In this tutorial you will learn, how to convert your electronic circuit into a professional PCB and get it printed from an online PCB manufacturer.
If you are an electronic hobbyist or an engineering student, you must have designed an electronic circuit using a general purpose PCB and have faced lots of problems. Like, wiring, mishandling of electronic components, not able to solder SMD components, and many more. Here, I will guide you step by step on how to overcome all these problems by getting a professional PCB.

Step 1: Components selection and circuit designing

This is the most important step of the all. Based on your application, draw a rough circuit diagram on a paper and start choosing the electronic components. Your first goal is to minimize the cost of electronic components and the size of the PCB. If you know how to solder SMD components, you can choose SMD components over through-hole components. This will minimize the size of the PCB and also reduce the overall price of the PCB. For this tutorial, I am using a LED light circuit.

Step 2: Testing of the circuit

Before moving to the PCB designing first, test your circuit by designing it on the general-purpose PCB. If the circuit is working fine then move to the next step.

Step 3: Selecting PCB designing software

There are lots of PCB designing software that are available, you can use any one of them. It depends upon you. Some of these softwares are:

  • EAGLE
  • EasyEDA
  • Altium Designer
  • Fusion360
  • DipTrace
  • CAM350
  • Ultiboard

In this tutorial, I will use EAGLE software for designing the PCB. If you are already familiar with it and had it installed on your PC, no need to follow the next 4-5 steps. For those, who are new to this EAGLE software. EAGLE software is an Electronic Design Automation(EDA) software that provides lots of features like schematic designing, components placement, Auto-router, CAM, and many more.
This software comes in both free and paid versions. The free version has fewer features as compared to the paid version. For an electronic hobbyist, the free version is enough. No need to buy a paid version.

Now, follow the following steps for downloading and installing the EAGLE software onto your PC.

Step 4: Install EAGLE software

  • Open any browser and type EAGLE software.
  • Open Autodesk website.
  • Click on the FREE DOWNLOAD Button.
  • Choose your operating system from here and then click on the DOWNLOAD button. A file will start downloading.
  • After the file is downloaded. Open that file and install the EAGLE software
  • To create a new schematic. First click on File, then click on New, and then click on the new schematic. A new window will open.
  • This white empty area is for designing your circuit. On the left-hand side, you will see lots of options. These are for designing your circuit. I will only discuss the important one here.
  • The 1st option is used for moving your electronic part.
  • The 2nd option is used for rotating the electronic part.
  • The 3rd option is used for copying the electronic part.
  • The 4th option is used for deleting the electronic part.
  • The 5th option is used for pasting the electronic part.
  • The 6th option is used for connecting the electronic components to one another.
  • The 7th option the important one. It is used for selecting electronic components. To choose any component, type its name in the search option.

Step 5: Desing the circuit in EAGLE software

Now, I will design the LED circuit. First, we need to select all the components.

  • Click on the components option. First, select LED from here. Then place five LEDs
  • Then select resistor from here. You can rotate the electronic component either by clicking the rotate option or by first selecting the component and then clicking the right button on the mouse. Join each resistor to the LED’s positive terminal.
  • Then select an Omron push button and a Wago screw terminal from the components. After that join all the electronic components using the net option.
  • The circuit is completed.

Step 6: Create a PCB layout

Now click on this option. This is used for creating the layout of the PCB.

  • Again on the left-hand side you will all the tool. An on the right-hand side you will see the workspace. You have to place all the components inside this box. Place all the components in such a way that they are closed to each other. In the free version of EAGLE software, you will only get this much area for designing the layout of the PCB. After placing all the components inside the box, make the box small by dragging the outline of the box.
  • The component placement is finished. Now, we will use the Auto-router option to generate paths for all the electronic components based on the circuit diagram. Click on this Auto-router option.
  • Select effort based on your requirements. I have selected the High option.
  • We have created an electronic path only on the bottom layer. So, set the top layer to N/A.
  • Then click on the continue button.
  • After the auto-routing is finished, you will see that all the paths are generated for the PCB.

Step 7: Generate Gerber Files

  • In order to get the professional PCB, you have to generate Gerber files. You have to send these Gerber files to your PCB manufacturers. In my case, I am using pcbway.com. This is one of the best online PCB manufacturing company. They provide 10 pcs 1-2 layers for just $5.
  • Click on the File tab, then click on the CAM processes. A new window will open.
  • After that click on Load Job File.
  • Then click on the Local CAM Jobs.
  • Then click on the Examples.
  • Then click on the Legacy and select gerb274x.cam
  • Then click on the Process Job.
  • Select the folder where you want to store the Gerber files.
  • Now, you have generated the Gerber files for drilling holes.
  • Again, click on the File tab, then click on the CAM processes. A new window will open.
  • After that click on Load Job File.
  • Then click on the Local CAM Jobs.
  • Then click on the Examples.
  • Then click on the Legacy and select excellon.cam
  • Then click on the Process Job.
  • Select the folder where you want to store the Gerber files.
  • All the Gerber files are generated and stored in a folder. Now, create a .rar folder and your files are ready for PCB manufacturing.

Step 8: Upload you Gerber Files and get a professional PCB

  • Open pcbway.com
  • First, select all of your preferences like the size of PCB, the thickness of PCB, layers of PCB, etc
  • Then upload your Gerber files.
  • Make payments.
  • You will receive your PCB board within 3-7 days.

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