To create a PCB Design you need to draw holes, pads and wires for your circuit. Then you send this drawing to a manufacturer or you etch it yourself.
Sounds hard? Don’t worry, there are many free tools out there that will help you do this.
Starting with schematics
Before you start drawing wires and stuff, you need to know what circuit you want to build. So you need to find or design schematics for your circuit. And you need a PCB design software. Then you are ready to begin the process.
Start by drawing your schematic diagram into the software you have chosen.
PCB design process
Preparing the board layout
Now it’s time to draw the board. You need to transfer your schematic diagram into a drawing of your printed circuit board.
Drawing PCB’s is artwork. Take your time, and make sure it looks good. Follow the design guidelines for drawing circuit boards.
Most PCB software will have tools that will help you draw your board from the schematic. I can’t cover them all, but I’ve written a PCB design tutorial for Eagle to help you learn.
Things To Think About
Will you put the circuit board in a box? Remember that tall components might need to be laid down flat to fit. With a drawing of your components placed on your board, print it out on a sheet of paper. Use this paper version of your board to test that it will fit the box and that your connectors will fit.
Getting your PCB manufactured
When you are done drawing your board, it is time to get your PCB design ready for manufacturing.
This article is an introduction to circuit board design. I really recommend you to learn this stuff as it will help you tremendously in building projects. It’s because of this knowledge that I am now able to build stuff like quadcopters, LCD screens and other cool gadgets.
To help you, I’ve written an eBook you can download for free, that will show you step by step how to design your own circuit boards – and get them made cheaply.
- Printed Circuit Board Guide for Beginners
- Using the Eagle Command Line
- How to create Eagle Scripts
- PCB terminology
- Beginner’s guide to Eagle CAD
- Board layout tutorial
- Arduino shield tutorial
- Designing a prototype
- Do it yourself PCB.
- Learn how to use the Eagle autorouter.
- Learn how to draw a ground plane in Eagle.
- How To Create a Gerber File Using Eagle
- What You Need To Know About the Gerber Format
- Using a Gerber Viewer To Check For Errors