I have been building a lot of microprocessor-based projects lately, and the most tedious part is all of the point-to-point wiring required. Cutting, stripping, tinning and soldering consumes hours. I have used on-line PCB fabricators before, but the cost has been high (like $250 for a few boards), so I was looking for another solution. The SparkFun Web site (from which I buy a lot of my parts) posted a service for permitting hobbyist to submit their designs in the un-used margins of commercial panels of production runs for a greatly reduced cost. They even provided a link to Eagle, a free (for personal/no commercial use) schematic capture and PCB layout software. The SparkFun site also has tutorials on using this SW to make your own Gerber files (the essential files to get your boards produced). You must follow their tutorials religiously, and download their SparkFun library, as I found numerous ways to screw up my design and have it rejected by the batch processor. 2 Days of effort finally yielded a design that did not violate CAD rules, and was accepted. The boards came to only $9.19 each.
|http://batchpcb.com/index.php/Faq#what_are_the_pcb_rules||Will make your boards cheap!|
|http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/108||Must follow religiously!|
|http://www.cadsoftusa.com/downloads/||Download Eagle Schematic Capture/Layout|
|http://www.viewplot.com/info_files/vpl_download.html||Used to check your Gerbers|
|http://www.batchpcb.com/product_info.php?products_id=81452&check=fbee6c6fe66f57e15f9f3a0b5c50adb6||static field detector PCB for sale|
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