Everything needs an FAQ...

Who is the class aimed at?

The goal is to aim this class at complete newbies to the world of PCB design. It's about a desire to learn rather than prior experience.

If you have ever wired any sort of peripheral to an Arduino board by soldering wires or using a plugboard, even if it was just to make an LED blink, that's pretty much all the knowledge you need. And if you have never done that before, we can cover the basics of processor IO, peripherals, and how to connect things together.

If you have already designed your own circuit boards, then you probably have too much knowledge for this class.

Some Arduino software experience would be helpful, but not necessary. An Arduino-based software driver for the class project will be supplied, so nothing needs to be written.

What will I get out of the class?

You will go through the entire process of:

  • converting an idea into a schematic
  • converting a schematic into a layout
  • preparing the layout for fabrication
  • preparing the fabricated board for construction
  • testing the constructed board
  • verifying the final system of controller & oven

What do I need to bring to the class?

The absolute minimal requirements would be some sort of computer. Eagle runs on equally well on Windows/Linux/Mac and does not need a high-power CPU or a lot of RAM. We will install the software at the class. The most important part is to bring a real mouse if you bring a laptop. Circuit layout involves a ton of clicking and dragging which is really inconvenient on a touchpad. If you have the ability, bring as big a monitor as you can manage. There is nothing better that doing circuit layout on a nice big monitor.

I may be able to supply a small number of suitable computers if you don't have anything portable.

Are you a professional teacher?

Nope, just a long-time nerd. I may suck at teaching, but let's find out.

What if I already have a toaster over reflow machine?

You might have too much experience for this class.

What if I don't want to make a toaster oven reflow machine? Can I make something else?

No. For the purposes of learning the design tool Eagle, we will all be designing our own version of the same basic thing. It will allow students to validate each other's work. If you really, really don't want a toaster oven reflow machine, then don't bother fabricating the board that you design. Take the lessons learned about Eagle and build what you want. Note that the initial session[s] will be for people who want a reflow oven and are willing to go through the whole process. I need to debug the class curriculum.

Where will the class be held?

The goal is to hold the classes in the classroom area of the Whidbey Made store, in downtown Oak Harbor, Washington.

When will the classes be held?

That mostly depends on if I can find anyone who is interested in taking it. If there is interest, I will pound out the remainder of the lecture notes. C'mon, give me a reason to finish! The first session would not be before late spring 2020.

What will the class cost?

I need to cover the rent for the class space at Whidbey Made, but I will be teaching the class itself will be free. You will need to buy the materials, and chip in for the fabrication & shipping costs for your own boards.

What if the class really sucks?

Hey, it could happen. Just remember that it was basically free, and you get what you pay for. Thank you for your input.

What if the class is super awesome?

Take your new knowledge, build something cool, and show it to me. Together, we will marvel at its nerdly glory.