Guide Getting Going With PCB Design

GingerOfOz

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I wasn't really sure where to put this as there isn't a designated spot for PCB design stuff. If you've got BB power and think it should go somewhere else, feel free to move it.

For the past week, I've spent a decent amount of time researching and tinkering with Eagle. Eagle is not a particularly noob friendly software. There aren't a lot of obvious indicators on how to get started, so it's been an adventure. Along my journey, I've had to do a lot of research, and have found a lot of guides. Pretty much all of them sucked (I'm talkin' to you Ben Heck). But I've found a really good collection of tutorials that are all text tutorials. I found that these were a lot nicer to use, because I could move at my own pace and not awkwardly jump back and forth between a YT video and my design. These guides are all on Sparkfun, and I wish I had found them sooner. At the bottom of each step, you can opt to have the whole guide appear on one page, which I liked better. Here are a collection of hyperlinks to the ones I've used, and I've picked up a lot of handy information from them.

PCBs? : A basic introduction to PCBs as well as some good terminology.

Setup: This guide isn't particularly mandatory, but it walks you through things like libraries, the grid, and other little things that are handy to know.

Schematic Design: Before you can actually start laying components out on a board, you have to make an electrical schematic in Eagle for everything.

Board Layout: Once you've got a handy dandy schematic, you'll need to lay out components onto what your actual board would look like.

Designing SMD PCBs: There isn't a whole lot of new information here, but odds are that some of the designs you want to pull off will be SMD based. This was helpful to me.

Creating SMD Footprints: This one's really useful. Designing footprints is something I'm definitely going to use a lot. Trying to search through various libraries to find the exact footprint and part is definitely not fun.

If you're a student, you can get the full version for free! Head here and follow the instructions. There is also a free version, and it should be fine for simple boards.

I haven't spent a lot of time actually designing anything useful. I created a dinky little RGB LED board before I found these guides, and now I can really see how awful of a design my board is. As I nail down details and dimensions for my next portable, I plan to really start using this information to make cool stuff.

Hopefully if you were looking into PCB design you found this useful, and if anyone has tips or other tutorials they've found useful feel free to post them here!

(@Chaos you owe me pizza and love.)
 
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Awesome! I’ve been wanting to venture into this for a while, it’s nice to have information in one place. I’ll edit links and things into my post if I come across anything else in my research.
 

cheese

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I haven't looked through extensively, but it looks good for sure! SparkFun is a good resource for this kind of stuff (partially because their business is to sell the stuff related to PCBs).
 
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