How to Make Professional PCB (is It Worth It?)

Introduction: How to Make Professional PCB (is It Worth It?)

About: My name is Wojtek and I am 21 years old student of electronic high school. I am passionate about electronics as well as recording and editing movies. I follow the rule: "Do not delay, do it today".

I'd like to share my "PCB experiences" with you.

Step 1: Pros and Cons

Since I started my adventure with electronics, designing my own circuits, I had to deal with PCBs. In the beginning, I made them myself - I cleaned the laminate, transferred the printed layout to it, etched it and cleaned it again. The biggest advantage of this solution was that after designing the circuit, I had a ready PCB within an hour. There were a bit more disadvantages - I couldn't make too thin wires, they couldn't be too close to each other, often I had to do them several times because they didn't come out as they should, and making a double-sided board with a large number of vias was a feat. Nowadays, we no longer have to worry about high production or shipping costs, so anyone can order their own professional PCB. How to do it? Where to start? From a schematic.

Step 2: Eagle - Part 1

I always start by creating a circuit diagram in the Eagle. Then I click "Generate board" and go to board design.I select the layer called "Dimension" and I set the shape and dimensions of the board. Now I place all the elements on the board and create connections between them using wires. In the case of such simple projects, it can be done manually, while on the last project, where there was a lot of wires, I used automatic wires creation and was happy with the results. You have to remember that it is only a computer, he cannot guess if the wires are routed as we would, so it is worth checking it and correcting any imperfections.

Step 3: Eagle - Part 2

That's it, actually. You can also add the layer called polygon, which is a place where the copper layer will not be removed from the laminate. For example, it can be connected to the ground of the circuit, so we can separate very high frequencies or simply use it as a heat sink. In most amateur applications it is not needed, it will only cause slight differences in the appearance and weight of the boards. When I'm done with the board, I export it to gerber files which I save as .zip file.

Step 4: PCB Ordering

When I ordered my PCB, I went to PCBWay and clicked quote now, quick order pcb and online gerber viewer, where I uploaded files for my board to see what it would look like. I went back to the previous tab and clicked add gerber file, chose my file and all parameters were loading themselves, I only changed the soldermask colour to red. Then I clicked "save to card", provided shipping details and paid for the order.

Step 5: Now It's Your Turn!

To sum up - if you are a hobbyist creating all kinds of electronic projects, I think it is worth adding a bit of professionalism to your project by ordering a professional PCB, especially as the cost of a PCB with basic parameters is comparable to creating a PCB at home. I encourage you to create an account on PCBWay from the link below, for new users the first PCB is free!

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