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Feb 26 13

Kicad Tutorial: PCB edges

by Layne

This is part of a series of short tutorials on advanced topics of using Kicad, the favorite schematic/PCB design software here at Wayne and Layne.

An important part of designing a PCB is to clearly indicate the outline of the board, so the board house will know how to cut your boards apart. Most PCBs are rectangular, but sometimes you want to add a more complex outline (like a circle or hexagon) or a very complex outline (like the PCB for the Video Game Shield, shown below).


To make it easier to determine where the PCB edges should be, you probably watch to switch your cursor to be the full-screen cross, by clicking the cursor toggle button in the left-most toolbar (6th down from the top).


Then, select the “Edge.Cuts” layer from the list on the right side of the screen. Select the blue dashed line toolbar icon to draw graphic lines in the Edge.Cuts layer. Using the full-screen cross cursor, it is easy to find the corner of your design. Make sure to leave a little bit of clearance between the outer-most components and the PCB edge. Click to start drawing the edges, and click once in each corner of the PCB. Double-click to end the drawing.


If your edge lines are not very thin, we suggest reducing their width. Right-click on each line (you might have to zoom in to ensure that your mouse cursor is pointing at the yellow line itself) and select “Edit Drawing”. Then, change the Item and Default thickness values to be 0.001″ each. We feel that this reduces confusion with the board house as to where exactly the board should be cut (“Inside of the thick line? Outside of the thick line? Middle of the thick line?” With a thin line there is no ambiguity.)


Other tutorials in this series:

Feb 1 13

W&L Mentioned in Ladyada Inverview with Brad Hines

by Layne

W&L were mentioned in this interview with Ladyada, conducted by Brad Hines:

BH: Name what you would say are the biggest devices behind the DIY movement.

Open-source hardware, this is more general, but there are many companies, from Adafruit to Sparkfun that have release hundreds of open-source hardware products. From breakout boards to watch kits – we’re all putting value back in while we do a great job getting our customers and communities awesome products. We really like Evil Mad Scientist, LittleBits, Wayne and Layne, Seeed, Bunnie studios and many many more who have devoted their passions to sharing hardware.

Read more…

Jan 15 13

Wayne & Layne Forum: Down for the count

by Layne

The W&L forum is basically non-functional right now after an issue at our webhost, and we’ll be re-installing and re-configuring the forum in the next few days. We expect it’ll be back up before Monday, and we’ll post here when it’s ready. Sorry for the the confusion and non-functionality the last few weeks!

Dec 13 12

Assembled Blinky Grids and Blinky POVs from Solderbot

by Layne

Solderbot makes and sells assembled electronics kits. They’re relatively new, and look to be stocking at least one kit from each of the the Minneapolis kit companies I know about!

They’ve got our Blinky Grid and Blinky POV for sale, and the video Luke made is a pretty great introduction to the kit!

Dec 10 12

New store!

by Wayne

Last night, we opened our new webstore at We’re keeping the old one up until the end of the holidays, but the new one has the same prices, and works much better!(We’ve since added redirects for the pages, products, and categories, so you shouldn’t be able to get to the old site.)

In fact, you can find the Bricktronics Shield in the new store.

More announcements coming soon!

Nov 22 12

Blinky Grid SMT featured in Adafruit Holiday Gift Guide: Blinky

by Layne

Our friends at Adafruit started releasing their yearly Holiday Gift Guides this week, and the Blinky Grid SMT was featured in their Adafruit Holiday Gift Guide 2012 – Blinky:

Blinky Grid Red SMT from Wayne and Layne: This is the surface-mount version of their Blinky Grid kit, and is a great way to learn and practice surface-mount soldering. While W&L won’t say that everyone can successfully solder surface-mount, you do not need extreme dexterity or super eagle vision. They have built a bunch of these with people who have never soldered surface mount before, between seven and fifty or so years of age – and everyone has been successful!

Read more: Adafruit Holiday Gift Guide 2012 – Blinky

Nov 21 12

Video Game Shield featured in Adafruit Holiday Gift Guide: Arduino Shield

by Layne

Our friends at Adafruit started releasing their yearly Holiday Gift Guides this week, and the Video Game Shield was featured in their Adafruit Holiday Gift Guide 2012 – Arduino Shields:

Wayne & Layne’s Video Game Shield Kit – The Video Game Shield is an Arduino add-on shield to make your own video games, including graphics, text, sound effects, and music! Using the power of open source, this Shield includes everything you need to make awesome black-and-white video games on your TV. It supports up to two Nintendo Wii Nunchuck controllers for an easy and familiar interface.

Read more: Adafruit Holiday Gift Guide 2012 – Arduino Shields

Nov 16 12

Warm fuzzies about the Blinky Grid SMT

by Layne

Thomas wrote in with some kind words about the Blinky Grid SMT kit he purchased at Radio Shack:

Thank you so much for the high quality kits and excellent documentation! I recently purchased your Blinky Grid SMT kit for a teaching engagement – mostly because of the novel programming method! To say the least, everything worked out great. Building the kit was a breeze, programming and demo went well, and the kids I was working with walked away with an increased interest in electronics and programming!

Next up – Video Game Shield! Just need a free weekend! Again, keep up the great work and please, more SMT kits!!

The Blinky Grid SMT (and all the other Blinky kits) are available in the Wayne and Layne Store and also the Maker Shed store.

Sep 10 12

Nice review of the Blinky POV SMT kit by tronixstuff

by Layne

John from Tronixstuff recently reviewed our Blinky POV SMT kit, and really liked it! Here are some highlights from his review:

after my last attempt at working with hand soldering surface-mount components couldn’t really be called a success, I was looking for something to start again with. After a little searching around I found the subject for today’s review and ordered it post-haste.

you’ll want to put your own messages into the POV – and the process for doing so is very clever. Visit the programming page, and follow the instructions. Basically you enter the text into the form, set the POV to programming mode – and hold it up against two squares on your monitor. The website will then blink the data which is received by the light-sensitive LEDs. Once completed, the POV will inform you of success or failure. This method of programming is much simpler than having to flash the microcontroller every time – well done Wayne and Layne.

We had a lot of fun with this simple little kit, and learned a thing or two about hand-soldering SMT. It can be done with components that aren’t too small – however doing so was an interesting challenge and the results were quite fun. So it met our needs very well. Anyone can do it with some patience and a clean soldering iron.

Continue reading… Adventures with SMT and a POV SMT Kit

Photos by John Boxall

Sep 2 12

Poofy Adventure, a new Video Game Shield game by trodoss

by Layne

Every discussion forum on the web is only as good as its best members, and Wayne and Layne has been very fortunate to have forum member trodoss contributing to the W&L forum. In addition to being very quick to help answer other’s questions and helping us flag and remove spam posts, trodoss has contributed a couple of really cool games for the Video Game Shield. This is the second post highlighting the outstanding work trodoss has done in designing new games for the Video Game Shield. Yesterday we talked about the top-down adventure game (like the Legend of Zelda) Elventure.

Today’s game is called Poofy Adventure, and is a side-scrolling “platformer adventure game where Poofy gathers up fruit while avoiding snakes.” It’s been quite challenging (I haven’t gotten very far so far) and the use of realistic jumping physics is quite impressive!

You can download Poofy Adventure from the trodoss-arduino repository at Google Project Hosting. Here is the link to the latest Poofy Adventure code, you simply need to download the zip archive and unzip into a “poofy_adventure” folder in your Arduino sketchbook directory. We’ve incorporated the code into the Video Game Shield code archive on our download page and in the W&L Github repository.