~Rapid~ Reckless Prototyping PCBs with KiCAD and Othermill

Presented at ToorCamp 2022, July 14, 2022, 3:30 p.m. (90 minutes)

Rapid prototyping is all the rage, but if that still involves too much foresight and planning for you, there's always reckless prototyping!

Never made a PCB before? This is the quickest way to learn. First, we'll give you a complete KiCAD schematic for a simple flashy light circuit. Next, we'll walk you through the process of laying out your first board. Finally, we'll show you how to fab it in minutes on a PCB milling machine! Made a mistake? No problem, fix it and you'll have V0.0.2 in your hands in a few more minutes.

The normal PCB design process is to first design the circuit schematic, then lay the parts out on a board, then wait for them to be fabricated. There are plenty of quick-turn pcb sources, but we're still talking days or weeks before finding out what new mistakes you might have made.

Just like how digital photography allows you to learn to take better photos by tightening the feedback loop between taking a photo and seeing the result, access to a PCB mill can let you learn from weeks of mistakes in under an hour.

Bring a laptop with KiCAD 6 installed. We'll provide a simple schematic for you to start with so we can focus on the board layout and milling part of the project. We'll have a few PCB mills available, plus components for you to solder your creation together once you're done.

Note: if you're an experienced PCB designer, you're welcome to attend and learn to use the mills - but during the workshops the mills will be set up for milling simple, large-pitch, single-sided designs rapidly. There may be an opportunity after the workshop to try milling more advanced (and time consuming) designs.


  • Joe FitzPatrick / @securelyfitz as securelyfitz
    Joe FitzPatrick (@securelyfitz) is an Instructor and Researcher at SecuringHardware.com. Joe started his career working on low-level silicon debug, security validation, and penetration testing of CPUS, SOCs, and microcontrollers. He has spent the past decade developing and leading hardware security-related training, instructing hundreds of security researchers, pen-testers, hardware validators worldwide. When not teaching classes on applied physical attacks, Joe is busy developing new course content or working on contributions to the NSA Playset and other misdirected hardware projects, which he regularly presents at all sorts of fun conferences.


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