Homemade Hardware


Instructor: Andy Sigler

Email: andrewsigler1@gmail.com

Class Time: Thursday afternoons, 3:20-6:15pm

Office Hours: 20 minutes Sign up here


ITP is pass/fail, but you do still get graded. To pass, students must document and show work and progress through out the semester, and cannot miss more than 2 classes without prior notice.

  • Attendance and Participation: 30%
  • Blogging and Assignments: 30%
  • Final Project: 40%

Class 1

Jan 25

Course and Student Introductions

Breadboard Arduino and ATtiny85

  • See the process of bootloading and programming an ATtiny85 described in the Microcontrollers Process section.

For next class:

Buy everything form the things page (yes, even the bits)

Breadboard ATtiny85 sensor that controls an LED. Commit to an interaction and sensor circuit for the Marquee letter assignment due Week 4.

Send me a link to your "Homemade Hardware" blog category. Create a first post including a hand-drawn schematic of your breadboard, and a video of it working.

Read through the following:

Class 2

Feb 1

Soldering how-to

See the videos on how to do simple soldering in the in the soldering section of the Process page

If you are interested in seeing some more advanced stuff, check out Sparkfuns series of tutorials on soldering. It's mostly surface-mount examples, but the basic principals on how solder moves and what the common issues are the same with through-holes parts.

Eagle Schematics and Board Design

We went through some commands in class. Here are what we talked about, and a basic description:

  • ADD: Load a new part into you Schematic (not available in Board design)

  • DELETE: Delete anything from your Schematic (restricted in Board design)

  • MOVE: Move anything around, and right-click to rotate (same in Schematic and Board design)

  • ROTATE: Rotate a part (restricted to 90degree rotations in Schematic design)

  • NET: Create an electrical connection between two PINs in Schematic design (not available in Board design)

  • COPY: Copy a part in your Schematic design (restricted in Board design)

  • ROUTE: [Board design only] Draw an electrical connection as a copper trace (1mm is good thickness)

  • RIPUP: [Board design only] Undo or remove a ROUTE that you have previously drawn

  • [SPACE-BAR DURING ROUTE]: [Board design only] Drop a "VIA" (a hole) while routing, so that your copper trace jumps to the other side of the board.

      NOTE: We will start with single-sided PCBs, so keep in mind that all "jumps" like this to the other side will end up being "air-wires"

For next class:

  • Finish your Arduino shield programming jig for the ATtiny85 so that you can use it next week on your project.
  • Create Eagle files for ATtiny85 sensor + LED. Take screenshots of both your schematic and board files, and upload them to your blog.
  • Nominate a 13 letter phrase on this shared document

Class 3

Feb 8


I've added a checklist of what to do when using the Othermill in the Process section of this website. Read through it while setting up your milling job. There is also a section on using Engraving Bits, and a video on cleaning copper plates.

Also you can look through this introduction to the machine by Bantam Tools.

Assemble Interactive Marquee Letter

TIP120 Pinout

We will use a TIP120 transistor so that you can drive super bright LEDs if you'd like. Those require more current than your Arduino/ATtiny85 pin can output, so we use a transistor to turn on and off those higher currents.

Class 4

Feb 15

Assemble our Marquee Sign

Wireless Modules

Mill and Solder with SMD parts

Class 5

Feb 22

Advanced Eagle Schematics

Advanced Eagle Board Design

Class 6

Mar 1

Solder Stencils and Solder Paste

Using the SMT Station and Reflow Gun

Acid Etching PCBs

Class 7

Mar 8

Midterm Presentations

No Class

Mar 15

Class 8

Mar 22

Final Concept Presentations and Feedback

Common Sub-Circuits

Class 9

Mar 29

Super Advanced Eagle

Double-Sided PCBs (Mill and Etch)

Class 10

Apr 5

Guest Speaker (TBD)

Making PCBs in the Real World

Class 11

Apr 12

In-Class Finals Workshop

Class 12

Apr 19

Finals Presentations