Do you have an audio idea or concept for a box you would like to produce and need someone to design the PCB?

 

You can send me a schematic and I turn it into a PCB for 20€/hr. I have this relatively low price because I understand how PCB work, if done correctly, can expand and go through all kinds of troubleshooting and error revisions and so easily bust the scope of a budget, and what you really need in order to make a good electronic device is time. Time is the key factor in a lot of thigs, from slow processes in cooking to really working out all the faults in a PCB design (let alone the analog design itself - check out "Troubleshooting Analog Circuits" by Bob Pease). And I enjoy a lot of what I do so would rather be doing great work in analog audio than for example designing a modem for for 55€/hr, grit my teeth and take the job away from someone who was actually having fun doing that ;)

 

 

My standards are Illustrator (yes Illustrator) because I think, personally, that especially when you're working in DIY and want to share projects, everybody has a different idea of what the right software is, and everybody works with a different CAD Package and even then standards between versions of the same software let alone library discrepancies can make documents impossible for third parties to work with 5 or even 10 years down the line. With vector PDFs that contain embedded layers, and Illustrator being ubiquitous, it makes it the lowest, if you will, common denominator for software to design PCBs with. Inkscape is cool too - especially because it can export HPGL to mill stuff with - Wouter from Koma Electronics uses it a lot.

 

Illustrator has layers and vectors, so you have everything you need to design massively professional PCBs. The only thing it doesn't have is forward-back annotation and the rubber band feature that makes it easier to lay out components along with an autorouter to replace das brain. However, what you do have is absolute free form vector design with no fettering of your muse when it comes to designing whatever shapes you wish, as can be seen in the lovely flowing design of Michael Kingston up above.

 

One thing that is a pain indeed is the conscientions checking and re-checking of every node vs the schematic instead of just running software based checks, but even then software can't catch a mistake in your schematic, and I do believe that keen eyes and a sharp mind and the learned ability to go back and forth between schematic and design is a cool skill to have, even though I spit brass tacks over the tedium of doing it all by hand but then again we're not in the days of Bishop Paper anymore, either.

 

For the more "professional" approach, I also work in CADsoft/Autodesk Eagle and was going to get into Altium sometime in the future but not sure when. Eagle is one of those packages that's also quite omnipresent, and Autodesk has done a lot to round out the software. I very much appreciate KiCAD, too, but I don't actively work in it. But everybody at the university does. Except Tom, who works in Altium.

 

You can write me on the contact page to get a quote and discuss ideas and projects. All data you send me is under strict Non-Disclosure terms and will never be shared in any form with anyone online without your permisson, even to friends "hey, Bob, look at this cool DOA design" and bang it suddenly shows up somewhere in a forum.

 

That said, most people in DIY are super happy to share their designs and real success at handcrafted audio like most people here do consists of hand and craft and I know practically no one among those craftsmen who sell units at high standards that steal other people's original designs and copy them. There is a plethora of great analog designs in the vaults of analog history that are not being produced in that way anymore, and what makes a build stand out these days is, aside from originality and cool-ness of a circuit design, the quality of the build itself.

 

Okay that's enough of me yakking - go out and do something cool!

 

 

 

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