Tools – PCB Shear

I typically send my circuit boards to ITead Studio to have them produced since it is cheaper than ordering them from US companies.  International orders can take a long time to ship..usually around 3 weeks.  This can become painful if I find a mistake in my design and have to re-order boards.  This is why I occasionally bite the bullet and have them made locally.  One of the techniques I use to minimize the cost is to place multiple circuit designs onto a single PCB.  The problem with doing it this way is there are no snap off tabs between the circuits like you would receive from a panel.  There are numerous methods that a hobbyist can use to separate the circuits such as a Dremel or saw.   I want a clean cut so using a Dremel tool is out of the question.  Also, the material the boards are made of is toxic thus, it is not recommended you cut them out on a table, band saw, etc.  A PCB shear will give you a clean straight edge and makes short work of cutting out the individual circuits.  I have seen some individuals using a heavy duty paper shear but, I wanted something that was more accurate with a longer lasting blade.  The shear is available from T-Tech.  The cost is a tad on the high side but, it is better to spend now and save later IMHO.

Here is a picture of the PCB Shear:



Tutorials – Eagle Tutorials from Around the Web

I have used many schematic/PCB capture applications and I find that Cadsoft Eagle seems to be the standard for hobbyists.  As such, there are some peculiar features that takes some getting use to.  For instance, the user interface does not function like many point-n-click applications.  You can Google eagle tutorials and find plenty.



Below are some of my favorites: