The PCB Design Guide is an invaluable resource for those learning pcb design. Designing a pcb isn’t something you’ll do in a couple of hours, its a highly technical learned skill that will take years to master. The PCB Design Guide will provide the basics of pcb design as well as more advanced topics. The guide is a work in progress, so feel free to contact us to suggest topics or contribute.
PCB Design Process
First and foremost its important understand the pcb design process. This design process/workflow will give you a birds eye view of each step necessary in taking your circuit design through assembly and final test. This section is not to explain the pcb fabrication process. We’ll cover that at the end of the guide.
The PCB Design Process & Workflow
Now that you’ve got a good understanding what it will take to design your printed circuit board let’s get started. We’ll assume that since you made it to this site you’ve probably completed your circuit design or that you plan to prototype your circuit on a pcb. That leads us to the second step of pcb design.
Choosing PCB Design Software
With your circuit design complete, its time to capture your design electronically. To do that you’ll need a pcb design software package. We’ve got an entire section of this site dedicated to pcb design software. There are a couple open source packages, some free options (sponsored by pcb manufacturers) as well as several very expensive options the larger corporations will use to design 16 layer, very high density pcbs.
Here are a couple articles that will help you choose the best pcb design software for your project.
Open Source PCB Design Software
Sponsored PCB Design Software
High-End PCB Design Software
In general there is a learning curve associated with many of these packages. They are all alike in several ways, but they all have their nuances that can take several weeks to master and become proficient in. We hope to provide tutorials on the more popular pcb software packages, but until then you’re on your own. Should you find the time to document your experiences please pass them along and we’ll publish them here for others to reference.