Westfw has a great Instructable on making printed circuit boards using EAGLE – “It’s nice that there are some professional circuit board tools available to the hobbyists. Here are some tips for using them ito design boards that don’t need a professional fabricator to actually MAKE them…” – Link.
4 thoughts on “Making hobbyist PCBs with professional CAD tools”
I love the design tool expressPCB gives out for FREE. Make your design, print it to an Acrobat PDF and then import it 1:1 into Photoshop for printing on your own toner-transfer paper.
Works great, does not have all the components Eagle has, but enough to get you through mostly anything with a little creativity. And best of all, no size limitation that i’ve seen.
And, if you want to get a bulk run done, its all ready to send to them.
While milleker is right, he overlooks one important consideration: interoperability. PCB shops like Olimex, BatchPCB or Futurlec all take Eagle files (or Gerber files that can be generated from Eagle), enabling you to search for the right price for the amount of PCBs you are having made.
Sure, the size limitation sucks for some projects, but with some careful placement of parts and by routing by hand, you can get an awful lot of components on a very small sized board.
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