Intro 2 PCB Fab


Instructor: Andy Sigler


Class Time: Wednesday nights, 6:30-9pm

Office Hours: 15 minutes (5 minutes between) Sign up here


ITP is pass/fail, but you do still get graded. To pass, students must document and show work and progress through out the semester, and cannot miss more than 2 classes without prior notice.

  • Attendance and Participation: 30%
  • Blogging and Assignments: 30%
  • Final Project: 40%

Class 1

Sept. 7

Slideshow from class ---> pdf here

[design #1] Prototype

[production #5] Programming

  • Programming with serial port vs. ISP
  • Programming jigs, solder pads, and pogo pins
    • Here's a tutorial on making a "real" programming jig. This is too professional for what we'll be doing in class, but you can imagine how much design goes into just thinking about how something will be programmed.
    • Here's an example of someone hot-gluing some wire to program a dead Pro Mini. That's a jig too.
    • Here's some pogo pins you can buy from Adafruit

For next class:

  1. Download Eagle, and I recommend start looking at tutorials online
  2. Create a class category on your blog, and send me the link.
  3. Make a prototype of your project for this class, and make a short blog post with the following:
    • a 1-5 sentance description of the final device
    • a video of it working
    • a parts list
      • not like individual components, but like "Adafruit ADXL355 Accelerometer" works
    • a hand/illustrator drawing of the connections
    • the code it uses (if any)

Class 2

Sept. 14

[design #2] Bill of Materials (BOM)

  • Microcontroller on a breadboard
  • Electronics review
  • Common occurances in digital circuits
  • IR-Remote schematic, board design and components
  • DigiKey and searching for parts

[production #4] Populate & Reflow

  • Making a solder-stencil on the laser cutter
  • Spreading solder paste, and fix with pin
  • Place components with SMD vacuum
  • Reflow with heat-gun

For next class:

Populate your IR-Remote, using the PCB files here. Make a blog post with the results, especially if you fail. We all learn from each other's failures if we share them.

Move your prototype forward. Search for components, modules, connectors, and batteries you think you'll need for your project. Include a list of these components in your blog post.

Look through the IR-Remote Eagle file you downloaded above. Play around with it, change it however you like. We'll be making an Eagle schematic in class next week, so come with questions.

Class 3

Sept. 21

[design #3] Schematic

  • Adding Part libraries to your Eagle installation
  • Creating a new schematic, and adding parts
  • Drawing NETs to create connections between parts
  • Vcc, GND, and naming NETs to "wirelessly" connect parts
  • Creating a custom Eagle part using a module's datasheet

[production #3] Masks, Labels, & Stencils

  • Exporting images from Eagle by printing to PDF
  • Laser printing onto adhesive vinyl (horizontally mirrored)
  • Toner Transfer with a hair straightener, and cold water
  • Laser printing onto transparency paper
  • Exposing dry-film solder mask in a UV exposure box
  • Developing solder mask with soda ash in warm water

For next class:

Create an Eagle Schematic for your project. Use the BOM you gathered last week, and add all your parts to a schematic file. If you can not find a part in any of your Eagle libararies, use the part's datasheet to design a custom Eagle part for it.

Here is a link to the class lecture on Eagle Schematics, and here is the follow-up video on designing a custom Eagle Part. Also, the Eagle file I created in the screen recording can be downloaded from here.

Here is a link to brief descriptions of the most commonly used Eagle commands I will show in class.

Class 4

Sept. 28

[design #4] Layout & Dimension

  • Creating a Board View from the Schematic
  • Organizing parts based off schematic and shortest route
  • Creating a dimension (outline), and importing custom shapes

[production #2] Remove Copper

  • Milling overview, and removing copper on the Roland
  • Removing copper with Acid-Etching

For next class:

Organize your board in Eagle's Board View, so that your routes are as short as possible. Continue working on the schematic as well, and post your Eagle file to your blog.

Create a fully working version of your project's electronics on a breadboard. This prototype should have all the components you plan on using, and should be able to demonstrate that it works as intended. If you cannot get your project to work by this end of this next week, then you must simplify and/or change your project to something you can get working. Larger projects take time, so think of think of this 7-week project as being a step towards your final idea.

Class 5

Oct. 5

[design #5] Design Copper

[production #1] Cutout & Holes

Class 6

Oct. 12

In-Class Work Session

Class 7

Oct. 19

Final Project Presentations