If you hang out in the ‘build progress’ thread you’re probably aware that I’ve been working on this for… much longer than I should for such a simple module, but I’m extremely happy to say I think I have finished with my first PCB design!
For a quick recap for those who might not have seen or don’t remember, if I remember right, my first stripboard build was a slew limiter that I found here, and over the last bit I have been curious about making my own PCBs. This is an extremely simple build with very little going on so it seemed like a good one to test the waters with. I received my first batch of PCBs and everything worked as expected, with the exception of my front panel not lining up properly and my switch being reversed. I revised the board to fix the switch and change the layout a bit to make it slightly more user friendly, and am about 99% sure I have sorted out the front panel, so now I am just waiting on JLC to get them into my hands to verify, but I’d love some feedback from you guys on it.
At this point, I can’t say for sure how into this I’ll get - if this will be the only one I do, if I make a couple different PCBs, or if I get super into it, make a tonne and start doing my own designs. I had fun with it so I imagine I’ll keep going and I’d like to do things right from the start. When I share any boards I make, my main goal is going to be to make everything as user friendly as possible. Over the last year of getting into synth diy there are a couple things here and there that have made the journey just a little bit more difficult than it needs to be, and I’d like to remedy that a bit with my stuff. These are all little things that on their own aren’t a big deal but all add up. Off the top of my head the general focus is
- Easy to navigate folders and files. This is simple and grossly overlooked when browsing github. Simply putting stuff in a place that makes sense, naming it properly, and keeping it consistent from one project to another
- Board readability - taking a bit of extra time to make sure labels on the board are positioned in a way that makes sense and is easy to read, ordering the designators from top to bottom, etc. The designators might be a touchy subject as ordering them one way on the board makes the schematic harder to navigate, but I would way rather have a schematic open and hit CTRL+F to find what I’m looking for than spend forever hunting on a board for where the hell R43 is
- Multiple files where useful. Some people like iboms, some people like photos, some people like CVS. It takes seconds to generate but can be frustrating when you’re just starting out, something is missing or doesn’t make sense to you, and you don’t know how to use the software. I want everything to be ready to go out of the box so you can just send the files to a PCB manufacturer and build without opening up KiCad for any reason.
There are some other things I’ve likely encountered and am trying to fix myself, but it’s early in the morning and I think you get my drift. Again, this particular build is so simple that none of this really matters and even the newest builder should be able to put it together without much thought, but I would rather get feedback now and hammer out details instead of several projects down the line then go back and change things to have a uniform feel.
With all that said, here is a link to the project. I would love to hear any feedback on it that you might have!