If there is a circuit board as part of your invention, you will need to know about PCB Software so you can create the right kind of files to provide to a PCB company so they can manufacture them for you. This can be intimidating for the beginning who has only made circuits on breadboards or their own universal soldering boards.
When I first had the Bedini RPX Sideband Generator manufactured, I printed the PCB file as an iron-on transfer, which I put on copper boards. Then I etched them in a chemical solution, cleaned them off and then dipped them in a highly toxic tinning solution, which allows the solder to stick to the traces more easily. It worked, but it was an experience that taught me one lesson – that is exactly what I do NOT want to do!
It was a valuable lesson for me as part of the overall manufacturing process but there is a much simpler way. The program I used was and still is Kicad, a free, open source software program that is more robust than even some paid programs. It has its quirky parts, but it works perfect. It took me a while to learn how to use it because I didn’t use any tutorials and taught myself by trial and error. Most of the tutorials I saw on YouTube and elsewhere were usually assuming I already knew how to use the program, which wasn’t helpful at all.
RS Stafford, who has many years experience with PCB programs learned Kicad in a matter of days and knew it better than I did with months of experience with it. Having the “schema” or frame of reference for what these programs are supposed to do was most likely very helpful in cutting down his learning curve.
In this presentation, RS walks you through the creation of a circuit step-by-step so you know exactly how to do it. He uses one or two example circuits that many of you will be familiar with and he shows how to export this to Gerber files, which are what you want to provide a company if you want multiple boards created for you. Take my advice, forget about the DIY method of etching your own boards, etc. it isn’t worth the time. If you want to do that just to have the experience, that is one thing but you will never keep up on the demand if you’re serious about selling a significant amount of your circuits.
Part of the 2019 Energy Science & Technology Conference series (75 mins downloadable video).
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