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Std EditionHow to build a Circuit Board(PCB)

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Published Time:2017-02-27 19:01:43
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Description

One of the key concepts in electronics is the printed circuit board or PCB. It's so fundamental that people often forget to explain what a PCB is.

What is a Printed Circuit Board?

A printed circuit board (PCB) is a plastic board made for connecting electronic components together. These are used in almost all computers and electronics today.

A printed circuit board (PCB) mechanically supports and electrically connects electronic components using conductive tracks, pads and other features etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. Components (e.g. capacitors, resistors or active devices) are generally soldered on the PCB. Advanced PCBs may contain components embedded in the substrate.

The main task in designing a PCB is figuring out where all the components are going to go. Normally there is a design or schematic that will be turned into a PCB.

printed circuit board

How To Build Your Own Printed Circuit Boards?

How do you go about designing your own PCB? The ins and outs of PCB design are way too in depth to get into here, but if you really want to get started, here are some pointers:

1.Find a CAD package: there are a lot of low-cost or free options out there on the market for PCB design. Things to consider when choosing a package:

  • Community support: are there a lot of people using the package? The more people using it, the more likely you are to find ready-made libraries with the parts you need.
  • Ease-of-use: if it’s painful to use it, you won't.
  • Capability: some programs place limitations on your design- number of layers, number of components, size of board, etc. Most of them allow you to pay for a license to upgrade their capability.
  • Portability: some free programs do not allow you to export or convert your designs, locking you in to one supplier only. Maybe that's a fair price to pay for convenience and price, maybe not.

2.Look at other people's layouts to see what they have done. Open Source Hardware makes this easier than ever.

3.Practice, practice, practice.

4.Maintain low expectations. Your first board design will have lots of problems. Your 20th board design will have fewer, but will still have some. You’ll never get rid of them all.

5.Schematics are important. Trying to design a board without a good schematic in place first is an exercise in futility.

Choose a PCB design tool

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, such as EasyEDA. EasyEDA is a cloud-based EDA tool suite which supports open source and working collaboratively, integrating schematic drawing, spice simulation, PCB layout and PCB production. It's a free software as well without any limitations. It has a lot of inbuilt libraries by Seeed Studio Open Parts Library (OPL), Adafruit, Dangerous Prototype, Sparkfun and KiCad.

EasyEDA

Normally for beginners, you would like your PCB design to be reviewed by someone experienced before going ahead to manufacture the PCBs right? With EasyEDA platform, you can easily share your projects with other experienced PCB designers all over the world. You can get their suggestions and comments on how to improve your design. By sharing your projects, it also helps to grow the open-source community and cultivate the learning and sharing spirit.

Starting with schematics

Before you start designing the PCB, it's important to make a schematic. The schematic will serve as a blueprint when you layout the PCB. It's not absolutely essential to make a schematic first, but it makes the design process much easier. You can either find a schematic diagram that someone else has designed, or you can create your own from scratch. Then start by drawing your schematic diagram into the software you have chosen.

schematic drawing

Draw Circuit Board Layout

So, you have your schematics drawn in your design tool. Now you need to transfer your schematic diagram into a drawing of your printed circuit board, You need to draw the wires that connect the different components. Drawing PCB is artwork. Take your time, and make sure it looks good. Follow the PCB design guidelines for drawing circuit boards.

Draw Circuit Board Layout

Get the PCB Board Made

When you are done drawing your board, it's time to get your board made. You could export your PCB design to a PDF file, print it, and etch the PCB yourself. But that's a messy and time consuming process. It's a lot easier (and cheaper) to order it from a professional manufacturer.

The simplest way is to directly order PCBs from EasyEDA. Once the board is done, you can use their Gerber viewer for a last minute check, then go ahead and order the production, at some very decent rates.

PCB product

Making your own custom PCB is a lot of fun, if you want to develop a new electronic hardware product, we recommend you read the below article. The Ultimate Guide – How to Develop a New Electronic Hardware Product With our one stop solution for electronics engineering, from EasyEDA free PCB editor to low-cost PCB prototype and components ordering service, you can bring your great ideas to finished product easier, faster and cheaper.

Documents

LED-Merry Me_PCB

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ID Name Designator Footprint Quantity
1 SN74LS595N U1RD,U1GN,U1BL,U2RD,U2GN,U2BL DIP16 6
2 LED-RGB-CA-THRU D0,D1,D2,D3,D4,D5,D6,D7,D8,D9,D10,D11,D12,D13,D14,D15 LED-RGB-THRU 16
3 1k R0BL,R0GN,R0RD,R1BL,R1GN,R1RD,R2BL,R2GN,R2RD,R3BL,R3GN,R3RD,R4BL,R4GN,R4RD,R5BL,R5GN,R5RD,R6BL,R6GN,R6RD,R7BL,R7GN,R7RD,R8BL,R8GN,R8RD,R9BL,R9GN,R9RD,R10BL,R10GN,R10RD,R11BL,R11GN,R11RD,R12BL,R12GN,R12RD,R13BL,R13GN,R13RD,R14BL,R14GN,R14RD,R15BL,R15GN,R15RD R3 48
4 SIP6 P1 HDR1X6 1
5 100n C1BL,C1GN,C1RD,C2BL,C2GN,C2RD C1 6
6 1u C2,C3 CP_8X13MM 2
7 74LS14 U3 DIP14 1

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