I finally finished assembly the free pcb from Dangerous Prototypes, the Bus Pirate. It took me awhile since I forgot to add the FT232 chip to my shopping cart and didn't want to place an order for just one chip. Any way I burned the bootloader onto the PIC and them uploaded the latest firmware. Everything checked out. I'm looking forward to using it.
Another website that does free PCB Fridays is teholabs. I had tried a couple times but was unsuccessful. Two Fridays ago I tried and I got email the next saying I wasn't one the chosen but I could have one since they liked my blog. Bonus points for having a blog! The board that I got is called the Cygni and it is a dev board for the LM3S3N26, which is ARM Cortex M3. So I placed an order for the parts (and the FT232 chip since I finally had a reason to order parts) and about a week later I had the board and the parts.
I have become quite good at surface mount soldering after soldering the Bus Pirate and my Mechatronics board. Surface mount chips go on in a flash with the drag soldering technique. I still find 0603 components to be the most difficult. I guess I just haven't found a good technique yet.
I haven't gotten a chance to program the Cygni yet since I don't have a JTAG programmer but I'm looking into using the Bus Pirate as a JTAG programmer. I'll find a way to program it.