What’s the Deal With Hand Printed Circuit Board Classics?

Prototype circuit boards

According to The Verge, Star Simpson has just launched a crowdfunding campaign — and the inspiration for her campaign is ?circuit classics.? What are these, exactly? She took circuit drawings from Forrest Mims III and actually created real, working boards. These hand-drawn designs also include a quote from Mims. Forrest Mims was the author of several incredibly iconic books, including ?Getting Started in Electronics? and the ?Engineers? Notebook.? This book was published in the 1980s by Radio Shack, and copies of it have been lovingly passed down through generations.

To begin with, there are three available designs; the Bargraph Voltage Indicator, the Stepped Tone Generator, and the Dual-LED Flasher. So far, Simpson has managed to raise $17,354 — pretty good for a $9,750 goal! In order to receive a single circuit, one needs to pay in at leat $44. By paying more, donors can get a number of optional extras including a copy of Getting Started in Electronics.

So far, the circuits have gotten rave reviews by many in the community. Oomlout has said that, ?We’re not alone in our appreciation for Forrest’s work, by any means, and fellow Forrest fan Star Simpson has come up with a great tribute: physical incarnations of his hand-drawn circuit designs, complete with notes.? And Adafruit Industries similarly commented that, ?This is one of the best combinations of old meets new I think I’ve seen.? The vintage designs seem to have hit a home run with the community that grew up with these books.

While this circuits may be lovingly crafted, it?s not surprising that most circuits are more functional and unseen than they are works of art. This is for the best, though — producing circuits by machines helps to ensure the integrity of the pieces, as well as fast enough production that costs can be kept low. Today, components on printed circuit boards are electrically connected using two methods: either surface mount technology (which is newer) or through the hole technology (which is a more dated method, though still commonly used).

Prototype PCB fabrication may sound complicated, but in reality it?s largely an automated process that is fairly simple once you break it down. Prototype printed circuit boards can be made quickly and easily for any company that wants to test them out in a product.

What’s your experience been with prototype printed circuit boards? Let us know. More like this blog.

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