Hardware, Software & the Internet of Things
June 23–25, 2015 • San Francisco, CA

Workshop: Design a PCB from start to finish

Matthew Berggren (Supplyframe)
9:00am–5:00pm Tuesday, 06/23/2015
Tutorial, Technology
Location: Southside Theater (Bldg D)
Average rating: ****.
(4.29, 14 ratings)

Prerequisite Knowledge

You should have a sense for how circuits work, and only very basic electronics knowledge is required. You should have a familiarity with basic software concepts (MSWord, web browsers, ideally a drawing tool). If you have bread-boarded a design with Arduino (pref. more than once) you should be OK. If you're an EE and you've never built your own board, you should be OK. If you have a background as a software engineer, you should be OK. If you are a mechanical engineer or industrial engineer, etc. you should be OK.

Materials or downloads needed in advance

Please bring a laptop, mouse (with a scroll wheel), and have pre-installed the latest copy of Cadsoft Eagle.


This hands-on workshop will guide you thru the process of building a printed circuit board (PCB) from soup to nuts. We’ll learn basic PCB terminology (pads, vias, tracks, layers, impedances, etc.) and learn how boards are fabricated / assembled. We’ll also look at the circuit design process including component selection, which tools are available, and common software concepts (pads and pins, components, symbols and footprints, routing, wiring, etc.). We’ll also look at best practices, rules and constraints, standards, and ultimately build a board ready to manufacture.

Though this isn’t a course in Ohm’s law or a crash-course in engineering, we will look at engineering concepts and explore the PCB as a part of the circuit (current carrying capacity, impedances, track lengths / inductance, decoupling / grounding, pad geometries, etc.) in an effort to develop some rules of thumb or intuition when making design decisions.

We will also explore common fabrication and assembly processes and terminology, as well as the files required to build a board and questions manufacturers will ask and how to answer them.

Finally we will explore component selection and learn tips for gaming the supply chain.

By the end of the session you will have designed a PCB ready for manufacture at any board house using Cadsoft Eagle, and we will go through the exercise of submitting files to a manufacturer.

Photo of Matthew Berggren

Matthew Berggren


Matt Berggren is a hardware engineer, systems architect, and product manager who spent 15 years in product management and hardware development at Altium, helping develop the underlying Altium hardware development methodology and workflow used by Altium customers. Since then he joined Supplyframe as senior director of product focusing on vertical search for electronics and making sense of electronics information from across the web.

Matt also runs several popular workshops in San Francisco, where he teaches entrepreneurs, hackers, makers and the like to develop circuits and circuit boards, and hosts meetups for engineers to discuss hardware development and electronics design. He has worked in the US, Australia, and China building electronics for the global market, and runs engineering teams in both the US and hands-on in China.

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Picture of Jon Bruner
Jon Bruner
05/27/2015 3:04am PDT

Hi Greg, to register for this workshop, sign up for any of the passes that include Tuesday tutorials and select this during registration (https://en.oreilly.com/internet-of-things-2015/public/register). If you’re already registered for a different tutorial, just send an e-mail to confreg@oreilly.com.

05/27/2015 1:38am PDT

How do I register for this workshop?