That bobricius keyboard

A project log for PlagueStation Zero

An entry into the zerodays deck design competition

ABrugschABrugsch 10/05/2020 at 12:590 Comments

Customizing [bobricius]'s design

When I got the design file for the mini PiQwerty keyboard off [bobricius]'s project page it was an eagle .brd file and just to sanity check it, uploaded it to OSHPark but it didn't have any traces routed. I thought this was strange since in his logs he talks about the firmware working or not... So I imported it into KiCAD and got to work routing the board myself (only to later find his github repo with a fully routed board :picard_facepalm: )

Also while I was in there, imported the Cyberdeck logo designed by [BillieRuben] and popped it in a suitable place before shipping the design off to JLC.

With the speed JLC was turning around in and getting the PCB's to the UK around the end of August I thought there was plenty of time to get one built for the competition...

What a mistaka ta maka

I followed the process of the boards going through production as JLC does and was expecting a shipment notification when I received an email asking if I'd intended for there to be no traces on the board. AT ALL.


Importing Eagle .brd into KiCAD

So it turns out when you import an eagle .brd file into KiCAD, it sets the copper layer names to be the same as they were in eagle, but leaves the rest with KiCAD defaults. Then when you plot gerbers, the gerber files have this mish-mash of layer names. The file headers are correct so when you load them into gerber viewers everything is hunky dory. This includes the JLC (and many others - so I'm told) upload previewer.

However the software they use to ACTUALLY PROCESS the board is not so intelligent and can't cope with the mixed-up layer names. So my copper layers vanished. I only discovered this by uploading the gerbers to OSHPark which DOES give you a real preview before comitting to produce the board, and threw a warning that there were no copper layers in my submission.

So I did eventually get my boards but not before the end of the competition. Oh well... building the deck is not a competition goal as it's a design comp, just a nice to have and probably earns bonus points in the unknown judging criteria.