Many of us have tried to make a PCB in Eagle or Kicad and had mixed results. Bryan Siepert takes the reader down a shortcut by leveraging the open source designs of Adafruit to lift breakout board pinouts and put them on your own board for connecting pieces together.
This guide will introduce you to the basic process I use to build PCBs based on Adafruit and other open source designs. We will extract parts of the board files as what Eagle calls “Design Blocks” and then we will use them along with a fundamental workflow in Eagle to create a featherwing-like board for the Trinket M0. This board will allow you to securely attach the Adafruit INA219 current sensor breakout to a Trinket without having to use jumper wires to connect them together. We’re starting with this modest goal to keep things simple as we learn some fundamental concepts, while hopefully also ending up with a useful circuit.
This guide will cover using a Trinket M0 and INA219 breakout, however these same methods can be used to make a PCB to replace the breadboard or protoboard. These techniques can be used to extract useful pieces from open source boards to use in your own completely new circuit boards.
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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.