DIY: Make Your Own PCBs

No, that's not those poisonous things in electrical transformers, in this context PCB means printed circuit board.

  • Electronic Design Software
    • XCircuit is a schematic design/drawing tool, a la XFig. It's not so slick as a lot of Windows tools and takes some getting used to, but it's free and it make nice drawings. Additionally, it can export netlists for use with other tools, e.g. PCB (see below). There is also a LWN review (Linux Weekly News) from May 2000 if you want a quick overview.
    • PCB is a printed circuit board layout tool. There is also a SourceForge project page which seems to be a bit more up-to-date. When you are done, you can print them out onto tranfer film to make your own PCBs. PCB also has an LWN review from June 2000. The chief problem I've encountered is the difficulty of making custom elements.
    • gEDA is a suite of tools for Electronic Design Automation. There is overlap with the above tools, although gEDA current recommends use of PCB until they have their own tool.
  • Resistors
    • The Secret Lives of Pots. This is an interesting look at potentiometers and how they work. Nothing profound, but it's still kind of fascinating if you've ever wondered how they were constructed.
  • Making PCBs
    • Techniks makes "Press-n-Peel PCB Blue Transfer Film" for etching your own PCBs. They have a couple of different versions of the stuff. Reviews are mixed. I ordered some (Aug 2003) and tried them for a few projects.  They take some practice to learn how to get them to stick properly to the copper-clad board.  I lost patience and gave up.