In this class, you will learn how to design a custom printed circuit board from a breadboard prototype. This is useful if you want to make multiple copies of a circuit board for your project, or simply want to add a level of polish and professionalism to your work. By creating your own custom circuit boards, you are elevating your project to more refined levels of design and fabrication.
While this may seem intimidating, it is actually easy to do if you take your time and do it carefully. I will show you how to digitize a circuit in the freeware version of Autodesk Eagle and then how to convert the schematic into board files which can be sent out for fabrication. Once you see for yourself how easy this process is, you will be hooked. There are few greater feelings in the wild world of electronics than holding your first custom manufactured circuit board in your hand.
I hope that you will follow along with me as I teach you how to design a circuit board.
Randy Sarafan is an artist, designer, inventor, and founder of the Instructables Design Studio. Over the last 10 years he has created hundreds of step-by-step tutorials on diverse subjects ranging from pancakes to self-driving robotic queen-sized beds. He has authored two books, 62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer and Simple Bots.
His work has been showcased by the NY Times, Popular Mechanics, The Today Show, The Tonight Show, NPR, the BBC, Core77, Boing Boing, and the National Examiner (to name a few). He currently splits his time between Brooklyn, NY and the internet.
Lesson 1: PCB Concepts and Materials
We begin by learning some of the basic concepts and terminology related to circuit boards. We will review what tools and materials you will need to complete the class.
PCB Concepts and Materials Started
Lesson 2: Preparing a Schematic
Before we can design the board itself, there is some prep work that needs to happen. In this lesson we will start with a breadboard and end with a digital rendering of the schematic.
Preparing a Schematic Started
Lesson 3: Laying Out the Board
Once the schematic is done, it is just a button-click away from turning in a circuit board. Well... almost. Learn how to layout the parts and draw traces to complete your circuit board.
Laying Out the Board Started
Lesson 4: Manufacturing
In this lesson we cover basic validation of the design file and discuss selecting a manufacturer.
Lesson 5: Assembling the Board
Finally, we assemble our board and see if it works. Hopefully all is good in the hood. However, if there are problems, we touch on some basic troubleshooting techniques.
Assembling the Board Started
Now that you have the skills, what are you waiting for?
Get out there and make something!