Saturday, July 11, 2009


Stripboard Design App

I've finally finished a Windows app for stripboard design. If you want to play with it you can read about it and download it here. Have fun! :-D

Cool program.
Wish i had this years ago.

Just one small thing, can you please add in rotation of parts pease?
Footprint rotation is something that is on my "to do" list. I want to see if there is enough interest in the program to justify spending the time, however.
Hi, Forrest,

Nice work! i'm assuming you considered that while using an rr to mill circuit boards is time consuming, that modifying your program to output gcode or other RR instructions would mean that, armed with a stripboard blank, an rr could mill the breaks and perhaps even draw component outlines on the top of the board to make fabrication easier.
No, I didn't assume that. :-)
Neat! And I love the idea of using RepRap to mill the breaks (just drop a 3mm drill on the right hole) and to draw on the component side.
You could even have lots of different-coloured felt-tipped pens...
If you do that, assume that the board is located in a right-angled corner that RepRap has built conventionally near the origin [say at (X,Y) = (30, 30); that can obviously be an input to the program], and that, when the board is turned over, it stays in that corner but spins about the vector from its (0, 0) to (1, 1). That is to say, when you turn the board over its origin stays in the same place, but X <-> Y.
Excellent program Forrest. I've been hoping someone would make a nice stripboard design program for quite a while now.

I've got some thoughts on the software below. Feel free to ignore or implement as you see fit.

Some Suggestions:

* Make the tool buttons coloured or indented to show which is currently in use.

* For the jumpers tool I infer I have to left-click to set the start point, and right click to set the end point. Can the mouse curser change to let me know which is currently set, or can a temporary circle be drawn around the start point to give me feedback?

* Adding letter coordinates to the view to simplify assembly would be nice.

* Change the appearance of the 'front' and 'back' views slightly to make it intuitively clear which is which. E.g. having a slightly faded view of the tracks when viewing from the top.

* Also, the names 'top' and 'bottom' may be more intuitive than 'front' and 'back'. Is using North, South, East, West a better option for the 2D names?

* Consider moving the component footprint dropdown menu to being a list on the left or right pane. Screen real estate is not heavily in demand for this application and having a visible list improves speed and operator confidence.

* Need some way to rotate components. For example I think I can only place the USB connector on the bottom edge. Is this correct?

Wishlist of functions:

* Having a 'track highlight' option which allows you to click on a track and show which things are connected to it, e.g. I can click on my zero volts rail and have it show it propogating through the board, through jumpers, etc.

* Print function.

* Annotation function. Adding some text to the board would be great for my future reference of the design.

Good ideas, all. I've put them on my "to do" list. Mind, you welcome to mess with the code yourself. :-)
Cheers Forrest,

I've put it on my 'rainy day to-do list'.
I can't do that since it won't rain here until November. :-p

Very nice work!
And very germaine to making 3-D printing more accessable.
In my case, using through-hole (and/or strip-board) is attractive because my eyesight isn't great for the smaller pitch components.

Thanks also for publishing your source of cheap strip-board. Sourcing is always a pain, and sharing info on good sources really helps!

I like the idea of having a machine do any needed trace cutting. (Though an exacto-knife or the tang of a file will do in a pinch.)

You wrote:
"The slightly part is that The California Board of Regents mentioned in the BSD license has become me."

Given your apparent views, how do you feel about being in control of such a notoriously liberal institution as the Universities of California? ;-)
(And how do they feel about being you?)
{Note attempt at humor}

Best Regards,

This comment has been removed by the author.
Hey Forest, you mention in your website, the issues with finding a windows installer that "doesn't suck". My experiences with InnoSetup have been positive - you might try googleing it. :-) App looks great, despite me having no immediate need for it. :-)
Thanks for the tip, Buzz. I'll certainly download it and give it a hard look.

Regarding your attempt at humor.

I'm tempted to say that I could do a better job at managing the Regents than they are doing, except that I'd soon discover like Gov Arnie that closing the massive overburden of politically correct and utterly useless "studies" departments that the UC system has accreted over the past thirty years is politically impossible.

It's lucky my son graduated in April because those same Regents raised tuition by 15% all in one go because they didn't want to fire any otherwise unemployable tenured "studies" faculty that they've created sheltered employment for.

What I think is going to happen is that more and more college students are going to start doing distance learning and state and private systems like UC are going to find their student enrollments drying up on them. The tricky bit for the next 10-15 years is going to be separating the medicine, science and technology activities of the UC universities from the liberal arts and letting the liberal arts deservedly wither.
@Forrest (Re humor/Univ of California)

You wrote:
> It's lucky my son graduated in April
> because those same Regents raised
> tuition by 15% all in one go

Congrats to your son.
What campus and major?
(ANd fingers crossed he can buck the current employment trends.)

Yow! That's quite a jump!
I think they now charge more for a quarter than my 4-years of tuition.
(or whatever they called it.)

IMHO, they were expanding into areas I had no personal interest in well over 30 years ago. But don't blame me, I was a technical boy, even then.

-- Larry Pfeffer
BS, UCSD, Applied Mechanics, 6/1980

"What campus and major?"

UCSB and English Lit + Creative Writing. He's doing technical writing and media work.

"(ANd fingers crossed he can buck the current employment trends.)"

So far, so good. He's doing contract work which isn't wonderful but is keeping him busy and paying his bills.
Download link is broken. Any chance you could rehost please?
Stripboard Designer is available here:
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