Retro CPC Dongle – Part 47

The programming daughter-board for the CPC2 is on its way, most likely making its slow way through the USPS. Rather than wait a few more weeks for the board to arrive, I thought I’d share the 3D render for the board.

Building this board was an exciting new development in the project as the board was designed using KiCad. Transitioning to KiCad from DesignSpark was not a decision undertaken lightly. The proprietary nature of DesignSpark, coupled with the forced upgrades and continual re-registration process convinced me to give KiCad a go. After a few hours of learning the new work-flow and learning the huge number of short-cut keys, and I was building boards like a pro.

The models for the components I used were either available from the Mouser web site, or were created at my request by the wonderful folks at SamacSys. While I did trial the process of creating new components and footprints, this was unnecessary as everything I needed was provided for me.

After laying out the board and thanks to the super smart folks at OSHPark, the process of submitting the board for manufacture couldn’t have been simpler. Here’s a comparison of the process for DesignSpark and KiCad. See if you can spot which process is the better one.

StepDesignSparkKiCad
1Set up the parameters for each manufacturing layerDrop the PCB file on the OshPark home page
2Output the plots for all layers
3Rename the plots so they can be identified by the layout software
4Load all plots into GERBV to check the alignment of all layers
5Zip up all files
6Drop the ZIP file on the OSHPark home page.
7 Done!Done!

In case you didn’t spot it, processing the KiCad PCB file was waaaaay easier – a surprising and delightful experience. A brief visual check from the OSH Park simulated renders and I was confident that the KiCad PCB file had been interpreted correctly.

A quick click on the ‘Buy’ button and my boards were on their way. Assuming that I haven’t bungled the layouts, the build process should be fairly simple, so I’ll post again when I’ve put these boards together. With the programming headers moved from the CPC2 to the daughter-board, I’ll be able to focus on getting the 3D printed case correct.

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