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Printed Circuit Board Design Workshop

  • Wed, October 05, 2022
  • Wed, January 25, 2023
  • 11 sessions
  • Wed, October 05, 2022, 6:30 PM 8:30 PM (EDT)
  • Wed, October 12, 2022, 6:30 PM 8:30 PM (EDT)
  • Wed, October 19, 2022, 6:30 PM 8:30 PM (EDT)
  • Wed, October 26, 2022, 6:30 PM 8:30 PM (EDT)
  • Wed, November 02, 2022, 6:30 PM 8:30 PM (EDT)
  • Wed, November 09, 2022, 6:30 PM 8:30 PM (EST)
  • Wed, November 30, 2022, 6:30 PM 8:30 PM (EST)
  • Wed, December 07, 2022, 6:30 PM 8:30 PM (EST)
  • Wed, December 14, 2022, 6:30 PM 8:30 PM (EST)
  • Wed, January 18, 2023, 6:30 PM 8:30 PM (EST)
  • Wed, January 25, 2023, 6:30 PM 8:30 PM (EST)
  • make717 Innovation Center


Registration is closed

Have you ever wanted to design your own electronics and printed circuit board?  This new workshop at Make717 will teach you!  By the end of the workshop you will have your very own circuit board that you designed and assembled.  This is a multi-week workshop for electronics schematic and printed circuit board design.  Each participant will design their own PCB badge, based on their own unique ideas.  One or two of the designs will be chosen as next year's Make717 badge at the Lancaster Science Factory Science is Amazing! festival.  During the Science is Amazing Festival hundreds of children and adults will learn about soldering.  Each participant gets to take home their own badge.  This year the badge could be designed by you. No prior electronics experience is necessary! Here are some examples of PCB badges from previous years.  

2020/21 Badge 2019 Badge


I don't know anything about electronics.  Is this workshop for me?  - Yes!  We will teach you everything you need to know and help you bring your vision to life.

I have more questions.  Who do I ask?  - Contact Bill Eckman at wmeckman@gmail.com. Bill will be leading the workshop.  If you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to ask.

What is the cost?  The only cost, outside of the registration fee, will be what it costs to have your circuit board manufactured and the cost of parts.  The average cost of a typical design is $50 for three boards.  You will make this purchase after you design your board.

Does the software cost anything?  No.  We will be using Kicad, which is an open source tool and free to use.  It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Do I need my own computer?  No.  Kicad will be installed on the laptops at Make717.  You can use these laptops or install Kicad on your own computer.  It's up to you. 

Is a circuit board art?  It can be.  If you are artistic, join the workshop and make some art.  A circuit board can be designed in any shape.  The basic components of the board will be your palette.  Circuit boards are printed, so the basic principles of printing can be used to create a mixed media masterpiece.        

I'm not artistic.  Is this class for me?  Yes!  The most basic circuit boards are green utilitarian rectangles.  If you find meaning and purpose in the design of functional electronics based on sound engineering principles this workshop is for you.

Is math required?  Just simple addition and measurement.  Nothing complex.  

If I miss a class will I fall behind?  No.  We encourage you to attend every class, but attendance is not mandatory.  Class materials will be shared by email.  

Will the workshop be hosted in person?  Yes.  The workshops will be held on Wednesday nights at Make717 from 6:30 to 8:30.  We will have a virtual option, but encourage you to be there in person.

Will we be etching the boards?  No.  You will design the board and send the files to a PCB manufacturer to have them manufactured.  The boards will be shipped to you without components.  You will solder the components on yourself.  Several of the sessions will be devoted to soldering and testing the boards.   

What is the minimum age required to take the workshop?  There is no fixed age requirement, but please contact us before registering if the person is less than 16 years old.

Here is the outline for each week of the workshop

  • October 5 2022, Week 1 PCB Overview:  The first week will be used to provide an overview of schematics, printed circuit boards and the software tools used.  We'll also talk about the badge project and the possible designs the participants could explore.  Topics include:
    • PCB examples
    • Schematic overview
    • PCB CAD design
    • Design process overview
    • Kicad introduction
    • Badge project constraints - price, size, complexity, etc.  
  • October 12 2022, Week 2 - Kicad schematics.  This week we'll learn all about schematics and using library parts.  By the end of the class everyone will have a completed schematic using 3 components.  Topics include,
    • Installing Kicad
    • Schematic overview - using library parts, designing parts overview
  • October 19 2022, Week 3 - Kicad PCB parts.  This week we'll cover printed circuit board CAD components and how they relate to the schematic parts we used last week.  We'll also talk about the badge project and do some brainstorming on possible designs each student could design.  
    • PCB overview - using library parts, designing footprints overview.
    • Badge design constraints
  • October 26 2022, Week 4 - Electronics crash course - Now that we know about the basics of schematic and PCB design, we'll take a crash course in basic electronics.  This will be heavily focused on working examples.  Knowledge of electronics is not required.  
    • Provide need to know basics for power, ground and signals in a PCB
    • Example designs
      • Batteries
      • Switches
      • LED's
      • Buzzers
      • Resistors
      • Capacitors
      • 555 timer
  • November 2 2022, Week 5 - Schematic Design. This week we'll take what we learned about schematics, PCB layout and electronics and begin designing our own schematics.  Each participant should have ideas about the type of badge they want to design and build.  Does it blink?  Does it buzz?  It's up to you.  Now we'll start making your ideas come to life.  Topic include: 
    • Schematic essentials
    • power, ground
    • component placement and reference designators.
    • Custom part design.  Designing a custom part not in the library.  
  • November 9 2022, Week 6 - Open Week - Schematic Workshop
    • This week will be used to provide help during the normal session time.  No instruction will be given.
  • November 16 2022, Week 7 - PCB Design 1.  Now that the schematics are complete we'll start designing the printed circuit board.  Topics include:
    • PCB design essentials - Go over the concept of layers and the use of each layer in Kicad.
    • Component linking to the schematic parts
    • Custom component design
    • Designing artistic components and importing images.
    • Component placement
  • November 30 2022, Week 8 -  PCB Design 2. We're halfway through designing the circuit board.  This week we'll cover topics like,
    • Routing traces
    • Vias
    • Signal traces
    • Power and Ground traces
    • Board edge design
    • Design constraints
  • December 7 2022, Week 9 - Open Week - PCB Design Workshop
    • This week will be used to provide help during the normal session time.  No instruction will be given.
  • December 14 2022, Week 10  - PCB Design 3.  The printed circuit board is almost complete.  This week we'll finish the designs and talk about how to get your board manufactured. Topics include,  
    • Design for manufacturing.
    • Design rule checking
    • Gerber file output
    • Getting your board manufactured
    • Generating a BOM (Bill of materials)
  • Break - We'll take a break for a few weeks to allow for the manufacturing of the boards, and for all the parts to arrive.  
  • January 18 2023, Week 11 - PCB Assembly 1.  Now that the boards and parts have arrived, we'll assemble the boards and learn about soldering.  We'll also talk about testing your board using basic test equipment.  Topics include,
    • Soldering your board
    • Circuit testing
    • Multimeter usage
    • O-scope usage
  • January 25 2023, Week 12 PCB Assembly 2.  If you used surface mount components you may want to learn how to use the reflow oven.  This is the way most modern printed circuit boards are assembled and we'll get to do this at Make717!    Topics include,
    • Assembling a board using solder paste a paste screen.  No soldering iron required.  
    • Using the reflow oven
    • Circuit assembly continued
Primetime hours for maker members
Mon - Fri: 5pm to 9pm
Saturday: 10am to 9pm
Sunday: 10am to 5pm

Copyright 2017 make717, Inc. All Rights Reserved 
Mailing Address:  1653 Lititz Pike #1213, Lancaster, PA 17601
Makerspace Address:  1151 Clark Street, Lancaster, PA 17602
(717) 537-1067 info@make717.org

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