Homemade Hardware


Instructor: Andy Sigler

Email: andrewsigler1@gmail.com

Class Time: Friday 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 27

Course Introduction

  • Introductions
  • Overview of course and syllabus

From Prototype to BOM

  • Arduino on a breadboard
  • ATmega328p and ATtiny85

For next class:

Breadboard ATtiny85 or ATmega328p 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 3

Soldering how-to

  • Protecting soldering tips and your hardware
  • Create "programming jig" for ATmega328p and ATtiny85

Eagle Schematics

  • Installing part libraries
  • Add parts and connect with NET

Eagle Board Design

  • Layout and organizing connections
  • Dimensions and board shapes
  • Routing traces, and creating air wires with vias

For next class:

  • Finish your Arduino shield programming jig for the ATtiny85 (or ATmega328p) 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 16 letter phrase on this shared document

Class 3 -- class will meet at 9AM in room 20

Feb 10


  • Endmills, engraving bits, and how mills work
  • Overview of Othermill and Otherplan
  • Validating an Eagle file, and setting up your copper plate
  • Cleaning and fixing the Z axis

Work in class on interactive marquee letter

  • Download the example Eagle files for ATtiny and LED letter.
  • Work in class on schematic and layout. Once finished, start milling during class.

For next class:

Finish your interactive Marquee letter, and have it ready for installation beginning of next class. Plan on encountering both design and fabrication mistakes that force you to start over, so give yourself a few days to iterate.

Class 4

Feb 17

Assemble Marquee Sign

  • Test each project individually
  • Connect together, test, and install

Designing and Measuring Electronics

  • Measuring continuity, resistance, voltage, and current.
  • Rule #1 - Ohms Law, and seeing it in practice
  • Rule #2 - Voltage Dividers, and seeing them in practice
  • Power regulators and handling current

Common Sub-Circuits

  • Lipo battery charging
  • Communication lines (Serial, I2C, SPI, and antennas)
  • Microphone input and amplifier output

For next class:

If you Marquee letter did not work then please finish and bring to me for testing during office hours.

Class 5

Feb 24

Populate and Reflow SMD

  • Overview of example SMD circuit board
  • Applying solder paste with needle
  • Populate with tweezers and the manual Pick-and-Place
  • Reflow with the coffee heater and heat gun

Prototyping for SMD Projects

  • ICs, MCUs, and Modules
  • Sourcing parts from Digikey, Mouser, etc.
  • Limitations of footprints and size
  • Borrowing from open-source schematics and Eagle files

For next class:

Populate and get your example SMD board working.

Create a prototype for the midterm, and start planning your schematic and BOM

Class 6

Mar 3

Advanced Eagle Schematics

  • Overview of schematic symbols and design patterns
  • Organizing your Eagle schematic components and NETs
  • Creating a custom Eagle part

Advanced Eagle Board Design

  • Organizing connections and sub-circuits
  • Importing DXF files for the Dimension layer
  • Routing double-sided PCBs, and design limitations at ITP

For next class:

  • Source your parts, and layout board.

Class 7

Mar 10

Solder Stencils

  • Laser raster a solder stencil from transparency film
  • Applying solder paste with stencil and squeegie

Acid etching

  • Applying paint and drying
  • Laser-raster your circuit's negative image
  • Creating and handling acid, and etching your PCB

For next class:

  • Finish SMD PCB, and prepare 5 minute presentation for next class

Class 8

Mar 24

Project Presentations

  • 5-7 minute presentation
  • Include documentation of your working prototype, BOM, and Eagle files
  • Live demo or video if the PCB working
  • Conclusion should include failures and lessons learned

For next class:

  • Research for you final, and commit to something by next class.

Class 9

Mar 31

Wireless Modules

  • BLE with the nRF51
  • WiFi with the esp8266
  • RFM69 and LoRa modules

Ordering out PCBs

Final project working session

  • Bring a prototype to class to work on, and I will be available to answer any questions

For next class:

  • Commit to your major components (what MCU or sensors or actuators?)
  • Get your prototype fully functional, software running.

Class 10

Apr 7

Reflow Oven

  • Temperature profiles and safety

Dry Film Solder Mask

  • Apply solder mask and expose under UV light
  • Develop in soda ash, and harden under UV light


  • Placeholder for accumulated topics, things the class is interested in, or a guest speaker

For next class:

Class 11

Apr 14

In-class workshop

  • I will be travelling from project to project to help out as we work in class.
  • You must be at the fabrication stage at this point, and have already committed to a design and working prototype.

For next class:

  • Finish your final project. Expect to hit both design and fabrication error.

Class 12

Apr 21

Project Presentations

  • Give 5-7 minute presentation on your final PCB
  • Include documentation of your working prototype, BOM, and Eagle files
  • Live demo or video if the PCB working
  • Conclusion should include failures and lessons learned