Make your own PCBs form A to Z
Eagle Layout Editor + Photoshop
and click Open, find file BlinkLed.bmp
and click Open, the program will open the PCB you
created using Eagle.
As you can see the PCB traces are white and the
empty space is black, that must be inverted because we want to
print out the traces.
To achieve this we use the Invert
click on Image –
Invert or use the shortcut
on your keyboard.
Right away the colors will be inverter and we now
have the traces in black and the empty space in white.
As you can see there is an empty white space to
the top of the image that is drossy and aggravate the file size ,
we can eliminate this using Crop Tool
from the tool bar, select the tool, move cursor to the upper
left corner, click right mouse button and drag up to the lower
right corner of the image so the drossy space left out of the
selection. Now the useful part of the image is normal and
the white space became gray. Now double click to the normal
section on press Enter to remove the drossy paper.
If you wish you can fill the white spaces with
black to make a more professional look PCB. To achieve this we
must convert the image to Grayscale
and create a new
Layer. Click on
Image – Mode
– Grayscale, and the menu Grayscale
will show up. To Size Ratio
give value 1 and click OK,
then click to Layer –
New – Layer
or use Shift+CTRL+N
shortcut from your keyboard.
a new Layer is very important,
for the reason that we don't affect the original design and we
can restore it to the previous state if we want to.
With the creation of the Layer
you will see to the Layers
box that you have
which has a lock and
Layer 1 and select the
Paint Bucket Tool
select as main color black:
Next click into the design, it will become black,
but don't be afraid this is going to change in a while!
Now, double click to
Layer Background, and
the dialog box New Layer will
open and then click OK.
You will see that Background
now renamed to Layer 0
and the lock disappears, now click and hold the left mouse
Layer 1 and drag it under
Layer 0, you must be able to see
the original design.
At this point we must see some common functions
Photoshop so we can make our lifes easier. Photoshop
was selected because is the best program - in my opinion - of
it's category, has many facilities on operation, can read PDF
files (Elektor gives PCBs in PDF format) and has the best image
You must beaten using
Polygon Lasso Tool and Hand
Tool. Zoom can be
easily controlled with CTRL+ [Zoom
in] – CTRL- [Zoom
out], Hand tool
is used to move into the image to the section we are interested,
Space and left
we move the image to the work area (Attention,
moves the image in the work area, that means that is
scroll bars, but
moves the image of the Layer),
Polygon Lasso tool
is used pushing L,
Lasso with the help of Shift
button can create horizontal straight lines, vertical and
diagonal. You must always finish the Lasso tool to the point it
started so it makes a closed loop (like the image below.
Experiment with the tools to habituate with their operation.
it's better to create a copy of the design so the prototype so
you always have a untouched copy, click Image
Layer 0, Zoom to image 200%,
move it with the Hand
Tool, select Lasso tool, click near a PCB trace
key and drag the mouse in the direction of the trace.
Follow a go-around to close the loop at
the point you started. If you want to move the image use
The section you selected in now
in a discontinuous line, this section must be filled with
to achieve that select select the background color to black
Repeat the operation to fill all the section you
want to be black and finally the PCB will look like this one:
The “filling” could be achievement using
Eagle with a Script,
but the company that develops Eagle hasn't included a Script
like this yet and the user's scripts have many glitches, so we
to have more flexibility processing our design.
Save the image in
Format ) to be able in future to make any changes.
Now we will open an Elektor's PDF pcb file to
process it using Photoshop.
For our example we use a file from the English
site of Elektor, in the free category
MiniProjects Online, we selected
Led Christmas Decoration.
At webpage there is the word
more… that links
to a PDF file, this
be downloaded (right click "save target as") to you pc.
After you have this file on your hard disk you
must open it with
Photoshop CS, click
Open – File
and open the PDF file.
PDF Page Selector will show up, Inside this
you can see the pages of PDF file, we need the one with the PCB
layer that's on page 2, click on page 2 and
Rasterize Generic PDF Format
dialog box will appear.
Resolution field you must give the same value as our
design has , (if you don't need to attach
another PCB file then give a value between 150 and 600 dpi) at
this example put 300dpi and click
The file will open in Photoshop's working area.
We must remove any schematic, text and layout we
don't need using Crop tool. Select the PCB area and click
Enter. Now only the PCB remains.
This PCB must be printed two times for the
construction and let's assume we want to make this construction
twice. That means we need it four times.
To reproduce the PCB 4 times, we must change the
paper size to our original design to Α4, Α4 measures
21 – Height: 29,7), click on
Canvas Size… menu
Put values Width:
21 – Height: 29,7
and click OK, now the paper
has Α4 dimensions.
bar there is
Layer 1 and this is the Layer we must reproduce, to
achieve that click CTRL+A
and you will se to the borders of
the paper discontinuous lines, then click
to copy the Layer to the
computer's memory, now click
times and you will se at Layer
bar 3 Layer
(Layer 2, Layer
3, Layer 4), with
Move Tool arrange the layers to
the page. The page must look like this one:
The empty space we left at the bottom will be
used to add the PCB we created with Eagle Layout.
Open the PCB we made with
make a duplicate copy and close the original one.
Click on layer menu and select Merge Down ή
you will see Layer 1 and
Layer 2 to merge and finally only Layer 1
Click and drag in
Layer1 on top Elektor
and the Eagle PCB will be added to Elektor's pcbs page along
Layer 5 to the Layer bar,
with Move Tool move
Layer 5 to the desired
The PCB we created in
Eagle is smaller than the Elektor's one but if you
then you must don't scare if you see it smaller. At this point
make a test print on
Α4 page to see if everything is printed out correctly and try to
fit a component on top of the page to see if the scale is the
Exposure, Development, Etching