1. 36
  1. 8

    For europeans interested in making PCBs and being held back by the lack of convenience or price or shipping times, try aisler.net. It’s fairly inexpensive (starts at 5.7€ for 3 PCBs iirc), production is quick enough (within a week iirc), shipping is inexpensive and fairly quick because production is geographically close. The website is pretty good and handles kicab files natively. You can also use it to order additional parts which can save a lot of time and money because you don’t have to chose between ordering by hundreds or horrible shipping costs. Oh and environmental regulations are the norm, not an option. (and service is very good)

    I did some PCBs at home because I didn’t want to have to wait a month for each attempt but it’s not very convenient. Aisler.net hit a sweet spot (it still takes roughly two weeks but for 5 EUR, I can’t complain, especially when their options for faster delivery are not much more pricy).

    This post probably reads like an advertisment but my only link with aisler is being a happy customer and without it, I wouldn’t be doing PCBs anymore.

    1. 5

      Very nice! I’ve been designing PCB’s as a hobby for a long time, and have just a couple of tips:

      1. Use the built-in power (Vcc, +5V, +3.3V, +12V… whatever) and ground symbols instead of global labels called “PWR” and “GND” on the schematic.
      2. Rotate all the labels on components to be the same way on the schematic.
      3. Using headers for the components is smart, everything fits nicely and you can use headers to hot-swap components like you did! However, I would’ve probably created custom header-sized footprints for the resistors that doesn’t have a pin-one marking, since orientation isn’t a factor for resistors. Would’ve just been something I’d have done for aesthetic reasons.

      I know you said you still have to learn how to add your own footprints, and I’d 100% recommend doing that, life is a lot easier when you have your own set of footprints/symbols, and they’re not hard to add really. The workflow is slightly clunky but it’s not awful.

      What I personally did was clone all of the kicad footprint/symbol/3d model libraries (that can be found on the kicad GitHub under kicad-footprints, kicad-symbol and kicad-3d) and that way I can add my own to my clone and keep everything in one place and keep track of my personal changes.

      I really like putting the circuit diagram on the PCB, very illustrative and creative!

      1. 1

        Are there any savings to be had by making single-layer boards these days?

        It seems like the issue with the via under the battery could be fixed by using a wire jumper (or 0 ohm resistor) on the other side of the board, where the two sides of the circuit cross over.

        And then by moving the battery holder closer to the switch, or using through-holes for it, I think you could avoid having a second layer at all.

        Anyway, it’s still neat to see how easy and cheap it is to do these sorts of things, now.

        1. 1

          This is really neat! Makes me feel inspired to make a simple PCB myself.