[2017 archive] 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 24

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

Mar 3

Advanced Eagle Schematics

  • Voltage regulators
  • Overview of schematic symbols and design patterns
  • Organizing your Eagle schematic components and NETs
  • Borrowing from open-source schematics and Eagle files

Advanced Eagle Board Design

  • Organizing connections and sub-circuits
  • Routing double-sided PCBs
  • Polygons and ground-planes
  • Sourcing parts from Digikey, Mouser, etc.

For next class:

  • Create a blog post with a prototype of your Week 8 project. Also have details for your design, and whatever resources you are using to help you along.

Class 6

Mar 10

Populate and Reflow SMD

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

Prototyping for SMD Projects

  • ICs, MCUs, and Modules
  • Limitations of footprints and size

For next class:

Populate and get your example SMD board fom class working.

Create an Eagle schematic and board design for your Week 8 project.

Class 7

Mar 24

Solder Stencils

  • Laser raster a solder stencil from transparency film
  • Applying solder paste with stencil and squeegie
  • Populate components using SMT Station

More Eagle

  • Creating a custom Eagle part
  • Importing DXF files for the Dimension layer

For next class:

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

Class 8

Mar 31

Project Presentations

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

For next class:

  • Research for your final, narrow down your ideas and search for hardware to prototype with.

Class 9 -- class will meet at 6:30PM in Conference Room

Apr 12

Wireless Modules

Read more about them on the process page.

Download these example Eagle files for the 3 wireless modules.

Ordering out PCBs

For next class:

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

Class 10

Apr 14

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

Double Sided Boards

  • Design limitations: SMD and DIP parts; soldering double sided; larger vias
  • Milling dimension and holes on the Othermill
  • Apply toner transfer to both sides, and etch
  • Solder wires inside the Vias to connect Top to Bottom

For next class:

Create an Eagle schematic and board file based off you prototype. Bring it to next class, along with your working prototype.

Order the parts that you will need for your board, so that you have them in hand for next class.

Class 11

Apr 21

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, and prepare a 5-7 minute presentation for the class.

Class 12

Apr 28

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