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Build Your Own Printed Circuit Board [Paperback]

Al Williams
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 26, 2003 0070054088 978-0071427838 1
Printed circuit boards are at the heart of just about every electronic device made today - PCs, cell phones, MP3 players, PDAs, telephones, stereos, TVs, remote controls, cameras, your car, and even small appliances. The reason these items have come down in price over the years is because of printed circuit boards. Whereas before you had to pay someone to physically connect (and repair!) wires for each component (a time-consuming and thus expensive prospect), now an error-proof, custom "PCB" is installed instead.Hobbyists and designers can now start their projects with a printed circuit board, rather than using it as a last step (and contracting it out to someone else, as was previously the norm). It not only makes a more professional-looking prototype, but also makes it easy to mass-produce. And the techniques are the same for the hobbyist working on a single project. This will be by far the most modern book on the market, with the latest and greatest techniques for producing intricate PCB's at a fraction of the cost of sending them out.

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Build Your Own Printed Circuit Board + Circuitbuilding Do-It-Yourself For Dummies + Make: Electronics (Learning by Discovery)
Price for all three: $59.17

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover


The EagleCAD light software inside does all the tasks described in this book -- schematic capture, layout, and autorouting. Run it on Windows or Linux.


With Build Your Own Printed Circuit Board, you can eliminate or reduce your company's reliance on outsourcing to board houses, and cut costs significantly. Perfect for advanced electronics hobbyists as well, this easy-to-follow guide is by far the most up-to-date source on making PCBs. Complete in itself, the handbook even gives you PCB CAD software, on CD, ready to run on either Windows or Linux. (Some PCB software costs from $10,000 to $15,000!)


Written by a PCB designer and electronics expert, Build Your Own Printed Circuit Board gives you absolutely everything you need to design and construct a professional-looking prototype or production-ready PCB files with modern CAD tools.

You get:
* Instructions for every phase of project flow, from design schematics, sizing, layout, and autorouting fabrication
* The latest in PCB tips, tricks, and techniques
* Cutting-edge tactics for shrinking boards
* Guidance on generating CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) files to produce the board yourself or send it out
* A sample project, demonstrating all the book's techniques, that you can build and use in practical applications
* Discussions on using service bureaus to produce designs
* Expert comparison of CAD program options


About the Author

Al Williams (Houston, TX) is the author of 18 books, including many programming titles, as well as Embedded Internet Design, also published by McGraw-Hill. An electronics professional for over 20 years, he is principal of his own company, AWC, which produces hardware modules for microcontroller developers. Mr. Williams also designs PCBs for a wide array of clients.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics; 1 edition (September 26, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070054088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071427838
  • ASIN: 007142783X
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 7.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Over the years I've written many books on computer and electronic topics. I've also written articles or columns for magazines including Dr. Dobb's Journal, Web Techniques, Visual Developer, C/C++ User's Journal, Embedded, and many other periodicals.

In addition to appearing at Software Development and the Borland Developer's Conference, I previously taught computer-related classes for Technology Exchange, a division of Addison Wesley.

A long-time ham radio operator (WD5GNR), I'm active on PSK31 and other digital modes. My recent interests have turned to 3D printing.

I live near Houston Texas with my wife, Pat, and a varying number of kids, grand kids, dogs, and cats.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars XYZ's of Circuit Board Design & Construction November 23, 2003
Mr. Williams has provided a unique guide for the neophyte and experienced designer in the art of designing circuit boards on a shoestring. The book and accompanying CD contains everything required to gain proficiency in schematic capture and PC board layout. The book goes beyond design and provides the processes and procedures to interact with contract board houses to produce high quality professional circuit boards. I recommend this book to anyone involved in the design and fabrication of electronic circuits.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It is good for learning the EAGLE software September 17, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is short and easy to learn the basics of creating schematics, layout, and producing gerber files with the EAGLE software only.
A free basic version of EAGLE software is included on the CD and it is good enough for learning purpose. The Book's title is "Build Your Own Printed Circuit Board" which I think is misleading. The book deals with just the EAGLE software and does not teach how to physically build a printed circuit board. For learning the EAGLE software, it is a good starting point.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it once, use as reference later! May 28, 2007
You can screw it up a few times with incomplete internet guides or you can read this detailed account of the most popular techniques for manufacturing your own pcb's. You will probably figure it out either way, but the wasted money on pcb's and other materials will pay for simply buying the book!

I used the "laser printer" process and it worked perfectly, exactly as described. I even have my name and the name of the year "professionally" printed into the copper!

If you want to send to a board house and don't know exactly what to do, buy this book! The author describes the file types and layers that are expected, along with everything you need to know about gerber files and other formats.

The book is also well-structured for use as a reference. I found myself cross-referencing many times and specific passages were always found within a few seconds. Read it once and keep it around as a reference!

Good luck, I hope that you are as happy with the results as I am.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good For Learning Eagle PCB by CadSoft February 20, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Let me begin by stating I bought this book to learn how to use CadSoft's Eagle Schematic Capture and Layout product. I have over 20+ years as a systems/circuit design engineer in the analog/RF/microwave and digital design fields. Over the years I've used pcb design software such as Ultiboard, OrCAD Schematic and Layout, Alegro, and Mentor. I first learned about CadSoft's Eagle as a young engineer working in the VSAT group at Hughes Network Systems in the mid 1990's. Some of the engineers began to use the software for prototype work, but I didn't explore it's capabilities because I was already familiar with Mentor. I decide to re-visit the Eagle software in 2012. This review will be unique in that I won't address how the book and author describe the PCB design process and flow as this was not the intent of my purchasing the book. The review is targeted to those individuals who are contemplating using/purchasing Eagle from CadSoft as schematic & layout CAD tool as an alternative to some of the other high end (>$8000) PCB CAD packages.

Let me begin about what I like about the book:

1. The book is well written (an easy read) and only 191 pages. I received the book from Amazon on a Tuesday, and in five evenings was able to not only go through the entire book, but also work the examples on my computer with my copy of Eagle softare.
2. The author does a decent job of explaining how to use the Eagle program (the book could easily have been titled "A Tutorial on Learning Eagle Software"). All elements of using the schematic and layout tool are covered. The author doesn't do a great job in describing the DRC features of the tool, which is why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Practice Makes Perfect October 15, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have worked with schematics for a few years, they're fairly easy to understand once you get the basics of electronics; but PCB-building had always been a great mystery for me until I got this book and started experimenting with Eagle CAD software and some chemicals (not tranquilizers). First I learned how to extend the libraries, then to prepare the PCB layout - and autorouting, and finally, to develop the board using a laser printer and necessary chemicals. First trial was pathetic, but I got better with every new board, and my 5th board was perfect! Practice does pay off, and there is nothing like starting from scratch and succeeding.

So, if you want to learn about building PCB's from your schematics, get this book, read through, and do a LOT of google'ing to read any available sources, practice a lot, and don't give up if you fail at the beginning. You'll get better with practice.

Only weak point of this book is that there aren't enough pictures to illustrate the etching process. Otherwise, it is a perfect source of information.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A lot better if it was readable May 21, 2007
The book is OK although it totally leans toward Eagle software and doesn't say much else about other packages. The real downer is that the most important illustrations in the book are printed black on black on dark gray, like mud-on-mud graphics and you can't tell what's going on - at least in my copy. This is on the most important illustraions (to me anyway) which were the illustrations showing actual board traces and autorouting. Without being able to make out the illustrations the text becomes pretty meaningless. This is a very amateur graphics mistake that screams "High School Yearbook".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars To basic
I was looking for something a little more detailed than what this book offered. It is very basic with little or know examples.
Published 6 months ago by Ken M Rainey
5.0 out of 5 stars Still very relevant
Although this book predates the current software by a few years (I'm using 6.2 at the moment) the differences are few and far between and the "translation" is immediately... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Pete Soper
2.0 out of 5 stars CD not work in Win 7
you can not load the CD on Win7 box. you need down load the free version EAGLE6.4.0 from eagle page.
But the tool box in version 6.4.0 did not match the book. Read more
Published 14 months ago by David cui
2.0 out of 5 stars Amateur lab but no further
This is not really a book with any serious scientific value. It shows a few very,very basic, and very old amateuristic techniques to make some little circuits. No More.
Published 14 months ago by Patrick
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid Kindle edition
I bought the Kindle edition of this book. It was a complete disappointment and waste of good money. The book is nothing more than an extended outline of the commands of the Eagle... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Peter Van Damme
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book on Eagle Software
Having made my own circuit boards years ago, I had no desire to repeat that nightmare. I have been looking for a circuit CAD that was both user-friendly and less than $1000. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Dan Hobson
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good But Not Fantastic
The book, in my honest opinion, is good. I've made it to page 40 already, and I like the opinions and facts it presents. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Bastendorf Evergrass
4.0 out of 5 stars Build Your Own Printed Circuit Board
Good book full of hints on specifically the EAGLE s/w. As with most free s/w the documentation is sparce and criptic that accompanies ite installatio package. Read more
Published on December 21, 2011 by pgm engr
2.0 out of 5 stars Only use i could find in it was the glossary.
The book has a catchy headline. Though,i didn't find any practical use of it in helping me start with board designs. Read more
Published on July 28, 2011 by AMLO
2.0 out of 5 stars Its just ok.
This book is only a generic introduction to making circuit boards. It should not be called "Build your own" because the author only spends few pages describing the actual... Read more
Published on May 17, 2011 by CM
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