I have been working as a freelance Electronics Engineer for the last 6 months. I have been using my name for the business name because that was simple. Since this blog represents my skills as an electronics engineer, I have decided to “Re-Brand” my business under the same name. Part of this re-branding, I wanted to come up with a logo.
This week I was getting a client’s prototype PCB ready to order. I decided I wanted to put a logo that represents my business (and this blog) on this PCB. A few months ago I realized the initials for the blog are P.I. I am a bit of a math geek, so I like the reference to the mathematical symbol. I also like the circular representation of iterating over a design. I was thinking of something like the recycle symbol.
Today, I kind of put the two together. I put the image of a gear around a PI symbol.
It looked good, but not quite what I wanted. KiCad has a tool that will turn a graphic image into a footprint. It’s called Bitmap to footprint. Unfortunately, I didn’t find a way to import one part of the graphic to one layer and another part to a different layer. I wanted the PI symbol to be in relief on the solder mask with copper behind it. I wanted the gear to be on the silkscreen layer. So I made my PI symbol in Gimp (a very powerful open source image editor) sized to fit nicely on a 400 x400 pixel canvas. Then I tried to add the gear and realized I didn’t have enough room, so I resized the canvas and all layers to 600×600 and then added the gear on it’s own level.
I then exported the PI symbol as a JPEG image without the gear. I converted it to a footprint with the dpi set to 1200 x 1200 and in negative mode on the solder mask layer. It took several tries to get this figured out. I then exported the gear as an JPEG image by itself as well. I converted it to a footprint also with the dpi set to 1200 x 1200 and in negative mode but on the silk screen layer. I then placed them on a bare space on the PCB and it didn’t quite look right in the 3D rendering. I realized that there was no copper under the PI symbol to give it a shiny look. So I created a square zone larger than and under the symbol and did a pour. I like the way that looks. I still needed to translate this into something that looks good on the web. Along the way I discovered that PCBNew at the bottom of the screen tells how many nets are still unconnected. Which save me some grief, the board wasn’t actually ready to send to fabrication. I fixed the unconnected nets and then ordered the boards.
I went back into Gimp and did some editing and now I think I am happy with my new logo.
The Universal programmer is still licensed under the MIT License, my new logo is not under a free license.