How to make PCB at home using Altium Designer | applied electronics engineering

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How to make PCB at home using Altium Designer

By Applied Electronics - Thursday, May 18, 2017 No Comments
Altium Designer is a professional PCB software with lots of PCB design feature. It outputs are fabrication gerber files of each of the different layers that are needed by PCB fabrication houses. But for hobbyist and amateur or for simple PCB prototyping this all is not needed. All you need for making PCB at home are simple bottom copper for single layer or top and bottom copper for double sided layer. Optionally you may want to print the silk screen. In this tutorial we will show how to print double sided layer PCB that you can make at home in Altium Designer.

You can start with creating a new PCB project or just import the PCB layout if you downloaded some PCB files. In this tutorial we will create PCB project first then import PCB files.

What we will make is the following RN-52 breakout board. The PCB and schematic files can be downloaded for free from sparkfun RN-52 guide page. The RN-52 bluetooth module with its breakout board is shown below.


We are going to build this PCB board excluding the RN-52 bluetooth module.

Note that the PCB files and schematic files of the RN-52 are in eagle PCB software file format. But with Altium Designer you can easily import it.

The next step is to create PCB Project. We assume you know how to create a PCB project. After you have created the project, import the PCB and schematic files and put them into the PCB project folder. After you have done that you should have similar project file structure as shown below.

How to make PCB at home using Altium Designer

On the left side you can see the actual PCB layout.

The next step is to print this PCB layout. We are only going to print the top and bottom copper to make double sided PCB.

To do this, File > Page Setup


In the page setup window, set paper size to A4,  set orientation to Portrait, select Scaled Print as Scale Mode, set Scale to 1.00, set Corrections X and Y also to 1.00 as shown below.


Then click on Advanced. From this page you can select what PCB layer to print and delete the unwanted.


To print the Bottom Layer, select Bottom and Multi-layer and delete the rest. To delete any or multiple layer, select those layer that you want to delete and right click and then select delete.

Then check mark the options for all except the Mirror and TT Fonts as shown below.


To check that is indeed that you want, you can print the preview by selecting File > Print Preview. An example is shown below.


If you are satisfied you can now print it to your Laser printer or what printer you use for home made PCB. To do this go to File > Print and select your printer.


Now to print the Top layer copper follow the above steps upto the point you open the Advanced setup page. In this setup window, now you have to delete the Bottom layer by right clicking on the Bottom and then selecting delete and add/insert the Top layer by right click on the window and selecting the top layer.

Now the difference is that now you have to check mark the mirror option because the top copper must be mirrored to make the double sided PCB work. See this below.

How to make PCB at home using Altium Designer

Now you can print the preview and/or directly print the top layer. After that you are good to go making PCB at home using Altium Designer PCB software.

To see how the PCB looks like see below.

How to make PCB at home using Altium Designer

How to make PCB at home using Altium Designer

See other Altium Designer PCB tutorials:

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