Introduction: Design Your Own PCB Business Card

Picture of Design Your Own PCB Business Card

In this instructable I am going to show you how to make your own printed circuit board business card. I feel that these business cards will really help you stand out from the crowd and make a great impression. It might even add one more skill to your resume. Everyone that I have given these cards out to has been really impressed and thought it was a great idea. I have regular business cards as well and I only selectively give out my circuit board cards. You can take it to the next level by soldering different circuits on the cards. I made one of my cards into a standalone Arduino.

Step 1: Download PCB Design Software

A computer with the PCB design software CadSoft Eagle installed is all you will need.

You can download it for free here. Download the program for your operating system(Linux, Windows or Mac). When you run the program for the first time, choose the "Run as freeware option." You can use this as long as you do not sell any of your boards. You are just fine making business cards and small circuit boards for yourself. There are some limitations to using the Freeware version of Eagle. The useable board area is limited to 100 x 80 mm (4 x 3.2 inches), only two signal layers can be used (Top and Bottom), and the schematic editor can only create one sheet. Other than that, it has all the features that the professional version has.

Step 2: Download the Board File and Add Your Details

Picture of Download the Board File and Add Your Details

Download my board file and open it with Eagle. To add you name and details, right click the plus sign at the upper left hand of the text and click on properties. Customize the board as much as you want. I added a silkscreened logo to the back of my board in the same location at the contact information. To do this, you will need to learn a bit about layers. Layer 21(tPlace) and layer 22(bPlace) are used for silkscreening the top and bottom of the board respectively. Create your logo and flip it horizontally and save it as a bitmap(.bmp). In Eagle, go to File->Import->Bitmap and import your logo to layer 22. If you want to change the shape of the board, you can edit layer 20(Dimension) with the Polygon tool in the tool bar.

Step 3: Order Your Circuit Board Business Cards

Once you are satisfied with your board, it's time to order. There are a ton of board houses to choose from, but my favorite for small runs like this is DirtyPCBs. It's not what is sounds like. They aren't dirty at all. Well, they are dirty cheap. I'm a big fan of their Protopack for $14(5cm x 5cm). You get around 10 PCBs for $14! You might get 8 or you might get 15. For this business card, the Protopack will be $25 because the board fits into the 10cm x 10cm category. Either way, the price is great! Another good thing about DirtyPCBs is all you need to do to order is upload your .brd file and pick a few options. Most board houses will require you to send them gerber files, but they create the gerber files themselves. Now you can choose the board color(Red, Yellow, Green, White, Black), your board thickness and what coating you want. HASL is just fine and it's free. You will not need a stencil for this project because there are not surface mount pads on the boards. The standard shipping is free, but I would recommend shipping with DHL if you can. My boards came in less than 2 weeks with DHL.

That's it! Get creative and make it your own. Watch Eagle tutorials on youtube and you will be a pro in no time.

If you like my project, please vote above and please subscribe to my YouTube Channel to see more of my projects! I am very interested to try out the new HP Sprout.

Thank you.


tsaltzman (author)2015-05-06

Great start on an always great idea. Thanks for the tip on the board house. I've used osh park a few times, but they're kinda pricy in comparison! I think I'll add some on board power(via cr2032) and some leds with a push button. :)

Proto G (author)tsaltzman2015-05-06

Thank you, I'm glad you liked it. Awesome, let me know how it goes.

chrisp22 (author)2015-05-06

The download doesn't seem to work for me. When I click on it, it brings me to a page full of code. Looks interesting and I would love to try it.

P.S spoilers for anyone that isn't caught up with game of thrones yet =P

Proto G (author)chrisp222015-05-06

Right click the file and click "Save Link As..." Just make sure to keep .brd on whatever you name the file. The site must think it's an xml file or something.

chrisp22 (author)Proto G2015-05-06

Awesome thanks! Really cool idea. Is the circuitry on the board anything specific? Or is it just a cool design you liked?

Proto G (author)chrisp222015-05-06

The traces are similar to a breadboard and have the exact same spacing so you can transfer your small breadboard projects to the pcb.

Alicew4 (author)2015-05-04

Thanks for sharing, there are do many board
houses with extremely cheap price. I have tried PCBWay, only $13 for 10 pcs 100*100 mm
PCBs. But they ship with DHL, which is relatively expensive but fast.

Proto G (author)Alicew42015-05-06

That's a great site, thank you for sharing.

Proto G (author)2015-05-06

That's a great site, thank you for sharing.

urivera (author)2015-05-05

WOW this put my mind to fly !!! I start thinking about a lot ideas!!! Great job :) Jon Snow rocks jejeje :) Thank you to share this!!!

logan.byrne.77 (author)2015-05-05

I have a mess load of 27 Ohm resistors, would they work, i have to use them some way. Was thinking of your idea and making it into a model of the KITT car, would that work as well? i am asking permission to use your idea, if that is okay.

pedro_nf (author)2015-05-03

Nice idea but kinda big... take a look at this product from Adafruit:

Proto G (author)pedro_nf2015-05-03

I designed it to fit my wallet and those boards from adafruit are too expensive for what they are. Making them yourself is easy, cheap and you can personalize them.

pedro_nf (author)Proto G2015-05-03

yes you're right, I read your article too fast... I checked your PCB manufacturer site, didn't know we can get PCB's at these prices... and it is also possible to chose the thickness... which thickness works best?

Proto G (author)pedro_nf2015-05-04

I used 1.2 mm for my first run, but you could use .6mm as well.

techie54 (author)2015-05-04

I truly love this idea. I have read about homespun PCB's used as business cards, but yours is the first I have observed. If you do get your info blotted out on your final spin, I am anxious to see it .I also voted!

Proto G (author)techie542015-05-04

Thank you. If you watch the video you can kind of get an idea, but I think they came out great.

rea5245 (author)2015-05-04

There's a price comparison site for PCB manufacturing: You enter your board's specs and it shows you prices from 25 different manufacturers. DirtyPCBs is on the list, but for 10x10cm boards, there are less expensive alternatives.

Proto G (author)rea52452015-05-04

There are much cheaper sources that I use for higher quantities. I use dirtypcbs for quick small runs. I really like that they accept .brd files directly from Eagle. Most other places will make you give them gerber files.

bytehead (author)2015-05-03

I really like this.

Proto G (author)bytehead2015-05-03

Thanks, I'm glad you like it.

TimB2 (author)2015-05-03

Would this software do as well? It is also free. I use it often and it seems that it has no limits of any kind. I see no limits to how large a PCB you can make with it. It also has the ability to convert schematics to a PCB design.

Proto G (author)TimB22015-05-03

I chose Eagle because is was free and my source(dirtypcbs) takes .brd files which are native to Eagle. You could use any program, it just needs to be able to convert to gerber files to be more universal.

lmiller28 (author)2015-05-03

Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea. You could also use them as luggage tags. I voted also

Proto G (author)lmiller282015-05-03

Thank you. That's a great idea! I am totally doing that. They are super durable and would work great as a luggage tag.

Omarsibles (author)lmiller282015-05-03

Makes me wonder how much TSA scrutiny your luggage might see if a circuit board was attached to the handle!

Omarsibles (author)Omarsibles2015-05-03

Voted... Good luck!

florin2901 (author)2015-05-03

Nice idea.... keep it on..

Proto G (author)florin29012015-05-03

Thank you!

bigone5500 (author)2015-05-03

Nice. Thanks! You got my vote.

Proto G (author)bigone55002015-05-03

Thanks, I'm glad you like it.

PJSolarz (author)2015-05-03

Great idea!

Proto G (author)PJSolarz2015-05-03

Thank you!

anthony.peterson.9275 (author)2015-05-03

Thanks for the source. That's great that there is a decent source for cheap PCBs.

No problem. WHX Circuits is also a good choice for 50+ runs.

dougstrickland (author)2015-05-03

+1 Vote. I like the idea a lot, and I'm wondering about designing a circuit that can easily transfer the card details (like vcf) wirelessly - but without impacting the cards slim profile... SMD FPGA ??

Proto G (author)dougstrickland2015-05-03

Thank you, that's a pretty cool idea! Please let me know if you end up doing that.

You don't need an FPGA to do that, any MPU would be smaller and more effective if you really needed actually processing, otherwise an NFC sticker would do any sort of small detail transfer you wanted for around $5.

DadNerd (author)2015-05-03

I love this. I need to make some of these. do u have any pics of the finished product?

Proto G (author)DadNerd2015-05-03

I do, but I don't want everyone to see my contact information. If you watch the video you can kind of get an idea, but I think they came out great. Thank you.

Mic100 (author)2015-05-03


you can also replace the 5mm RED LED by SMD LED 5050

AptPupil (author)2015-05-02

Great project! I don't know how many of these Jon Snow will be passing out, but they are sure to impress (if anyone can figure out what the heck they are, lol)!



Proto G (author)AptPupil2015-05-02

Thank you, I was wondering if anyone would notice. I didn't want to leave my info there so I put Jon Snow.

PJMOR (author)2015-04-30

An interesting unique idea!

Proto G (author)PJMOR2015-04-30

Thank you, please vote if you like it.

PJMOR (author)Proto G2015-05-01

Already have!

printrbot932 (author)2015-04-30

Pretty cool but a little pricy at 2 dollars a piece? vs 2 cents a piece.still a cool idea voted

Proto G (author)printrbot9322015-05-01

Yeah, I use them sparingly. I've only given them to Presidents and CEOs of different companies and they have always been really impressed. It is definitely worth $2 to make a great first impression with certain people. I also use them as prototyping boards for myself. Thank you.

Proto G (author)2015-04-30

I'm glad you liked it! Please vote for me in the contest, thanks!

skepticaljay (author)2015-04-29

I like it

About This Instructable




Bio: Electromechanical Engineer, Product Designer, Maker. I love to make prototypes and teach others in the process. I graduated from UCF and spent two years working ... More »
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