Archaeoinformatics focuses not always on software. Sometimes we need to build stuff and sometimes we need to do it right. For my Kölner Dome project, I am still working on creating a control box that is more user friendly and easier to assemble. So far, we soldered everything onto so-called proto-shields, which are empty PCB boards with a lot of holes in it. To evolve the process, I decided designing a PCB board, where I do not have to wire everything up by myself. Also, it was easier and cheaper than I thought!

PCB boards

When you soldering circuits, you need to connect your electronic parts with wires to create the intended current and therefore the circuit. The easiest example would be a lamp and a battery. Without wires that connect both parts, the lamp would not light up. If the circuits are more complex, more wires are necessary of course and soon the circuit board looks pretty messy.

If you open up your remote control or any other electronic device, you normally do not see any wires. This is because the wire connection is layered into the board, so the manufacturers only need to solder on different parts. This way, they are already connected the way they need to be. A PCB board is basically a sandwich of plastic and copper, where you can create connections in between the outer plastic shell. You can even do multiple layers, in order to stack different layers of connections, because more often than not, these connections cross each other and they are not allowed to touch.

Designing PCB boards

Designing a PCB board is way easier than you think. On the website you can create a PCB board design for free with the EasyEDA Designer. You can create different layers or import the specifics of various electronic parts. There is also an extensive tutorial section, which explains all the functions. If that seems too much for you, there is also another option.

Technical drawing of a PCB board
Screenshot of the EasyEDA Designer with my PCB board design.

The website Fiverr offers services of various kinds and there are also a lot of people offering the design of PCB boards. All you need is a schematic and a couple of bucks. So if you feel learning PCB board design is not what you need to do right now, why not help each other out and ask someone who is familiar with this.

Ordering PCB boards

However you create your design, you can easily order the PCB board also through the EasyEDA Designer. You can even choose the colour of your PCB board (I decided for blue) and tweak several other options. As a minimum, you need to order 5 PCB boards, but can also order up to 80.000 if you want. You might wonder, what the production of a PCB board like this might cost? Well, it did cost around 8 Dollars for 5 PCB boards. There is also shipping and it takes about two weeks, but the production couldn’t be easier.

So if you are creating an electronic project, I can fully recommend creating a PCB board too, especially when you are creating multiple copies of that project. The costs are low and the overall look is way more professional than without a PCB board.

Sebastian Hageneuer

Founder & Editor

About the Author

My name is Sebastian. I am a research associate at the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Cologne, Germany, Discipline for Archaeoinformatics. My special interest lies in reconstructing ancient architecture and thinking about ways to present archaeological knowledge to other researchers and the public in an informative and appealing way. I teach 3D documentation of material culture as well as 3D modelling and archaeological reconstruction and work on several projects as part of my job.

View Articles