If you start tinkering with electronics, eventually you will want to make your own printed circuit board, or PCB as it is generally called. In the olden days, this subject was pretty straightforward. You went down to your local RadioShack, and bought an etching kit. You drew your single sided design using a marking pen and some supplied stickers. The board was fairly big, and it had only a few simple through-hole components.
Those days are now pretty much gone. Now most electronic projects are much more complex, the boards are much smaller, and you need to deal with 2 layers, surface mount components and vias. In this overview, I will tackle the different problems you may encounter and the methods available. I won’t cover PCB layout software or commercially made boards. I’ll deal with those topics in separate articles.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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