After getting an inquiry about making 100 MintyBoosts (which eventually did not pan out), I started doing research this past weekend to see if I could actually do it. Because the guy wanted an older version that you can’t buy printed circuit boards (PCB’s) for anymore, the big challenge would be getting those made. All of the other parts (resistors, capacitors, inductor, microchips, etc.) seemed to be available. I knew that Ladyada, the inventor of the MintyBoost, had a lot of files available for download and didn’t seem to mind sharing her design. And given her incredibly detailed instructions on how she developed the project and how someone could make it, I figured I would just have to follow the instructions.
Turns out it wasn’t quite that simple. On her downloads page she had the current design and a couple of the earlier ones available, but not the v1.2 that I wanted. But even so, the designs are in an electronic format made for the CAD software (Eagle), but not made for production. For that I would need Gerber files.
I found a page at Hackaday that talked about how to convert files in Eagle into Gerber files for a PCB fabricator. That was pretty useful and looked like I could do it. So I downloaded Eagle’s software and tried it out.
One thing Ladyada did to get a better deal on circuit boards was she combined two boards onto one. One side of the board has rounded edges, so she put the flat sides back to back and got oval boards. Then she cut them in half for two boards with rounded edges once she received them. But her Eagle file only had one board in it. I spent a while trying to figure out how to make a copy of that board before I finally realized that the free version of Eagle does not let you do this.