Basics of Printed Circuit Board Design

So you have done your design and you now know what your specifications are for your idea. To avoid scope creep (where specifications may change during design stage) which can be costly, ensure and verify with your partners and a tiny portion of target market that the specifications are adequate. Now you are ready for Printed Circuit Board (PCB) design. The stages of PCB design are as follows:

  1. Select a PCB design software – Most popular is Altium Designer (Licence Required), or Altium Circuit Maker (Free), Ki CAD (Free), Eagle CAD (Free).
  2. Download, Install and Activate your PCB software
  3. Gather all the components that will be required to design your schematic diagram. Create or download those components if you don’t have their component libraries
  4. Once you have the components required, you can then proceed to draw your schematic diagram.
  5. The Schematic diagram can be generated automatically into PCB design layout where you can place your components. Define the shape of your PCB.
  6. When your components are laid out you can start routing the components that connect together. Auto-routing is also possible.
  7. If you have completed your PCB design. You go ahead and create the manufacturing files which called gerbers. These files you send to your manufacturer so that they may etch or mill your designed PCB according to your specifications. It is also possible to etch your PCB using chemical bath tub.
  8. When you have your PCB back in solid form, the physical components can then be populated on the board. You can solder or reflow the components yourself or you can send it to an assembly company for those small components that are either fragile or too tiny to solder.
  9. Time to Test! Test and debug your PCB until it works according to your specifications. You may need to re-manufacture your PCB depending on the extent of the corrections required for the prototype.

Hope these steps gave your a little insight into the process involved in PCB design, if you would like to learn more in-depth on PCB design you can take my course here on Udemy –



Ritesh Kanjee has over 7 years in Printed Circuit Board (PCB) design as well in image processing and embedded control. He completed his Masters Degree in Electronic engineering and published a paper for IEEE called Vision-based adaptive Cruise control using Pattern matching (on Google Scholar). His work was implemented in LabVIEW. He works as an Embedded Electronic Engineer in defence research. He has experience in FPGA design with programming in both VHDL and Verilog.