Introduction: Beeduino : Homemade Arduino Uno for $6

Picture of Beeduino : Homemade Arduino Uno for $6

Hey what the cost of this blue board thingy, "Arduino" i think its called?? Well the cost is about $30 per board. Woah $30 for just this simple circuit. Whats so special in it? Well nothing actually. Its just a simple open source development platform with awesome I/O and programming potentials. Open source eh? Doesn't that mean we can make our own possibly much cheaper? Well i think so....

These were my thoughts when i got into the world of ARDUINO. After having bought many original and chinese arduinos i have finally decided that its time for me to make my own arduino. Now i wouldn't recommend people starting arduino to make this but people who have worked with arduino even a little should try this.

My main reason for making this was that original arduinos are expensive and it seems like a waste to dedicate it for a robot or a project. So i came up with this Beeduino as i call it to be used in projects without pain and to be as cheap as possible.

The basic Beeduino Board doesnt contain programming or serial communication part in order to keep unit price low. Separate programmer (USBASP) and Serial Communication (PL2303) can be attached using the on-board header for easy programming and communication.

The layout is exact replica of the arduino uno board so that shields are compatible. There is an on-board voltage regulator as well. The construction is purely through hole for simplicity.


I improved the PCB by increasing track width, adding a switch and adding a header for serial communication.

All related files available here:

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

There are quite a few materials needed so i am going to divide the into categories.

PCB Making

  1. Single Sided Copper Clad Board
  2. Glossy Magazine or Butter Paper
  3. Fine Grit Sand Paper
  4. Electric Iron
  5. Laser Printer
  6. Ferric Chloride Etchant or any other etchant of your choice
  7. Tape
  8. Ruler
  9. Scorer
  10. Sharpie
  11. Mini PCB Drill

Circuit Building

  1. Atmega328 with bootloader installed or you can install bootloader
  2. 16 MHz Cristal
  3. 22pF Capacitor
  4. 28 Pin Narrow IC Base
  5. 4 Pin Puch Button
  6. 5.1 mm DC Jack
  7. Male and Female Headers
  8. 5mm Led
  9. 220 Ohm Resistor
  10. 10K Ohm Resistor
  11. Jumper Wire
  12. LM 7805 Voltage Regulator
  13. 10 uF Capacitor


  1. USBASP with latest Firmware for programming
  2. Connecting Wires
  3. Arduino Board for Burning Bootloader or a USBASP
  4. PL2303 for Serial Communication

Step 2: Design Notes

Picture of Design Notes
  • The PCB Layout as i mentioned earlier is made exactly according to the Arduino Uno design so that compatibility is maintained.
  • The board has simple through hole components.
  • I tried to keep the PCB as efficient as possible but there are still redundancies which i will remove in the future.
  • Led's for power and pin 13 are also present.
  • ICSP header for programming the board using USBASP is placed.
  • I didn't place a dedicated header for serial communication as that can be done simple by four connections to the headers.
  • For the more advanced people the PCB design in ExpressPCB is attached. You can download the software from here and amend the design.

Step 3: PCB Making : Toner Transfer

Picture of PCB Making : Toner Transfer
  1. First step in making the Beeduino is to make the pcb. For that we need you need to print the image of the pcb on a piece of glossy paper.I used butter paper but you can use magazine paper aswell. Make sure you print it with the correct paper type. Print it using a toner printer as inkjet printer wont do.
  2. Now you have to cut your copper clad board to 8cm x 6cm size. I used my handmade scoring tool. After marking the board using a sharpie and measuring tape score the copper side with a ruler as a guide. Score a fair amount and then snap against an edge
  3. After that clean up the copper surface using fine grit sandpaper. I used 300 grit. Sand it until its nice and shinny. This is important as it will improve the transfer.
  4. Next place the cladding on the printed PCB making sure its center and secure it with tape. I used paper tape but later found scotch tape to work even better.
  5. Now the ironing part. I have read many people saying medium heat but i found full heat to work best. Heat up your iron to the max and then start ironing the PCB and paper complex. Iron on the paper side. You will start to see the traces appear. Move the iron round and about to evenly heat all areas. To this for about 5 mins.
  6. Lastly you have to remove the paper. Without disturbing the paper put it under running tap water. Soon the paper with start to get soggy. With the help of your fingers slowly rub off the paper. There will be a plastic layer as well. Remove that gently so that the traces are not disturbed.
  7. You should now have a good transfer. If it isn't up to mark then sand away and retry.

Step 4: PCB Making : Etching

Picture of PCB Making : Etching

There are numerous ways one can etch a PCB. Etching is basically to remove the exposed copper of the clad in order to make a circuit board.

  1. The most common and widely used which was also used by me is ferric chloride etchant. Its simple actually. Place the etchant fluid in a tray like container. If you have solid ferric chloride then add water about 2 cups and add the ferric chloride until the color is a opaque brown while mixing it continuously. After that place the PCB in the solution and move one side of the tray up and down to agitate the solution. Keep checking at regular intervals and after about 5 mins the PCB will be etched. You will know this as all the exposed copper will disappear and only the black traces will remain.
  2. Another etchant is muriatic acid which is basically hydrochloric acid. Using non-reactive measure cups, mix 2 parts hydrogen peroxide and 1 part muriatic acid. Dip the board and see the magic. It will be ready in less than 2 minutes
  3. Finally you can also use vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and salt.The mix is about 60% vinegar and 40% hydrogen peroxide, with a good shake of regular salt . Dip the board and after about 20 to 30 min the board will be ready.

For all the above safety first so wear gloves and after the etching is done rinse it in tap water.

Step 5: PCB Making : Drilling and Finalizing

Picture of PCB Making : Drilling and Finalizing

Next is to drill the PCB. It is best to drill using a small drill press but since i didn't have one i used my hand drill. Also my drill bit was a bit wide which caused me troubles so make sure you use the correct diameter. At this point the toner is still not removed.

When all the holed are drilled, double check to make sure you didn't miss any. Then used the sandpaper to sand away the toner and uneven surface near the drilled holes.

And your PCB is now ready.

Step 6: Circuit Building

Picture of Circuit Building

Now we move on to build the circuit which involves soldering all the components in their right place. The first image shows the placement of the components.

  1. First off start with the three resistors. One 10k Ohm and the two 220 Ohm
  2. The solder the 28 pin IC Socket
  3. The Led's and 7805 voltage regulator comes in next
  4. Then the crystal, 22pF Capacitor and the reset button.
  5. Solder the four female headers and the ICSP male header.
  6. Next come in the 7 jumpers which are shown are straight lines in the first image. They are a bit tricky so double check to make sure the correct ones are jumped.

Now you have to perform some checks to ensure that you did all soldering correctly.

  1. First check is to plug in DC power and the red led should light up
  2. Do a comprehensive visual check of all the pcb traces and where there is double check continuity with a multi meter
  3. Check that correct 5v are presant at the pcb pins where they should be.
  4. If you have an Arduino Uno. Load the blink program in t and then insert its chip into the Beeduino. The green led should flash.

If all is well you can proceed.

Congratulations. The hardware part is all done. If you are with me up till now then lets move on the software part.

Step 7: Bootloader Burning Using Another Arduino

Picture of Bootloader Burning Using Another Arduino

Boot loader on a micro controller is basically its operating system. It tells it how to communicate and respond. The arduino boot loader allows it to be programmed via USBASP. First download the latest Arduino IDE here and install it.

For burning the boot loader you need an Arduino Uno. Follow the following instructions carefully

  1. Connect the Uno and select the port. Open the example ArduinoISP and program it to the Uno.
  2. Connect the Uno to Beeduino as shown in the second image.
  3. In the Arduino IDE, In Tool > Programmer, select Arduino as ISP
  4. Then in Tools click on Burn Boot loader. If all is well the boot loader should burn in a few seconds.

If there is a problem do the following checks.

  1. Double check all the connections. They should be firm.
  2. Remove and redo the connections.
  3. Recheck the board to see if you made any soldering mistake.
  4. Remove the USB cable from PC and reconnect, then try again.

I hope you are able to burn the boot loader successfully.

Step 8: Bootloader Burning Using USBASP

Picture of Bootloader Burning Using USBASP

You can also burn the boot loader using the USBASP. The USBASP comes with a 10 pin connector which is useless to us so we will use female to female jumpers to make connections from the USBASP to the Beeduino ICSP header.

  1. First you need to download and install the USBASP driver from here.For installing the driver, plug in the USBASP in your PC. Right click my computer and open Manage. Go into Device Manager. Right click on USBASP and update driver software. Manually search driver at a certain location. Set that location to where you downloaded the drivers and click next. It will install the driver.
  2. Make the connections with the help of the pin outs or the images of me making them.
  3. Open Arduino IDE and in Tools > Programmer set it to USBASP.
  4. In Tools > Board set it to Arduino Uno
  5. In Tools click Burn Boot Loader and if all goes well the boot loader will burn in a few seconds.

What to do if an error occurs? An error can occur and you can fix it by the following steps

  1. Double check your connections. They should be firm.
  2. Redo you connections.
  3. Your USBASP may need to be updated. For that go here and follow the instructions.
  4. Driver may not be installed. Check in Device Manager.
  5. Remove and reconnect USBASP to PC and retry.
  6. Check to see if correct board is selected.

I hope you are able to burn the bootloader.

Step 9: Programming the Beeduino

Picture of Programming the Beeduino

Programming the Beeduino requires a USBASP. Again the same pin problem occurs so we will make the same connections are before using the jumpers. Now you must be thinking making these connections every time is so cumbersome and you are correct but this is just for the moment. Soon i will tell you how to make a fixed 6 pin header which we will just plug and program.

Once the connections are made plug the USBASP into your PC and open the arduino program. To upload it press shift and then the click the upload button while making sure the programmer is set to USBASP. It will upload the program. Pressing shift makes use of the programmer to upload the program.

This is the part your supposed to take a long breath as you have successfully made your very own Beeduino.

Step 10: Serial Communication

Picture of Serial Communication

For serial communication between the Beeduino and a PC we need the PL2303 USB to Serial Adapter.

Download and instal its driver from here.

Connect the Beeduino to the PL2303 module.

The connections are simple. They include the power connections. Connect the RX and TX of PL2303 to theTX and RX of the Beeduino respectively.

Plug in the PL2303, the PC should recognize it. Open the Arduino IDE and then the serial monitor to view the serial data.

Step 11: 10 Pin to 6 Pin ICSP Header

Picture of 10 Pin to 6 Pin ICSP Header

Following the pin arrangements of the two solder the six wires from the 10 wire ribbon.

The wires are numbered from 1 to 10 on the ribbon,1 being the pink shade.

Place a piece of tape on the top side of the 6 pin header in order to know its orientation.

Step 12: Labels : Optional

Picture of Labels : Optional

Now this is purely optional but it really helps in prototyping. I added labels for the pins on the side of the headers.

  1. Print out the word file
  2. Stick clear scotch tape on the front
  3. Stick double sided tape on the back
  4. Cut them out
  5. Sick them on the Beeduino as shown

Step 13: Conclusion

Picture of Conclusion

This was a very successful project and i am very happy with the ease of use and programming of the Beeduino as well as the cost. Although it took some effort to make the first one but i am planning to make them in greater number which would make it even faster to build them.

Future prospects include improving the PCB design and manufacture process.

Thank you for viewing and please comment you thoughts.


ptjj999 (author)2017-11-04

The schematic shows the 2 22pf capacitors connected to ground (as they should be), but on the pcb they are connected to pin 8 (gnd) however there is no connection from pin 8 or the capacitors to ground (see attached). Is this an error in the pcb layout?

winnetouch (author)2016-11-05

The dropbox link is busted. Could you possibly fix it? I would like to try and build this but it's kind of moot if I don't have the pcb design :P

signOnthe (author)winnetouch2016-11-10

"We can’t find what you’re looking for."

kedwa30 (author)2016-03-24

Nice 'ibble! I was just wondering if anyone ever tried to make one of these without using any kind of board so as to make it as compact as possible. Also, do you know about the ESP? I know there is an ESP that is Arduino compatible, but I don't yet know if it is a drop in replacement. Any info is appreciated.

مالسيد (author)2016-02-06

good job

but the file removed on dropbox please re upload the files

jeepermf (author)2015-06-28

I find these 'ibles, about "cheap" Arduino systems, interesting, but very impractical. I find it impossible to justify the time and effort to do-it-myself, when I can buy bare UNO boards for less than $2, and complete UNO-imposter systems for $4-8 on eBay. I use Arduino Nano systems, and never pay more than $3 for them. If you are going to DIY your own board, then a comparison against the retail $30 price tag is irrelevant, and you should compare against the alternative UNOs available.

nax (author)jeepermf2016-01-25

Really nice if you decide to build something permanent, though, since you can add components to the board, use traces instead of wires, and skip components that do not apply to the particular project.

Festrada007 (author)jeepermf2015-06-28

you don't have to be a jerk, this guy made this thin himself, anyone can go out and buy something, like you complainers. But to build something with your own hands, weather it is cheaper or not is a great feeling that only the creative can appreciate. I think this is a great project and I plan on making one or ten myself. If you think this is a waste of time then you are on the wrong website, stick to Amazon and ebay, let the creators and makers share their projects with out criticizing remarks here.

jeepermf (author)Festrada0072015-06-28

I'm sorry you felt I was being a jerk. My point was that the author presented this as an economical alternative to purchasing a UNO board. While it can be less expensive than a UNO board at retail prices, it is nowhere near cost competitive with the UNO knock-offs readily available through eBay. And, if you are willing to use a Pro Mini or a Nano, you would be hard pressed to even purchase the processor for what the complete boards sell for. I appreciate the efforts the author has gone to produce this clone, and I am somewhat jealous of the etched board, as I haven't done one in nearly 50 years. I agree that this is a great project as a learning exercise, but it has few practical uses. The UNO is a development/test platform, not a production platform, so having many of these is not terribly practical. I think this would be a great teaching project in a computer science or STEM classroom.

I do build with my own hands, I just don't find it practical to build the processor board when they are so inexpensive. I devote my efforts in putting the systems to practical use.

loptica62 (author)jeepermf2015-08-30

Dear Mr. Jeepermf............. you are obviously missing the point here....... All of you Americans have it so easy that you are not aware of it..... As stated above it's easy (when you have enough MONEY) just to go out and buy something "cheap" just beacuse you are a resident of the USA..... Put yourself, if you can, in the shoes of someone who is not so over-privillaged as you. Of course, no offence, no envy ....

Cheers !

Festrada007 (author)jeepermf2015-06-28

My point is this is not a place to shop for cheap hardware, this is a place for exchanging ideas and for expressing creativity. This project is excellent, If you are into making things the this is the project for you, if not keep your criticism to yourself. The ones on ebay are already built and designed. This guy is using his brain and his mind to create something. You may not like it but no boy care that you can find one cheaper, the rest of us are stoked that this guy can make his own from a bunch of supplies. So a good rule of thumb is when you want to criticize the creation of someone else on this page, "It is better to be thought a fool, then to speak and remove all doubt."

Just be nice to people and give praise where paise is due, if you dont like it... find something you do like and comment on that instead. You owe this guy an apology.

We're not complaining, just saying it's unnecessary and more time consuming vs buying a cheap one, I got two nanos for six bucks including $1.50 shipping.

you do understand what this web site is for right? I'm not confident you do, it is a place were people share their skills in making stuff. An Instructable on shopping would be kinda dumb.

Did you read all of the other comments I'm not confident you did, you see the point of what I was saying is that all this work on this SPECIFIC instructable is unnecessary because the original goal of it is to save you money, I was pointing out that if you shop around, you can get twice the bang for your buck.

bjkayani (author)Festrada0072015-06-28

thank you for the support. i am planning on making attiny based duinos with usb feature. which will be very cheap and a new thing.

Devesh Parashar (author)bjkayani2015-06-28

I've seen many arduino making tutorials but none that have the usb interface.
I'll be waiting for your next project.

jeepermf (author)bjkayani2015-06-28

Which ATtiny are you thinking about? I am using the ATtiny-85, which only has 6 I/O pins, only 4 pins if you use an external clock. And it has no UART. Even the overhead of implementing I2C is almost more than it can handle. Since I only need to pass 8-bits of data, I am using a proprietary slow-clock, one-wire communications, which leaves me 5 I/O pins for my project.

Silver2107 (author)Festrada0072015-06-28

My feelings exactly :)

bjkayani (author)jeepermf2015-06-29

Well you may be living at a good location but for me even the nano costs $9 so at least for me the Beeduino is cheaper. Plus when using uno i finalized projects the usb section is waste of resources. Whereas nothing like that in Beeduino

jeepermf (author)bjkayani2015-06-29

I live in the United States, so we may have "blessed" postage rates. However, the basic cost of the unit should be the same, regardless of where you live. Nanos and Pro Minis are regularly available, on eBay, for $3 USD, or less, from China. UNO compatibles are available starting at $4 USD (ex. eBay item 311155383820). Shipping to different countries could the "great equalizer".

loptica62 (author)jeepermf2015-08-30

living in the USA has it's benefits..... (see comment above)

oululife (author)jeepermf2015-07-27

Yep, shipping 5 Arduino Pro Mini ($10) costs nothing to ship to Finland, no taxes, it's too small an amount to bother with.

bjkayani (author)jeepermf2015-06-29

Well i agree that the price is $2 to $4 but the shipping is expensive. Plus the custom duties and sales tax and payment tax. So it ends up being a lot for me at least. Where as the Beeduino costs $6 ready to use. And you could make the Beeduino even cheaper because you can get the Atmega328 for $1 and rest of the parts for the same amount. So even cheaper for you. But does require effort.

loptica62 (author)jeepermf2015-08-30


If I were located where you are I would find that even $2 is expensive..... I would probably get away with $0.95 or less depending on the quantity..... and number of used recycled parts. I have made BB Arduinos from flat-cables, no soldering required..... assembly time under 30 min.............. Cheers!

bjkayani (author)jeepermf2015-06-28

Well true but this is aimed toward learning the basics. And for DIY purposes. And this is just the very first of its kind. With time i will further improve the design to add more features which would make it more advanced yet cheaper than retail ones.

jeepermf (author)bjkayani2015-06-28

I look forward to seeing your enhancements. At $30, you can buy a Raspberry PI, which is far more powerful, but not always as practical as an Arduino. My latest project has an ATtiny slaved to a Pro Mini. The Raspberry PI would have been gross over-kill. When it is finished, a may consider turning it into an Instructable.

Festrada007 (author)jeepermf2015-06-28

Raspbery pi's cannot do PWM, they have to fake it, Pi's and Micro-controllers all have their place. the Pi could be used with ATtiny in cool projects for sure, but noy here. this project was to make your own duino based board and it is done very well.

Istarian (author)Festrada0072015-06-30

I don't how there is a substantial difference there. Hardware vs Software isn't really 'faking it' anymore than an emulated CPU in an FPGA is 'faking it'. A Pi can do many things an arduino cannot and would allow you to control a dedicated signal generator via the GPIO.

Festrada007 (author)Istarian2015-07-04

The Pi has to emulate PWM. It is not a true square wave and takes many CPU cycles. It is not precisely timed either it's analog. The arduino it hardware PWM and can to both digital and analog out of many pins. The Pi can only fake it out of 1 or 2 pins

Festrada007 (author)Istarian2015-06-30

exactly, the Pi and the Arduino are not the same animal. I built a robot using the Raspberry Pi as the main brain, it gathered its information from sensors that were controlled with an /arduino. The servo's and most everything else were controlled with Arduino Pr minis and directed by the Pi. the Pi is hundreds of times more powerful and faster than the Arduino. The Pi just cannot do clock cycle or interrupt based functions as precise as the arduino. dont get me wrong, I am a fan of both, they each have a place and a job.

jeepermf (author)bjkayani2015-06-30

I did investigate my costs to build this board, and it would be under $6 USD, provided I wanted to build more than one board. Primarily because I have almost everything, except the ATmega328 & socket, boards and etching supplies.

What I do thank you for, out of this project, is pointing me to ExpressPCB. While, having them manufacture my boards is not cost effective, using their software, as you have, to develop the PCB layout so I can manufacture my own, is great.

This is a great project, and you have done excellent work. I just don't think the premise should based on "cheap" Arduino boards. Unless you have lots of parts laying around, startup costs would require building multiples of boards to bring the cost down.

Festrada007 (author)bjkayani2015-06-28

AWESOME job!!! The people complaining could not have done what you did...

That is an unnecessary over generalization. I have access to about the same kind of tools he has and have done similar things in the past. It is a good exercise if you want to get into the area, but if you are looking for cost effectiveness, you'll not find it here. It's a nice project, but the overall goal of it is solvable in an easier way. Which mention, because many people that look for this don't have the right tools, and just want a cheap arduino.

uwezi (author)jeepermf2015-06-28

I have to agree with jeeprmf. When it comes to learning the basics then I wonder why you need several 'duinos and shields anyway. Build up your particular circuit on a solderless breadboard, debug the design and then make a dedicated circuit board for your particular application.

Using the bare microcontroller without bootloader and 'duino-based limitations gives you much more possibilities and much greater freedom than sticking to 'duino.

Don't get me wrong, I think the 'duinos are a great first step, but in my eyes they really start to block you very quickly if you know or want to know the electronics behind and use the controller in your own projects. And if you really want to, you can of course use the 'duino-bootloader in a breadboard design as well - only thing you couldn't use is a shield, but hey, you get all the shielded components either bare or on breakout boards as well.

My best negative example recently was a group of students who used a very common keyboard shield for its simplicity - without knowing/understanding/noticing that it used different-valued resistors and thus stole all (almost all?) analog input capabilites from the 'duino - just in order to read some keypresses... why?

Jack Williamson made it! (author)2015-08-16

The only thing that I can say is that it is very hard to fit on to a 5cm by 7cm piece of SCI board.

I dn't think you can attach an arduino shield with that.

No you can't but the good thing is that you can then make arduino shields to the size of that arduino. So you don't have to buy oversized sci board to make shields and then end up cutting them down to size.

loptica62 (author)2015-08-30

GREAT WORK ! Just keep up what you are doing and don't mind the comments from the over-priveledged citizens of the west..... cheers!

beic (author)2015-08-22

Just awesome dude! Thumbs Up!!! +++

oululife (author)2015-07-27

Must admit, I wouldn't make one myself - too expensive, because I use 3,3V Chinese Pro Minis like sweets - if I need, say, a few sine waves and a pseudo-random pulse gen for my work (I'm designing data loggers with XMEGA MCU's) I just grab one, slap it in a breadboard/bit of stripboard, cut'n'paste a few caned routines I've got and "ren Robert Uncle" (Bob's your uncle!)
Still, good for every arduino fan to do this at least once, for the experience and acheivement!
BUT....I'm working on an XMEGA idea, to make a kinda XMEGA Nano, using same manufacturing technique. Maybe the xmega32E5, or a 128A4U? Latter has its own bootloader already programmed on chips from Atmel, but the simplest programmer (it's PDI, not ISP) is €20. Anyone interested if I do an instructable?

Aside: if you're int Arduinos/Megas/Xmegas, save up your money, get an AVR Dragon! With Atmel Studio 6,2 (free - inc. the Arduino IDE plugin) and feel the power of single-stepping code, watching registers change, even turning on LED's by a click of a mouse! POWER!!!!! Best €40 I spent!

AjieP (author)2015-07-19

can i see the schematics for this project? i use eagle pcb

DonK2 (author)2015-07-17

I am truly impress. This is great work. The reason for that is the steps are so clear, your explanation etc. It encourages one to attempt it also gives options for those who can't afford the Arduino or concern about the many different versions. Great work and keep it.

MichelL10 (author)2015-07-16

I'm not able to burn the bootloader :-(

avrdude: AVR device not responding
avrdude: initialization failed, rc=-1
Double check connections and try again, or use -F to override
this check.

TanR (author)2015-07-10

I see there are some traces with 90 degrees angle. This is a no no in PCB drawing. You might want to consider redraw them with at least 45 degrees or lesser.

lhj734017 (author)TanR2015-07-14

whats the reasoning behind this? just curious

bjkayani (author)lhj7340172015-07-14

learning, happiness, sense of accomplishment and fun

lhj734017 (author)bjkayani2015-07-14

sorry that was for the comment about 90 degree traces

bjkayani (author)lhj7340172015-07-14

oh. sorry.

bjkayani (author)TanR2015-07-10

thanks for the tip. i will change that in the future. you can do it as well. that drawing file is given

MichelL10 (author)2015-07-14

10uF or 100uF?

About This Instructable




Bio: I am an 19 year old DIY ist and Tinkerer with a deep interest in the field of robotics, electronic and cooking. I am skilled ... More »
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