August 15, 2019

eLab Hackerspace PCB Rulers

Having a PCB ruler in the hackerspace has always been an interest at our hackerspace, but we never actuallly designed one, until now. PCBWay has kindly offered to make some of our PCB rulers. There are quite a lot of PCB rulers out there, but I always thought they could look better, so I designed my own, and thus something that is both useful but equally beautiful. And since eLab hackerspace logo is black and white, it only made sense to use a supper cool matte black soldermask with white silkscreen. As for the copper layers, nothing looks better than gold on black! You can get your own here!

First thing I did was to look for as many existing PCB rulers as possible, I've seen a few before but there are quite a lot when you search for it. Most PCB rulers try and push a lot of information into a small space, making them a complete cheat encyclopaedia at the cost of a horrible design full with text and tables with different sizes and fonts. I tried to filter this, adding only the most common needed cheats and info, while always keeping the looks of it in the first place. This way you still get a lot of useful info but you also get a pretty neat PCB ruler. Another thing that I rarely see on PCB rulers and wanted to include here, is the zero on the edge of the ruler, this simple detail can be quite useful for measuring stuff, just by pushing the ruler against an object.
On the front side has a metric ruler in cm and a bunch of the most used SMD components footprints, organized by groups. On the back it's an electronic cheat rule, with lot of useful tables with quick information access, for electronics and PCB designers/engineers (all the current information is established for a copper thickness of 1 oz.). As for the software, I used KiCAD do design the ruler.
If you want to get more details about how I designed it, I have a full article on eLab's Blog. And you can always get some rulers for yourself here.

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