Circuit Board Three Part Series Workshops

  • This series will be led by @dhylands, a software developer with background in digital systems design and he enjoys dabbling with robotics & electronics.

    Thursday August 25 - Workshop 1: Getting Started
    In this first intro session, we will start designing the schematic and PCB layout.

    Thursday September 15 - Workshop 2: Cut the PCB
    Next, we will actually make the PCB. Participants will make the PCB layout, generate gcode, and cut!

    Thursday October 6 - Workshop 3: Populate the Boards
    Finally, participants will populate the board.

    Register for one or all three! All components are included with registration to complete the exercises at each workshop. In between each workshop, you’re welcome to drop in during the weekly H4CK Nights to continue to play with your project, ask questions from other members, and explore.

    What to bring: A laptop with KICAD installed (

    Non-Makerspace Members: Each monthly workshop is $40, or $100 if you register for all three as a bundle.
    Makerspace Members: Free

    Registration Page for Makerspace Members with coupon code applied:

  • For Workshop 2, I’m planning on using FlatCAM ( to do the gerber to gcode generation, so you should have that installed for the second session.

  • @dhylands Thanks! I’ll add that to the workshop description.

  • For anybody coming tonight, kicad works better with a mouse (3 button ideally).

    A summary of the material I’ll be presenting can be found here:

    with my crib notes here:

    If you want to download all of the files and are familiar with git, then you can do:
    git clone

    or you can download a zipfile:

  • And there is a web site with a large number of components and footprint libraries here:

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    Thank you @dhylands that was an awesome workshop. I am really excited to see what we all will achieve over the next few months! :)

  • I thought I would also write up a summary of the flow of creating a circuit board (at least the portion done in KiCad).

    1. Schematic Capture (using eeschema)
      • design board
      • Run ERC (rules checker)
    2. Associate footprints with components (CvPCB)
    3. eeschema - export netlist (NET)
    4. PCB Layout (using pcbNew)
      • Import netlist (NET)
      • Position footprints and put down traces
      • Run Design Rule Checker (DRC)
      • Plot gerbers
    5. Use Gerber Viewer to verify gerbers

    And running the Component Library Editor and Footprint Editor as needed.

  • I found a blog with a bunch of posts related to KiCAD, including links to video tutorials, and libraries of components and footprints:

    I also put together a variation on the schematic of the Nanino8 and placed an order for some boards from DirtyPCBs. This will be my backup plan in case we don’t wind up getting working boards via CNC routing.

    The files can be found here:

  • I saw this on hackaday today:

    I haven’t tried the scripts myself, but thought I would share for anyone who has existing EagleCAD stuff they’d like to convert to KiCAD.

  • Just a reminder the second session in this workshop is happening this Thursday (September 15). If you missed the first one, you can still sign up for the next two and catch up later. The first session was a pretty good hit, don’t miss out!

  • We’ll be using flatcam to do the conversion from gerber to gcode.

    You can install it from here:

    It needs python 2.7

    For ubuntu, I cloned the repository and then ran the script to install all of the dependencies.

  • I had issues install flatcam on one of my ubuntu 16.04 boxes (the one I’m planning on bringing with me tonight).

    I realized that I forgot to mention that needs to run as root, so you’ll need to do:

    sudo ./

    It seems that they made some changes in ubuntu 16 about versions of python and when the script ran the “pip install rtree” command it decided to install the python3 version of rtree rather than the python 2.7 version of rtree. So I had to manually do:

    sudo pip2 install rtree

    and then it installed rtree into python 2.7 and when I then tried to run:

    python ./

    I got a GUI window instead of an error.

  • For the third part of the workshop, we’ll be soldering together an Arduino board.

    The following would be useful to have:

    • Temperature controlled soldeing iron
    • solder (leaded is easier than unleaded)
    • flush cutters
    • needle nose pliers (or hemostats)
    • safety glasses

    I have 3 soldering stations that I’ll be bringing with me, and I heard that there are some at the space, so if you don’t have one, it should still be good.

    I’ll also be bringing solder, and a bunch of extra sets of pliers and flush cutters.

    The ATMega chips will be preprogrammed wih the Arduino bootloader and a sample sketch (so no laptop required to verify that your board is working). If you bring a laptop with the Arduino software installed, then you should be able to program your board.

  • This last workshop is going to be very independent of the first two. So if you missed the last two, but still interested in building your own boards, you should join us for this workshop!

  • I will be there also! :)

  • I saw this instructable today, which goes into more detail than I was planning, so I thought I would post it for anybody who is interested:

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