This marriage proposal is the best PCB design ever


While you will often see hacks on this site that feature high voltage, fire, and metal, that doesn’t mean that hackers, makers, and electronics geeks don’t have a soft side. In fact, we find the opposite to be true the vast majority of the time.

Take for instance [Bill Porter].

You may have seen his projects and tutorials featured here a time or two, and though I have never met him, he seems like a great guy whose heart is in the right place.

He recently decided that his college sweetheart was “the one” and had to think of a clever and surprising way to pop the question to a girl who is always one step ahead of the curve. [Mara (soon to be) Porter] was working on a project that required a custom PCB, and having never ordered one before, [Bill] was happy to help her get things in order. After sending the schematics off to [Laen] at DorkbotPDX, [Bill] fired off another email asking to have his proposal silk screened on the boards. [Laen] said he was happy to help, and so the wait began.

The boards arrived a few weeks later, and the rest, they say, was history.

How did it go? We’re guessing you’ve figured it out by now, but be sure to swing by [Bill’s] site to see how it all went down.

You know you want to…you big softie!


  1. Addie says:

    be still my heart… !

    amazing idea (and not a bad rock either).


  2. pete says:

    I did the move to SMD some time ago,
    but still use trough hole components for GF hacking.

  3. Will says:

    Pure win, all the way!!

  4. Bill says:

    Wow Thanks Guys!

    Didn’t think this was HAD worthy on its own. I plan on getting my (now) fiance to document her project when it’s finished, and was going to add this as a footnote. Since I’m sure the true geeks are curious: The boards are basically a LED driving constant current shift register breakout. She’s using the ShiftPWM Arduino Library mentioned on HAD before and this board to give her ~120 LED driving PWM channels without expensive hardware.

    BTW Mike, FlameHero is not my project, but it did use one of my libraries. I do have a handful of HAD covered projects though.

  5. dext3r says:

    fartface, you are officially “comic book guy” of the day. congrats.

  6. Curto says:

    Awesome! Congratulations you two!

  7. raged says:

    congrads! I hope there were no errors in the PCB design, it’d be a shame to have to re-order ;)

  8. Reality says:

    You know what else is rarer than a diamond? The shit of a Mediterranean Monk Seal. That doesn’t mean I’m gonna put it in my fiance’s finger.

    The scarcity of a gem is only a minor part to it’s desirability. Consider that most people actually do find diamonds to be a very attractive stone, as well as the tradition that it holds.

    But yes, anti-mainstream all the way bro!@#@!!111

  9. zengar says:

    At least with my quick read-through, there is nothing saying he didn’t use a synthetic diamond, which fluoresce under UV light, are “not mined with slaves”, and have other interesting properties. Or it could be an heirloom stone, which likewise would be more than just a colorless hunk of rock.

    The time to talk to someone about what stone to use is before the stone is bought. After makes you seem kind of like a jerk.

  10. Necromant says:

    Well, that’s a hack =)

  11. austin says:

    im favourable to rubies myself, cus in a pinch they can also serve as a lasing material.

    or maybe something piezoelectric…quartz perhaps.

  12. Oscar says:

    A refreshing footnote I agree. It’s never a bad idea to change up the monotony and hear clever little stories such as this. Good Luck.

  13. anyone says:

    meh, would be cooler if the boards had SMT or a BGA.

  14. N0LKK says:

    Congratulations, and a long happy marriage to the couple. Only a geek could use this marriage proposal method, but even then it requires a lot of things to line up.
    On diamonds, grow up fartface. Even if one knows the sorry story of the diamond cartel’s manipulation in regards to diamonds, of of the blood diamonds there is another reality. In the event one knows the person they want to marry would want the traditional diamond, you do what you can do to make that happen in manner you are comfortable with. Not willing to do that, why even bother with the proposal? Looking forward to seeing the completed project. My guess this will in an enclosure where the solder side of the board will be feature. Do the best job you can Mars, there will be a fartface that will bust you on a poor job. ;)

  15. b1r6m4n says:

    Whats wrong with slavery…?

  16. Mara says:

    Hey ya’ll, thanks a lot for the good wishes and nice comments. I had told Bill the day before that he should be featured here because he had actually HACKED MY DESIGN to write the proposal message!!!! We were completely surprised when we found out Mike had written about it.

  17. Everett says:

    I glad this wasn’t a high voltage hack. Any marrage proposal involving high voltage would sound more like an ultimatum.

  18. Bill says:

    Hey guys,

    I entered my proposal into a contest to win a honeymoon. You can see our entry and vote at!/entry/255355

    I would be awesome if you vote for us. You can vote once per day if you so choose.

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