Picture of How To Get Schematics Fabricated
123D Circuits.io is a site where you can design circuits and PCBs in your browser for free.

This instructable will guide you through all the steps of creating and ordering a PCB.
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Step 1: Getting started: creating an account

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First you have to create an account at https://123d.circuits.io You can also use Facebook or Twitter to log in.

Step 2: Creating a new circuit

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On your dashboard, click "New Circuit".

Step 3: Creating a new project

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Enter a name for your project, select the type of project (choose schematic circuit for this design), and click "Create new".

Step 4: Circuit design: The sidebar

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Step 5: Circuit design: adding components

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To add common components, you can drag them from the left sidebar. If you need more advanced components, click on the "Search Component" button. Here you'll be able to search for other components. You can append an asterisk (*) to search with prefix wildcards, for example "74HC*".

Another example, if you want to add a screw terminal, search for "connector" and choose one.

Step 6: Circuit design: component value

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You can give your components a value by clicking on it and filling in the detail in the inspector appearing at the bottom of the screen.

Step 7: Circuit design: Connecting everything

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To connect two points with each other:
- hover with your cursor over the component and click on the red square denoting a component terminal,
- click the other point in the schematic you want to connect it to (this can be either an existing wire or a terminal)

Step 8: Circuit design: Using labels

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If your schematic is getting more complicated, you can keep it clean by using labels. The schematic on the 3 following screenshots is logically the same.

Step 9: PCB design

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Now that he schematic is complete we can start designing the PCB. This process is often called "laying out a board" or simply "layout" since it involves laying copper traces on the PCB.

Click in the menubar on the left to go to the PCB design.

Step 10: PCB Design: Sidebar

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Step 11: PCB Design: footprints

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By default all the footprints are small surface mount components (SMD). If you want to change the footprint to through hole or any other package, select the component and choose the a different footprint in the pop-up menu.

Step 12: PCB Design: placing your components apart

Picture of PCB Design: placing your components apart
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Place your components such that not too many green lines cross and the design will be easily routable. 

I have a milling machine. Is there anyway to get the g-code to make the board myself or is this software exclusively for making PCBs to be ordered from Autodesk - It's free !!! , but I'd like to know before I spend time learning it

123D Circuits (author)  michael.lamb.18846 months ago
Hi Michael,

Thanks for asking! If you're on 123D.Circuits.io and you're looking at a circuit like this: http://123d.circuits.io/circuits/293994-td-schematic-2#pcb

You'll see a button on the right side that says "Download Gerbers".

Gerbers are the files that describe the many layers of a printed circuit board (PCB). We zip them up into one file for you and you can find many PCBs that are ready to mill, or design your own.

To mill the PCB you need software that reads gerbers and outputs G-Code or directly drives the mill. We have actually done this at work, we use software called "Other Plan" that you can get here: https://othermachine.co/company/blog/introducing-otherplan-duet/

It works with our "Other Mill". If you have a different mill like a Shapeoko you can search around to see if people are using it's software to mill PCBs.

That sounds great. I'll give it a go

is it possible to print the PCB to create a mask?

XYZAidan5 months ago

Should the ground plane be connected to ground in my circuit?

In the step with the copper trace rerouting the interface on the picture is different from the interface i get, and i don't have a routing tool. How do i reroute copper traces?

josefdz9 months ago

Hello. How can I add a text on the board? I want to label some parts.

Thank You

If you want to move a surface mount (SMT) part to the other side, you select it and press "F" on the keyboard. Took me a little while to find that in the FAQ.

Also, they said that if you're in the middle of a route and type "L" to change sides then a via is added automatically! Nice.

And + and - keys when routing make the trace width bigger/smaller I believe. I haven't tried that yet though.

Anyone else having problems with Silkscreen text changes not saving and auto-reverting to previous state upon exit of editor?

It keeps reverting back to version with "start typing" across left-hand header pin.


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that was something i was looking for.

Great tutorial.
Thank you for your time.
Raphango1 year ago
Great! Now I'll put my hands on my own PCB!
Thank you!