Introduction: 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
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.