An easy way to start a hardware project is by prototyping using a breadboard. Once a successful prototype has been completed, one of the next tasks is to implement the hardware design in a more robust and permanent package, which is usually a Printed Circuit Board (or PCB).
The first step is to design the PCB circuit, using a PCB design package, such as http://www.cadsoftusa.com Eagle (free, but limited version), gEDA (open-source) or others. Based on demand, HackerSpace members will run tutorials on PCB circuit design. The first tutorial used Eagle, given by Luke Weston on Tuesday meeting on 23rd June 2009.
The second step is to manufacture the PCB circuit, either by yourself or by sending your PCB design off to a company that specializes in producing custom PCBs. Based on demand, HackerSpace members will run tutorials on PCB manufacture, so that you can make your own board. The first tutorial on D.I.Y PCB manufacture was given by Michael Borthwick on Tuesday meeting on 2nd June 2009. This was a very popular tutorial and we'll see if Michael can be persuaded to give it again.
Since that time, Ross McKenzie has given another tutorial on PCB manufacture which will hopefully be available as video shortly.
The HackerSpace will also acquire the equipment and consumables required to make PCBs, so that members can create their own boards during the HackerSpace weekend meetings. It is hoped that the cnc_milling machine may be used for this purpose.
Further reading on making your own PCB by Bryan Ackerly (using Kinsten PCB material and process).
Some of Michael's results @ Flickr …
(1), (2) Michael's completed PCBs and (3) Luke Weston drilling through-holes on his freshly made PCB
Images Copyright © 2009 by Michael Borthwick and Jon Oxer