or dedicated PCB.

I recently ran low on the pads used for Manhattan and made another pile of various sizes. For those interested in using this style, it's pretty quick and easy to manufacture a good stock of your own pads using a simple hand punch.

These punches are widely available on e-Bay or possibly at your local hardware outlet or craft store. They come with various sized dies but I have only found myself using two sizes, 5/32 and 3/16. The punches have a small point at the center which I filed off so not to create a dimple in the punched pad.

It's also advisable to scuff sand the bottom of the PCB strip as well as to shine up the copper side with some light steel wool before punching any pads. They will eventually be glued to the circuit's PCB copper surface using a small dab of CA ("super glue") glue and the slight scuffing beforehand will ensure that the pads stay put. My usual technique is to place a tiny dab of glue with a toothpick at the spot where the pad will go. I then pick up the pad using an X-acto knife, spearing the pad's copper side and then pressing it down on the glue spot. CA cures quickly once it is oxygen-starved so pressing down on the pad for a few seconds is usually all that is needed. Any time I have run into trouble it was because I used too much glue....just a small dab is needed.

VE7SL Lowfer Tx
There are many good tutorials on Manhattan-style construction to be found on the internet as well as some super examples of what can be accomplished using this method as a "final" version technique.
For me, one of Manhattan's strongest selling points is that even though final part values may have been fleshed out during a rough build, parts can still easily be changed, added or even removed without a lot of fuss....unlike a PCB....but Muppet does look interesting!

Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

4 Responses to “Manhattan Style”

  • Dave, WD8CIV:

    Muppet style looks great if you have a circuit that you already know works. I find Manhattan more convenient when I’m developing a circuit that may need to be modified.

    Also, in a pinch a heavy duty 3-hole punch from an office supply store will make round pads in thin (1/16″) copper clad board stock. It won’t last as long as the punch you show, but when inspiration strikes having to wait a week for a tool to arrive in the mail feels like forever. (grin)

  • Steve VE7SL:

    Thanks Dave and I certainly agree 100%. The only time I use Muppet-style is for finished work, usually after fleshing the project out Manhattan-style… but I also use Manhattan for finished work as I love using parts that I’ve recycled from TVs, VCRs etc. These reclaimed parts usually always have very short leads making them easy to use in Manhattan construction. I’ve also come to use ‘ugly construction’ for experimental work but rarely keep it as a finished project. The main thing is to use whatever one likes as long as they’re home brewing something!!

  • Roger G3XBM:

    In the past Manhattan style has been a favourite with me. It enables a neat layout without the hassle of making a PCB. As you say, parts can easily be changed too.

  • derek plant g1hlp:

    an execelent bit of info thank u very much derek.

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