Fritzing is a software program to help designers translate their prototypes into real products. Created at the University of Applied Sciences, Potsdam, the software is an open source software tool. It runs on Linux, Mac OS X and MS Windows.
The Open Source Idea
The term open source in software development indicates an approach that provides any individual access to the design of a product or improvements made to it. The Internet has made the concept of open source more viable.
In an open source program, any individual may open or unlock the source code. An innovative programmer may even make modifications to the code in an attempt to improve upon it.
Concepts behind Fritzing
To understand Fritzing, it is important to know something about Breadboard View, Schematics View, and Printed Circuit Boards View.
Breadboard View – Fritzing can present your circuit in breadboard view, making it easy to visualize how components will fit together and be wired together. Fritzing has a vast library of parts to represent all major components in the Breadboard view.
Schematic View – This is the traditional view of the circuit as represented in books. Frtizing has a large library of schematic parts to build up the Schematic View.
Printed Circuit Board View – A printed circuit board (PCB) consists of electronic components connected electrically on copper tracks laminated on a non-conducting substrate. This view is necessary to fabricate the PCB for the circuit.
Purpose of Fritzing
The software program allows designers and other professionals to record their prototypes created for various circuits and design corresponding PCBs. You can use the company website to communicate your ideas and drafts with other individuals. Others may create electronic items based on your prototypes. This concept of sharing helps reduce production costs.
One of the great advantages of Fritzing is amateur electronics enthusiasts can design circuits and build PCBs suited to their needs. All the gear needed is available from the Fritzing store.
You can even play with the Raspberry Pi using Fritzing. The rapidly growing Fritzing library now features the Raspberry Pi Model B!
Making your own PCB
You can design and create a printed circuit board using the Fritzing software.
Print your circuit diagram onto a sheet of glossy photographic paper using a laser printer. Place the sheet on a copper board with the printed side facing the board. Run a hot clothes iron over the sheet. If you have done the job well, you should get a clear etching of the circuit on the board. You may need to clear away the excess copper with a Ferric Chloride solution.
Be careful with the Ferric Chloride solution as this is a very corrosive liquid and will eat through most clothing and skin. Wearing a PVC apron, gloves and PVC shoes is recommended when working with Ferric Chloride.
The Fritzing software company provides a service called the Fritzing Fab. You will have to upload your file, place your order and make the payment. At the time of placing your order, you can request extra services like punching holes for mounting the board. The company will deliver your printed circuit board in about two weeks.