I normally fabricate my projects on prototype printed circuit boards where I make the circuits with jumper wires. It is error prone and very time consuming. I recently watched a tutorial series made by digi-key on how to design you own PCB’s using KiCad and order them from a PCB manufacturer.
My first project is a board designed to power an Arduino Nano, and break out several analog and digital inputs. One 12-pin header is specifically designed to break out a 16X2 LCD. I designed it to accept a MeanWell IRM-10-5 10 watt 5VDC AC-DC converter to power the arduino and any peripherals. I am really pleased with how it turned out.
The tutorial suggested that I go with OSHPARK to produce my boards. I uploaded my gerber files and the showed me proofs of my design. They quoted me $48 for three boards. I checked around and found that JLCPCB would make five for $2. I thought it was too good to be true, but after shipping, I only paid $13 for 5 boards. They are very high quality, and I only had to wait about 10 days. That’s even cheaper than the prototype PCB’s I had been using. I was able to solder all the components on the board in a few short minutes as opposed to hours. This is definitely the way I will go from now on.