PCB Manufacture

Hi folks,

I have built many small electronic projects before, but now i want to get my first and very simple PCB board made up - as i am sick of perf board!
There are a number of places on the net to do it that i have googled, however most of them use Eagle files. Is Eagle the best program to create designs in? I have tried other free designers as well.
I only have a very simple pcb, only a few data and power lines to start off with, and was hoping if someone would know of a way to make PCB designs that didn't involve me spending the next week learning how to use eagle?!

Thanks for any advice.

Most of the manufacturers accept Gerber files too, so check if the program you use to design your PCBs with can export into that format. I have used Elecrow with Gerbers and I am very satisfied with their service, waiting for a batch to arrive any day now :smiley:

OK thanks for the info.
Is it hard to design PCBs using these programs. I have only tested a couple of freeware ones for a few minutes. Seems like they are complicated to use.

Some are easier to use than others (with a cost of what you can do) but I really don´t have any idea which is best for you, test them out and see what you can do with them. Eagle as you say most manufacturers accept directly so there the learning curve would be lower.

I saved this link a while ago but haven't really tried it. You draw your arduino/breadboard set up and then you switch to pcb view. It lets you do a bit of reorganisation and submit it for manufacture.

As you would expect there are plenty of youtube examples.

corrected url

Wow that looks like a cool way to design it!
Do you know if you can export the plans from that site to get it printed elsewhere for cheaper, or do they have to be printed through that site?

I design in Fritzing, export to Gerber, then have it manufactured by Itead. Works great. And Cheap.

/Tobias

Some CAD programs are easier to use than others but NONE of them are easy, be prepared for a lot of pain :slight_smile:

Packages like KiCad, Eagle, Designspark et al are all pretty popular.


Rob

It can take looong time to get from "how to do" to "just do"

Pelle

I'm using DesignSparkPCB to draw all my schematics and have also designed PCBs with it and had them manufactured. It's quite easy to use in my opinion. But best of all, it's free, so can't hurt to give it a try. It can export Gerber files, which is what I had sent to the PCB manufacturer.

I am trying out fritzing. It seems great!
When you get PCBs printed is it a standard service to be able to add text or a logo to your board? If so, in fritzing there is silkscreen logos/text or top layer of copper logos/text. Which is the usual?
Thanks

Yes you should be able to place any text or graphic you like on the "silkscreen" layers, I don't know how you do that with Fritzing though.


Rob

Hello again,

I am just finishing up design of 2 layer PCB and just have a quick question.
I have managed to not have any data lines crossing power lines on another layer, however i have two power lines that cross each other on different layers.

  • There is a ground -12v on one layer crossing a +5v on the other layer.
  • And a +12 on one layer crossing a ground -12v on another.

Will these cause problems? Its not high amperage or anything. Will there be any type of interaction between them?

Thanks so much.

Finnius:
Hello again,

I am just finishing up design of 2 layer PCB and just have a quick question.
I have managed to not have any data lines crossing power lines on another layer, however i have two power lines that cross each other on different layers.

  • There is a ground -12v on one layer crossing a +5v on the other layer.
  • And a +12 on one layer crossing a ground -12v on another.

Will these cause problems? Its not high amperage or anything. Will there be any type of interaction between them?

Thanks so much.

I shouldn't think so. What's the point of having multiple layers if you're still not allowed to cross tracks?

I shouldn't think so. What's the point of having multiple layers if you're still not allowed to cross tracks?

Yep, not trying to be clever but at the level you are designing PCBs you can put tracks on different layers anywhere you like I think.


Rob

As a rule I find it easiest to implement a North South on one side of the board with a East West on the other. It keeps things organised.

I find that with SMDs that rule all out the window and it's pretty much open slather because a chip can completely block an area on one side.

But I agree, with PTH components it's better to be very strict about one side being NS and the other EW.


Rob

I use PCB Wizard for my board design. Can anyone comment on how this compares to the other ones mentioned? I'm comfortable with this one, but do the others offer any advantages that I should relearn a new program?