MickM built flat cable to header converter adapters : [via]
I was using some character LCD displays and realised that the cables were impossible to plug into the displays that I actually had. My PCB was single row of 16, the LCD was 2×7, no backlight. So I made an adapter for it.
Flat cable to header converter adapters – [Link]
I found it like a year ago, and I thought I had to give it a try. Bought a syringe and… my life has changed since then. Once you know how to use this stuff properly, your homemade PCB’s will never look the same.
Soldermask ink for homemade PCB’s – [Link]
Eagle is a great cross-platform, free-for-non-commercial-use tool for many of us designing own own circuit boards. But it has a pretty glaring omission: the ability to import vector artwork to use as board outlines, logos, etc. You can import bitmaps via the finicky “import_bmp.ulp” ULP add-on, but bitmaps can’t work for board outlines. So we struggle with Eagle’s rudimentary vector drawing tools or have boring rectangular or circular boards. I think I’ve found a way to robustly transfer vector artwork from Illustrator to Eagle.
Adding Vector Graphics to Eagle PCB – [Link]
I make a lot of breakout boards that I usually use in my hobby projects. Most are input/output devices but some are microcontroller breakout boards.
Breakout Board Collection - [Link]
Simple and cheap, with quick results.
DIY PCB etching container with bubbles – [Link]
I’ve been etching my own prototype boards for many years in a glass tray, using a griddle to heat the solution. The large horizontal area of the solution resulted in lots of fumes that were hard to avoid breathing. The boards etched unevenly (due to hotspots of the griddle) and required a lot of hand agitation (and breathing the awful acid fumes).
Vertical Etching Tank for DIY PCB etching – [Link]
One of the most useful types of PCB’s in the world of electronics is the breakout board. Breakout boards offer prototypers easy access to all pins on an IC that normally has tiny leads in SOP/TSSOP/QFN/BGA type packages. If you’re trying to prototype on a breadboard a breakout board will be your savior, especially if paired with standard 0.1″ SIPs.
DIY Breakout Board PCB – [Link]
Brad Lyuster of Louisville’s LVL1 hackerspace wrote an excellent guide to etching your own PCBs. [via]
A few months ago, the spoiled electrical engineer that I am, I never would have considered making my own PCBs. Any project worth taking off the breadboard was worth sending to China to get made “right.”
Of course, there isn’t always time and money to send something to China. Today’s installment is the Sumo-bot board I’m trying to put together for the Hive13 sumobot competition. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like poor Snoopy bot will make it to the ring, but the board making process itself is worth talking about.
Toner Transfer and Muriatic Acid Etchant: Making PCBs at LVL1 – [Link]
Kelvin writes: [via]
I was designing PCB using Kicad recently. For slightly more complex board, I was lazy to route them and instead use the in-built autoroute feature. Kicad autoroute feature seems inadequate. This is when I found the free autorouting tool at FreeRouting.net
To use the tool, one needs to export the PCB design to standard Specctra DSN interface. Kicad can do that. Critical traces can be hand routed first, and the tool respects design rules imposed by designer. Once that is done, you can go for a coffee break, while the autorouter does the crunching. For the board that I tired out, I am impressed with the result.
Online PCB routing software – [Link]