Building Beautiful Boards With Star Simpson

Over the last decade or so, the cost to produce a handful of custom PCBs has dropped through the floor. Now, you don’t have to use software tied to one fab house – all you have to do is drop an Eagle or KiCad file onto an order form and hit ‘submit’.

With this new found ability, hackers and PCB designers have started to build beautiful boards. A sheet of FR4 is no longer just a medium to populate parts, it’s a canvas to cover in soldermask and silkscreen.

Over the last year, Star Simpson has been working on a project to make electronic art a reality. Her Circuit Classics take the original art from Forrest Mims’ Getting Started In Electronics notebooks and turn them into functional PCBs. It’s a kit, an educational toy, and a work of art on fiberglass, all in one.

At the 2016 Hackaday Superconference, Star gave her tips and tricks for producing beautiful PCBs. There’s a lot going on here, from variable thickness soldermasks, vector art on a silkscreen, and even multicolored boards that look more at home in an art gallery than an electronics workbench.

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Boston LED sweatshirt arrestee interviewed

In today’s episode of Boing Boing tv, [Xeni] interviews [Star Simpson]. She was arrested a year ago at Boston’s Logan airport for wearing a sweatshirt with a breadboard and some LEDs attached. With a collective groan, we watched this event unfold just months after Boston was held captive by Mooninites. After many court dates, [Star] is being forced to apologize and perform community service. She has since left MIT, disappointed with their nonexistent support, and left Boston entirely. Watch the interview for her side of the story. She’s posted how to recreate the sweatshirt.