Home Articles Make your own PCBs form A to Z (page 1/3)  

Make your own PCBs form A to Z
using Eagle Layout Editor + Photoshop
author: Hlias Hliadis
(page 1/3)

Making your own PCBs is a procedure that needs extreme care so the result become usefull. Many times you faced up the challenge to print out your own PCBs many times or many different PCBs in one sheet. In this article we will discuss how you can do this compining common software tools. Also we will discuss how to print out PCBs from Elektor magazine along with your own custom made PCB in one transparency, after processing it using Photoshop CS for better results.


The software tools you need are:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS (image processing).

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader (PDF files reader).

  • Eagle Layout Editor 4.11 Freeware (PCB design).

  • PCB PDF files from Elektor magazine (available at their website)

see (page 3/3) for resources.


For the beginning we will design a simple circuit to Eagle which will flash two LED diodes. Open Eagle, under Projects right click and then left click to New Project.

Give a name to the new Project, for example Blinking Led and then click Enter.

Under the Project you created, right click and select New and then Schematic.

Right away the schematic editor will show up Project : Blinking Led

After finishing the circuit design, you must check it out for design faults or not connected components. This can be done clicking Erc   button from the tools.

Then we must transfer the design to the PCB design program. This can be done clicking on Board   button and the program will automatically start putting the components and there connections on the work area.

At this point you must arrange the components as you like, but you should have in mind to put them in places so the shortest route connects them.`

After completing the components arrangement use button Ratsnet  from the tools bar to let the program re-route the components connections to be the shortest possible. Final click Auto  button and select the Layer you wish (for example Top for one side PCBs) and then click OK so the PCB traces will be drawn.

The result is like the PCB shown below.

Autorouter settings 1 TOP [N/A] - 16 Bottom [*]. You leave the rest as is.

When the PCB design is ready it's time to export it to an image file to be able to process it using Photoshop CS.

First of all we must hide the layers we don't need, for example the components, the names, values and let only the PCB traces.

To achieve this we must click on  Display   button from the tools bar and "Del" the following selections:

20 Dimension

21 tPlace

22 bPlace

After pressing OK we must see some a screen similar to this one:

Then click  FileExport  and select Image.

This image will show up:

As more Resolution you choose the best processing will occur in Photoshop CS, also you must check Monochrome box, give a name and click OK.

You must be careful choosing Resolution, because the more dpi has result the best quality but the bigger file size,  300 dpi it's a good resolution for print out.


File:                     BlinkLed.bmp
Resolution:           300dpi

The result is this:

At this point we no longer need Eagle, the next step it processing the image using Photoshop CS


Processing image using Photoshop >>


120x90 spot



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