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Topic: PCB layout in the Bay Area (Read 2552 times) previous topic - next topic


I have been developing an arduino derivative product line (perfboard prototyping and conceptualization) but have more or less been dead in the water at the PCB production step for about 6 months, start and stop start and stop, and further prototyping has to be on the pcb level at this point, including 1.27 pitch connectors or edge connectors and smd parts, so this is my current stopping point in further development.

I have CAD skills in floor-plan layout and even have PCB layout and etching skills from my teens in the late 70s early 80s, back then the traces were the size of a magic marker and some of the resistors were about half the size of the 328 chip, and it was all hand drawn layouts, but even with all that I have yet been able to make the leap.

So I guess the upshot of this message is, Im looking for someone in the same general geographic area, (I live in the south bay/Los Gatos, CA but any bay area location would be fine)  That is interested in doing some piece pcb design collaboration, paid piece design layout or even further getting involved in some commercial interest or partnership if the fit is right.

This specifically involves converting perfboard prototypes to eagle/kicad/designspark cad layouts for final production, as well as some component swapping for SMD and miniaturization efforts of the final boards and kits.

Components are all standard arduino derivative ( ftdi, 328 dip and smd and so on ) and the ideal person knows how to crank out a simple layout like the back of their hand.

Drop a line if you are interested.



Download a program called Eagle. It is a pcb cad program. In one part you draw your schematic, using a library of symbols, then you go to board layout and place the components and route the traces. (although it has an autoroute function,i prefer to hand route my traces.)

Eagle has a free version that limits you to a board size of approximately 3"x4" and only 2 layers. Commercial licenses can be purchased to make bigger boards.

Check out Adafruit for her eagle library of commonly used parts.

It takes a while to learn, and can be time consuming, but it does a good job and can export files to pcb making companies. Or you can print your own with the toner transfer method.



Thanks for the input dougp, thats the point I am getting stuck on.

I have already done simple designs in eagle and designspark, the schematic side I have down dead bang, and simple single sided layouts no problem, but my next steps are presenting little gotchas that I know someone else with more knowledge than myself would already know how to get around easily.

Some of the things that have been catching me up are the need to make a few custom parts that aren't in libraries, (that I can find) When moving to double sided I am having trouble with efficient routing. Autorouting would be stupid and wont handle it, I know there is as much an art to layout as tech, and am looking for someone with that eye.

In addition I have some other unique for a newbie but not unique for someone with more experience problems such as, I need smd parts on both sides of the board, I need multiple parts in same positions ( such as the arduino crystal/resonator trace ) where you can use a different part in the same spot depending on configuration, proper ground plane structuring, Im also stuck on screw holes and some proper multi-board inter-connection issues and so on.

And finally I need someone that can look at something that I have done or designed that looks like its right and should work and can say nope, thats just not gonna make it through production or this trace isn't going where it looks like it is, you need that trace larger for this reason, you shouldn't have those near each other because, just because you can do this in cad doesn't mean it will work when the board is created...... and so on.
All of these things, a new person to eagle would waste alot of time and resources on, that a trained eye wouldn't even spend a minute making the same mistake let alone the weeks of turnaround and cost, (design, ship to board house, pay, wait for return, find mistake, repeat) to learn some of those simple lessons.

So I am looking for someone to collaborate with or pay/partner with, with more knowledge than me that can shorten that curve and shift the cost to a different process so that I can get my ideas to production and shared with the community.

Thanks again for the input. Hope that clarifies.


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