Matt Mets of Blinkinlabs shared a tutorial on making solder paste stencils quickly by hand:
This is a truly quick and dirty method for making solder masks, and is nice because it only requires a few hand tools. It’s great for situations when you want to test a new design or make a single, small run of boards, but don’t want to waste time and money on a professional stencil.
Dirty DIY stencils - [Link]
By Sophi and Garrett @ element14.com
The new version of Eagle is on out! The biggest changes coming are a new design feature and an improved autorouter. We are both veterans of Eagle and PCB board design so this blog is intended as both a review and a tutorial of the new features that Eagle v7 brings. Let’s dive right in.
To make the design process more real, we decided to design a circuit from scratch. A simple circuit that Sophi has worked with is one that uses an audio signal to control a hobby servo, which could be used to control an animatronic. It’s a little early for Halloween, but Sophi had used this circuit before and planed on using it again in October. Many thanks to Scary Terry who gave us permission to use his design.
Eagle v7 Beta Review - [Link]
Create circuit boards in minutes, from home, at the cost of a cup of coffee – Squink prints conductive ink and assembles your circuit.
Building electronics has always been a compromise between cost, flexibility and time. Squink was created to provide all three, anywhere and to everyone.
Squink is another way to look at circuit prototyping. Unleash your creativity, test your ideas on the spot, improve them quickly, and use a range of materials to make your circuits, all while an intuitive software walks you through the different steps.
Squink – the personal electronic circuit factory - [Link]
The award winning EAGLE is a powerful and flexible PCB design software offering high level functionality of expensive commercial circuit board design software at a fraction of the cost for over 20 years. EAGLE offers the three modules: Schematic-Editor, Layout Editor and Autorouter embedded on one single interface. EAGLE is easy to learn, easy to use and easy to buy. It runs on Linux, Mac and Windows and allows feature enhancement, such as simulation, 3D-visualization, data import and export and self defined commands, through User Language Programs (ULP’s) which are partly integrated in EAGLE and available at the download area.
EAGLE Version 7 is released! - [Link]
Making your own PCB boards for DIY electronics projects is not difficult. Doing so as a DIY project is extremely handy and allows almost anyone to custom design one-off, or small batch circuit layouts relatively quickly and cheaply, without the need for the volumes or costs involved in using the services of professional circuit board manufacturers. With care, DIY PCB project results are usually of extremely high quality and are very satisfying. Even more interest can be added to projects when printed circuit boards are combined with CNC cutter designs for shaping of the circuit boards.
There are various different methods for making PCB boards. Each method has various pros and cons, with most considerations being linked to cost, quality of finished product, accuracy required for fine circuits and availability of chemicals and materials.
DIY Etching of Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) - [Link]
by Chang Fei Yee @ edn.com:
This paper discusses the essential steps taken to achieve a low-EMI prototype before conducting compliance tests in an anechoic chamber. These steps include electronic circuit design for minimal radiation, and pre-compliance inspections. The pre-compliance inspections include simulated EMI analysis of a printed circuit board (PCB) layout model using 3DEM software, and a near-field EM scan of the prototype PCB using a spectrum analyzer (SA). Success is confirmed by anechoic testing.
Build low-EMI prototypes: The essentials - [Link]
Any experienced engineer will tell you that power supply design is not a trivial exercise and bad design often leads to poor system reliability. For more than a decade now engineers have been able to use the Texas Instruments WEBENCH design tools to streamline power supply design.
The online software allows designers to quickly create, optimize and simulate a complete design using calculation algorithms and the SPICE simulator tool provided by the WEBENCH Power Designer software. Careful PCB layout can also be critical for power supply performance. Texas Instruments have now added PCB Export to the WEBENCH suite of design tools. This allows engineers to run electrical and thermal simulations to characterize their designs, create a power supply PCB layout, and export it to Altium, Cadence Design Systems, Inc., CadSoft Computer, Mentor Graphics and RS Components CAD platforms.
According to the press release WEBENCH Power Designer together with PCB Export will help reduce PCB board design time from hours to minutes and take into account best layout practices to reduce noise and thermal issues.
WEBENCH now with PCB Export - [Link]
by Michael Dunn:
Thanks to software engineer and hardware hobbyist Bob Alexander, next time you need a batch of PCBs, make his PCB Shopper site your first stop. Enter your basic board specs, like size, layer count, and quantity, and out pops a list of vendors (from China, USA, Canada, & Germany) along with prices and delivery time (BTW, here’s another Canadian source that hasn’t made his list yet: Bittele/7pcb). The site also has a nice little summary of CAD tools.
pcbshopper.com – Find the cheapest PCB manufacturers - [Link]
Get a professionally manufactured PCB for your design completely FREE!
We are happy to announce our new PCB giveaway program for the OSHW community. We will professionally manufacture 5 pieces of your PCB design and ship them to you worldwide completely free. We just ask to publish your Open Source design on Electronics-Lab.com projects section (under your name) and you will get your PCBs for free in 15-25 days (depending on destination). All designs submitted will be manually reviewed and if applicable will be processed for manufacturing.
The process is simple:
- Submit your design on the email below (Cadsoft EAGLE files in ZIP are preferred)
- We review your design based on how well it’s designed, how useful it is for the OSHW community
- You get notified by email if your design is accepted or not
- We process your design for manufacturing
- We publish your project here on Electronics-Lab.com
- You receive your PCB copies in 15-25 days
Some rules apply:
- You must be the project owner (your project will be published with your name)
- Your PCB can be 1 or 2 layers (max dimensions 10x15cm)
- Your PCB design should meet manufacture specifications (we will let you know if your board meets specs)
- You will get 5 boards for free + free worldwide shipping
- Your design should be clean and pass most of ERC and DRC rules (electrical/design rule check)
- All projects submitted should have at least: Schematic, PCB design, description / diagrams, code if available (photos are welcome)
- CadSoft Eagle is the preferred CAD software to design your PCB (exported Gerber files from other software will be accepted)
Submit your projects NOW on webmaster @ electronics-lab.com (subject: Get your PCB for Free). You will get notified if your PCB meets minimum design specifications to participate on PCB giveaway program.
Feel free to ask any questions below.
Happy PCB designing!
UPDATES – Projects approved so far:
- Open Source 3.2″ TFT Smart Display
- FM Transmitter MAX4467 & MAX2606
- DC Motor Driver using L293D
- LED Binary Clock – Arduino Shield Compatible
- 24×6 LED Matrix Control Circuit
- Automatic School Bell
- BO.Duino – ATmega328 Arduino board
- FM VCO Transmitter
- Low Frequency Spectrum Analyzer
- MAX2606 – Hands-Free Car Kit for Cell Phones
- Simple SMD LED tester
- miniLOG – Precision Standalone Voltage Logger
- MCU Controlled Spot Welder
- AMP – Arachnoid Mobile Platform
- Temperature Controlled PC FAN
- Variable Power Supply with LM7812
- ATmega64 Development Board
- EGYDuino – Arduino compatible board
- 8 Opto-isolated Relay board
- Serial AVR and PIC programmer
- 0-30V Laboratory Power Supply
- Thermocouple Type-K amplifier
Ben is always looking for new tools and processes to help with all the projects he builds. He’s got a CNC mill, laser cutter, and a 3-D printer, but hasn’t found a way to whip up a PCB at his shop. He’s hand wired many circuits, but this can be tedious. He’s designed PCBs in Eagle and sent them off for production at a board house, but this doesn’t help when he wants a PCB the same day. In this episode, Ben experiments with three methods of PCB etching and shares the results.
Let’s Try PCB Etching! - [Link]