Article sponsored by PCBGOGO.COM
Tinkercad is a free online collection of software tools that help people all over the world think, create, and make. It has a great library of 3D printer design files and Arduino projects. Almost all the Arduino projects are for beginners or hobbyists. The platform comes with an outstanding simulator which shows the output of the project. You can write your Arduino sketch in the platform and test your ideas.
There is one more extremely important feature offered by Tinkercad and that is the availability of .brd file. *.brd file can be used to transform your circuit idea to design and make a real and tangible PCB. You can upload the *.brd file to Autodesk Eagle, modify it and generate Gerber files out of it to send to a PCB manufacturing company like PCBGOGO.COM.
Step 1: Choose any electronic project
There are thousands of FREE electronic projects published on Tinkercad.com. Most of the projects are made by and made for electronics beginners. You can simply copy the projects to your account and modify it. You can simulate the project and see the output also. You can modify the code if it is an Arduino based project. There are numerous possibilities to work on the projects and one of the possibilities is to design your own PCB.
To begin with, choose ANY project you like. For this tutorial, I will take this example: https://www.tinkercad.com/things/iKkzkU3sr9t
Step 2: Download the *.brd design file.
On the top right corner, you will see Export button. If you click the button it offers the *.brd file of the project. The *.brd files can be opened in Autodesk Eagle. You can download the software and design 2 layers PCBs for FREE. The software is the best choice for modifying all the Tinkercad PCB files.
EAGLE free download is a limited version for hobbyists including 2 schematic sheets, 2 signal layers, and an 80cm2 (12.4in2) board area.
Step 3: Modify the design file using EagleCad.
The electronic components in the downloaded *.brd file are unorganized. The size of the PCB could be very large, the components could be placed randomly and the silkscreen labels are not present. So, you need to spend some time to organize the components, write silkscreen labels, and resize the dimension so that PCB size can be handy and looks good.
In the following image, you can see the components are organized. You can do it in your own way, you can decide where you want to place the resistors, piezo buzzer, temperature sensor, switch, etc.
After placing the components properly at their right places, you can use the Autorouter feature of Eagle. This feature will route the wire and connect the components together.
Step 4: Generate Gerber Files
To generate the Gerber Files, you will need a *.CAM File. You can download the CAM file: Fusion eagle , open the CAM processor and take the steps as shown in the video below.
Step 5: Order the PCB from PCBGOGO.COM
After downloading the gerber files and place your order on PCBGOGO.com.
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