LVL1 is great. A place for creative and motivated people to get together and goad each-other into doing more creative things. It’s also a great gathering place for tools, as well as knowledge. A few months ago, the spoiled electrical engineer that I am, I never would have considered making my own PCBs. Any project worth taking off the breadboard was worth sending to China to get made “right.”
Of course, there isn’t always time and money to send something to China. Today’s installment is the Sumo-bot board I’m trying to put together for the Hive13 sumobot competition. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like poor Snoopy bot will make it to the ring, but the board making process itself is worth talking about.
Laying out a PCB using software like Eagle is beyond the scope of this post. If you can follow the appropriate Sparkfun Tutorial, it’s pretty easy to pick up. Something to note: for single sided home-made PCBs, put all traces and surface mount components on the BOTTOM layer. Put any necessary jumpers on the top layer. When you’re ready to print, just turn off all the layers you don’t want turned into copper.